We’re at the part of April where some NBA teams ramp up their preparations while others are taking on a more developmental approach. The latter used to be something the Cleveland Cavaliers did in recent years, but now they are basking in the glory of being part of the former.

At 45-30, the Cavs will make the postseason and still have a mathematical chance at chasing the Milwaukee Bucks for the second seed in the Eastern Conference. Realistically, though, they’ll likely find themselves within the third to fifth seed, facing the likes of either the New York Knicks, Indiana Pacers, or the Orlando Magic, depending on how the seedings will turn out.

Cleveland can only control what they can control, and at this point, it’s winning games. Something else working in their favor is the return of Donovan Mitchell and Evan Mobley, both of whom will figure heavily in this stretch run.   

Mitchell has had an up and down season to say the least, as a bone bruise in his left knee and a broken nose forced him to miss 15 of the 20 games after the 2024 NBA All-Star Weekend. The former Louisville Cardinal is likely to play in the fewest regular season games since 2020-2021, which was when he missed the last 16 games of that regular season due to a right ankle sprain.

In his last two games back, Mitchell’s own offense has been shaky at best, but he continues to provide the playmaking that would certainly enhance the various dimensions of the Cavaliers’ offense. The five-time NBA All-Star is currently averaging 7.0 assists on just 1.5 turnovers in those two contests and while it’s a small sample size, it’s something to build on. In fact, in the Cavs’ 130-101 defeat to the Denver Nuggets, both he and Darius Garland were able to distribute the ball and ensure some semblance of balanced scoring despite the blowout.


Meanwhile, Mobley also missed time due to a left ankle sprain and arthroscopic left knee surgery, both of which put a dent on what was initially looking like a breakout season for the former USC Trojan. The minutes per game have generally been the same for Mobley since he got back, but his performance in Cleveland’s loss to Denver once again revealed the flashes of brilliance that were evident earlier in the season.

Mobley’s scoring has been more efficient as of late and has been so for the year. He’s been more patient in finding his spots and probing through defenses, but aside from those, his work in refining other facets of his offense has been remarkable.

The two-way ability, which makes for an imposing frontcourt with Jarrett Allen is hard to miss.

With seven games left on their schedule, look for Mitchell, Mobley, and the Cavaliers to focus on sharpening themselves before the NBA Playoffs begin. That could entail additional game reps for Mitchell and Mobley to work on things while allowing them ample time to rest before the grueling postseason begins.

The Cleveland Cavaliers have gone 4-6 in their last 10 games so it might be a stretch to say they’re even remotely close to peaking, but there are indications that they can get things going before the stakes get higher. The return of Donovan Mitchell and Evan Mobley was a big boost, but even if some things have been working in their favor thus far, the Cavs still have their work cut out for them in a tight Eastern Conference.