JB Bickerstaff gets 100% real on Cavs’ offensive plan for Donovan Mitchell
The Cleveland Cavaliers’ blockbuster trade for Donovan Mitchell in 2022 was, by all accounts, a successful deal. The Cavs were in need of a top-tier star to take the Cavs’ young core to the next level, and take them to the next level, Mitchell certainly did. With a high-volume scorer there to shoulder the majority of the offensive workload, the rest of the Cavs players were able to focus on other facets of the game, particularly on defense. As a result, the team won 50 games, making the postseason for the first time without LeBron James since 1998.
However, the Cavs seemed to hit their ceiling quite rapidly in the postseason. The New York Knicks were able to exploit the Cavs’ lack of lethal marksmen from beyond the arc, cramping driving lanes and therefore making it difficult for Mitchell and Darius Garland to get to work. Even with Spida’s best attempts to rescue the team with insane shot-making from deep, the Cavs ended up falling short to the Knicks, 4-1, putting a screeching halt to what was such a promising season.
Now, with more shooters heading into the 2023-24 season (thanks to the additions of Max Strus and Georges Niang), Cavs head coach JB Bickerstaff is hoping that Donovan Mitchell won’t have to carry as heavy of an offensive burden as he did throughout last season, instad shifting into more of an egalitarian scoring attack.
“You’ll see a change in our offensive system. Two years ago, we were predicated on a ton of ball movement and body movement. We’re going to try to get back to that, where everybody is moving more, the ball is moving more,” the Cavs head coach said in an interview with NBA.com’s Steve Aschburner.
Donovan Mitchell, no matter what offensive system he’s working in, will be a dynamic presence on that end of the floor. The hope for Bickerstaff now is that, with improved personnel around him, he’ll have a much easier time carving up opposing teams’ defenses.
“When you’re chasing an elite player like Donovan, he’s got the advantage automatically. Now he’s just got to make the play,” Bickerstaff added.
It’ll be up to the Cavs star shooting guard now to relinquish the controls and avoid devolving into hero-ball when the going gets rough.
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Author: Jedd Pagaduan