“The All-Star break is in the rearview mirror. Players are scheduled to return early Tuesday evening and hit the practice floor the next day. For a team beaten down at times by losing streaks and blowout losses, there’s internal belief that winning basketball could be coming soon.”
There are a few factors that stand out when it comes to this newfound rejuvenation within the team. In fact, since the start of the new year, a few Cavs players have really stepped up and emerged as big-time contributors.
One of them is Larry Nance Jr. In the month of February alone, Nance is averaging 11.8 points, 13.4 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.2 steals, and 0.8 blocks per game. He has continued to use his length and elite athleticism to show that he can be a force on both ends of the court.
In fact, Nance recently emphasized that the Cavs are in no way a lowly team.
“We’re not a bottom-tier team,” said Nance.
This kind of confidence is needed for a team that, at 12-46, currently sports the third-worst record in the NBA. The Cavs have had quite the roller-coaster season marred by injuries, trade requests, and other external factors.
But over the past month or so, the Cavs have been playing better basketball and have shown tremendous improvement both offensively and defensively.
Optimism over pessimism seems to be the team’s outlook towards the rest of the season. Whether or not this will actually result in more wins remains to be seen.
Furthermore, probable Rookie of the Year Luka Doncic recently spoke of Osman with high praise, saying that Osman has immense star potential. Osman was selected to play in the Rising Stars Challenge last week, where he showcased his skills as a playmaker.
Even if the Cavs don’t win very many games for the rest of the season, selecting a high lottery pick in this year’s NBA draft should only improve the team’s competitive prospects for next year as the team continues to grow its young nucleus. The Cavs also have an ideal blend of youth and veteran players, and younger players should thus take advantage of these potential mentoring opportunities and learn as much as they can.