Cleveland Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff is confident in his players’ abilities to support Donovan Mitchell throughout the 2022-23 season.
In an interview with Marla Ridenour of the Akron Beacon Journal, the veteran coach was asked if he thought Mitchell would be up to spreading the ball around on the court.
“He wants to do it,” replied Bickerstaff. “He understands the identity of this team. “[He’s] a guy who wants to be a part of it and doesn’t isolate or separate himself.”
According to a few NBA betting sites, the Cavaliers possess the 13th-best odds to win the championship in 2023. Oddsmakers are expecting the team to return to the playoffs this season.
— Cleveland Cavaliers (@cavs) October 19, 2022
“But he’s also got a lot of help on the offensive end,” continued Bickerstaff. “I don’t think he’s going to have to carry as large of a burden as he has in the past.”
Mitchell played his first five seasons with the Utah Jazz. During the 2021-22 season, in 67 starts, the three-time All-Star averaged 25.9 points, 4.2 rebounds, 5.3 assists, and 1.5 steals.
Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff says Donovan Mitchell will not have to carry as large of a burden
In September, the Jazz traded Mitchell to the Cavaliers for Ochai Agbaji, Lauri Markkanen, Collin Sexton, a 2025 first-round draft pick, a 2026 first-round draft pick, a 2027 first-round draft pick, a 2028 first-round draft pick, and a 2029 first-round draft pick.
Now, the guard will have a superior supporting cast with Cleveland. Darius Garland, Caris LeVert, Jarrett Allen, and Evan Mobley come to mind. Bickerstaff understands one star cannot possibly carry the load forever.
“You put him together with Darius, who last year carried a hell of a burden himself,” continued Bickerstaff. “Now, you can pull that back, and again, you can kind of ping pong it so one guy doesn’t have to feel like they’re out there by themselves.”
Furthermore, as long as Garland stays healthy, Mitchell should not feel forced to isolate himself offensively. The team is stacked at several positions.
Last season, in 68 starts with the Cavaliers, Garland averaged career highs of 21.7 points, 3.3 boards, 8.6 assists, and 1.3 steals per game. Plus, he shot 46.2% from the field and 38.3% from outside the arc.
The Cavaliers open their season tonight against the Toronto Raptors. Of course, the Raptors are 2.5-point favorites at Scotiabank Arena. This matchup can be watched live at 7:30 p.m. ET with Bally Sports Ohio.
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