The Cleveland Cavaliers have been a very good team this season but are they a Top 5 squad?
The Cleveland Cavaliers have been great all year long. They’ve been one of the best squads in franchise history and are narrowing in on 50 wins. The team isn’t perfect, their bench scoring is questionable, and sometimes the offensive schemes that head coach J.B. Bickerstaff draws up rely too much on hero ball, but the team is cruising to a 50-win season. There isn’t much to complain about, they are pretty good.
So good that ESPN put them at No. 5 in their Power Rankings this week. The only teams ahead of them are the No. 4 Denver Nuggets, No. 3 Boston Celtics, No. 2Phildelphia 76ers, and No. 1 Milwaukee Bucks. Teams that the Cavs haven’t done great against collectively. They’re 6-7 against those four teams, 2-2 against the Bucks, 1-2 against the 76ers, 0-2 against the Nuggets but 3-1 against the Celtics.
Their lone win over the 76ers was when James Harden was out, while they’re 1-2 against the Bucks with Giannis Anteketoumpo in the starting lineup (but 2-0 when Isaac Okoro starts). All that said, the Cavs are 3-1 against the Celtics, and they’ve only faced them once without Jayson Tatum in the starting lineup. A win, by the way. So they’re still 2-1 against a healthy Celtics team.
So, are the Cavaliers a Top 5 team?
The Cleveland Cavaliers should be higher on the Power Rankings
I can concede that, on paper, the Bucks, 76ers, and Nuggets are better than the Cavaliers. That said, the Celtics are not. Just based on head-to-head action the Cavs are a better squad. The Cavs are only four games back from the Celtics and have been outplaying the Celtics over the last three or four weeks.
So while the team may only be one spot higher in my opinion, it’s a spot they’ve earned. They’re the 4th best team in the NBA in my opinion. With the Bucks, Nuggetts, and 76ers ahead of them, and in that order.