With Kevin Durant deciding to stay in Brooklyn, there was only one more move yet to be made and that move lay in the hands of Danny Ainge and the brass in Salt Lake City. The Utah Jazz held the final big move of the offseason with the future of 25 year old Donovan Mitchell. Any kind of speculation has finally ended with Michell’s move to Cleveland, a surprise to be sure as Cleveland almost never came into the news as major players. Yet, here we are and it seems like the Cavs are recovering quite well from the aftershock of Lebron moving to L.A. 

Does he Fit?

Cleveland was one of those NBA franchises on the up. They had just made it to the playoffs after a relatively quick rebuild, and now had found multiple franchise cornerstones to build their team off of. The likes of Darius Garland, Evan Mobely, and Jarrett Allen formed this young nucleus. When looking at the structure of the team, they were known for successfully running with 2 or even 3 bigs. Garland was the prototypical point guard with vision, playmaking, and scoring that was crucial to the rest of the team’s success. The biggest component that seemed missing from this team was the devastating scoring to pair alongside Garland. Up until last year, it seemed like Collin Sexton would have been that guy. He provided microwave scoring, and was really leading the team up until his injury sidelined him for the entirety of last season. Now, he is gone and Cleveland has found someone they think can elevate them to that next level. Donovan Mitchell is one of the best young scoring, playmaking guards and adds instant offense to a Cavs team that might have been more known for their ability to shut down opponents. Mitchell fits right into that number 2 spot alongside Garland, giving the Cavs two playmakers they can now rely on. Just being on the floor, Mitchell will open up the entire spacing and allow for the p&r game that Garland runs and the post game for the bigs to be that much more effective. The biggest concern that has been following Mitchell is his inability to play defense, and contribute on that side of the floor. The solution is finding him a team with solid defenders all around, and a system that motivates players to give effort on that side of the ball. Having Mobely and Allen behind him, will allow Mitchell to make mistakes and mental lapses that don’t cost his team game changing buckets. There is finally the aspect of Coach Bickerstaff who is being tasked with making this project work, but will also be making sure there is some sort of motivation on defense. Mitchell doesn’t need to be great on defense because of how much he is adding on offense, and if the Cavs can find a balance between being the great defense they were last year and incorporating Mitchell’s offense then the league will be put on notice soon enough.

What is Utah doing? 

With the addition of Danny Ainge to the Jazz front office, it seemed like change was bound to happen. Ainge was going to put his stamp on this team sooner rather than later, and with the lackluster they had a year ago he decided now was the time to pull the trigger. He had pushed the Jazz into a full on rebuild, compiling a treasure trove of picks and assets in his dealings with Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell. The entire Utah FO understand that they can’t compete for the championship they have now, and that their easiest shot of getting a championship in the future is by rebuilding from the ground up. This is the same blueprint they are taking from Ainge’s Boston Celtics, and are now trying to convert these picks into superstars just as the Celtics did with Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. In a nutshell, Utah is seeing how ultra-competitive the West is looking right now, and decided that now is the best time to push all their chips into the table and find themselves a new young core that they can develop and hopefully mold into future champions. 

Top Image: Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

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