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Five Bold Predictions for the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2023

Five bold predictions for the Cleveland Cavaliers in the New Year. Where are the Cavs headed next year? The Cleveland Cavaliers have a big year ahead of them, here are five predictions for 2023.
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Five Bold Predictions for the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2023

The Cleveland Cavaliers are bracing for the second half of the season as 2023 could be the year this franchise finally returns to the NBA Playoffs. With numerous challenges ahead of them, here are five bold predictions for the Cavs.

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5. Cavs will have three All-Stars

In a loaded Eastern Conference, having multiple All-Stars on the same roster is nothing to ignore. For the Cavaliers, it's possible they will have two - or even three - members suiting up for the game in Utah.

Donovan Mitchell is a lock to return to Salt Lake City in an All-Star uniform. Already with three All-Star appearances under his belt, Mitchell has only gotten better and is in the midst of a career-best season in Cleveland.

As for the rest? Jarrett Allen and Darius Garland will make a serious push. Both were named All-Stars last season and are averaging similar numbers. The Cavaliers also hold a higher win percentage leading up to the All-Star game than a year ago.

The upcoming month will determine how many Cavaliers are represented in All-Star weekend. A few strong performances in January from Allen and Garland should be enough to send them to Utah alongside Mitchell.

4. Dean Wade will earn the starting role

The Cavaliers have a glaring gap in their starting lineup at the small forward position. It's been a spinning carousel with Caris LeVert, Isaac Okoro, Lamar Stevens and even Cedi Osman filling in at various times.

But, the starting position will be Dean Wade's to lose once he returns from injury.

Wade has started in nine games this season, averaging 6.9 points and 5.0 rebounds as the Cavs hold a 7-2 record with him in the first unit. He offers something no one else on the roster can, serving as the closest thing to a 3-and-D wing the Cavaliers have.

An undrafted prospect, Wade has proven to be a sturdy 3-point shooter at 37.1% for his career. He is the most logical fit next to the other four starters due to his floor spacing capabilities and 6'9" frame on defense.

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3. Someone will be traded at the deadline

While Dean Wade is the Cavaliers' best option on the wing, there is plenty of cause for Koby Altman to fire up the trade machine and snag a more serviceable player at the deadline.

Cleveland is in a unique position with four All-Star caliber talents in the starting lineup. Squandering this potential by not rounding out the group with a glue guy at the small forward position would be an oddly complacent move for a GM who has traded for names such as Jarrett Allen, Caris LeVert and of course, Donovan Mitchell.

LeVert is the most likely player to be dealt, given his role on the bench can potentially be filled by Ricky Rubio. LeVert is also on an expiring contract that makes him easier to move.

Available options on the market are limited but sharpshooters such as Doug McDermott, Harrison Barnes and a few others are worth monitoring. If the right deal emerges, the Cavs will likely pull the trigger and buff their roster before the playoffs begin.

2. Donovan Mitchell receives All-NBA honors

It's hard to deny that the decision to trade for Donovan Mitchell has already paid dividends. He's leading the Cavaliers to heights they otherwise would not have reached and he should be in the hunt for an All-NBA selection.

Mitchell has never been named to an All-NBA team but this is his strongest case yet. He's averaging a career-high 28.5 points on his most efficient shooting splits (49/42/88). Behind Mitchell's scoring, the Cavs are on pace for their most-winning season since 2016.

The competition is thick with stars such as Stephen Curry, Luka Doncic, Kyrie Irving, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Trae Young and Devin Booker all jockeying for a spot. But with the season Mitchell is having, leaving him off the All-NBA list would be a tough call.

1. Cavs will enter the playoffs with homecourt advantage

Securing homecourt advantage for the first round of the playoffs is a goal every title contender should aspire for. This is even more important for a young team such as the Cleveland Cavaliers, who happen to hold the fourth-best record at home in the entire NBA (16-4).

The Eastern Conference is shaping up to be a bloodbath with only four games separating the Cavaliers, Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets, Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks in the race for the No. 1 seed.

Luckily, Cleveland only has to remain in the top four in order to cement homecourt advantage in round one. At 22-13, the Cavs are in fourth place but just one game ahead of Philly.

With the return of Ricky Rubio and Dean Wade on the horizon, the best is (hopefully) yet to come for Cleveland. The Cavaliers should be able to hit their stride in the second half of the season and enter the playoffs as a top-four seed.

NBABasketball

Tony Pesta graduated from Cleveland State University in 2022 with a degree in journalism. He covers the Cleveland Cavaliers for Fear the Sword and OddsChecker. You can follow him on Twitter at @Tony_Pesta.

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