4 Cavaliers on Thin Ice Heading Into the Playoffs

Plenty of members of the Cleveland Cavaliers have a lot to prove in this year's playoffs.
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
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The Cleveland Cavaliers are heading into a pivotal postseason. Everyone within the organization is aware that a significant step needs to be taken in the playoffs after the desultory first-round loss to the Knicks last season and the disappointing end to this regular season.

With that goal in mind, the Cavs made the controversial decision in the last game of the season to lose intentionally to the Charlotte Hornets at home. This guaranteed a first-round matchup against the Orlando Magic, a team Cleveland clearly thought they should be able to beat.

This puts even more pressure on the Cavaliers to at least make it to the second round and have a competitive series against the Boston Celtics. Another underwhelming playoff run with this core will mean that there will be radical changes in the offseason. Let's take a look at who has the most to prove this postseason.

1. Evan Mobley

After Evan Mobley was drafted with the third-overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft and had an excellent rookie season, the expectations were sky-high for the young big man. He was already one of the most polished defensive players in the league and was looking like he was going to be an elite big man for a long time.

Well, the defense is still there but the offensive improvement never came for Evan Mobley. The Cavs, who took a risk by pairing him with another non-shooting big man in Jarrett Allen, needed Mobley to develop more into an all-around power forward who could shoot, pass, and dribble.

That didn't come to fruition as the 22-year-old big man is still a limited offensive player especially at the power forward. Having him and Allen on the court together creates significant spacing issues, limiting Cleveland's offensive ceiling.

Only in his third season, Mobley will certainly improve. He is already at a higher level than most 22-year-old big men. But he also needs to start showing more to prove that the Mobley-Allen pairing isn't a hopeless cause. If that doesn't come this postseason, this experiment might be over with one of them having to move in the offseason.