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Cleveland Cavaliers: The Winding Road of the Rebuild Experience

Cleveland Cavaliers Rebuild

It’s no secret the Cleveland Cavaliers have been in rebuild mode for four seasons now. This season, the Cavaliers are looking to take the next step in the rebuild, and so far so good. The Cavs’ season has already been a winding road with many ups and downs. But that’s part of having a young team that ranks as one of the youngest in the NBA.

Sitting at 4-4 with several wins against playoff-worthy teams, Cleveland is off to a good start considering their best players in Darius Garland, Collin Sexton, Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley all sit at 23-years-old or younger. How the season has progressed is an exact representation of what to expect in the Cavs’ 82-game season. That is inconsistencies that will have some extraordinary highs, as seen in their three-straights wins coming against the Hawks, Nuggets and Clippers. In contrast, there will be lows where the Cavaliers look to be back to square one, like their poor performance in Saturday’s 101-92 loss vs. the Suns where Phoenix went on a 50-12 run. The Cavaliers rebuild has seen little progress so far, but this could be the year where real strides are taken. But buckle up, it’s going to be a bumpy ride just like it has been over the last week.

Recapping Cleveland’s road trip

Taking a step this season became difficult when the Cavs found out they will begin their first 11 games with eight games taking place on the road. To make matters worse, every road game is against a quality squad with the easiest contests coming against the Hornets and Raptors. After beginning the year 1-2, the Cavaliers took to the road for a five-game road trip that all took place within one week. It was a well-distanced trip that asked the Cavs to begin in Denver, stay in Los Angeles for two games, slide over to Phoenix and then top it off by traveling all the way to Charlotte. That stretch of away games ended in Cleveland’s 113-110 victory over the Hornets Monday evening.

Cleveland finished their five-game trip that included games against the Nuggets, Clippers, Lakers, Suns and Hornets with a 3-2 record. That is a major victory for a young team looking to become competitive once more. Within that road trip, Cleveland was all over the place in terms of performance. They looked like a playoff squad in their wins versus the Nuggets and Clippers, and even in their competitive loss to the Lakers. However, they then turned around with a stinker coming vs. the Suns where they clearly looked fatigued. Chatter began that the real Cavaliers was the team that laid an egg in Phoenix. Cleveland came out and fought that statement after they took a 40-21 lead in the first quarter against the LaMelo Ball-led Hornets. What a journey that trip was.

Cleveland Cavaliers rebuild

Cedi Osman stretching for the ball in the loss vs. Suns (Photo via Chris Coduto/USA TODAY Sports)

Expect a Cavs season filled with hills and valleys

This west coast road trip is a preview of what’s to come for the 2021-22 Cavalier season. It will be a long journey that includes both frustrations and stretches of joy. While it may not be the best for a diehard fan’s health, this could be a fun year for Cleveland that will require patience. Understand this team is extremely young with its youngest players being at the forefront of the organization. The Cavaliers’ success will go right along with the play of youthful pieces.

This is all a part of the rebuild experience. Very few rebuilds simply end and immediately jump to success, especially with small market teams that struggle to bring in free agents. The Cavaliers rebuild is now in its most important year in this long journey. There has to be an improvement, and so far there has been. As the year progresses, the Cavs need to establish more consistency.

Even within a good victory like against Charlotte Monday night, Cleveland was all over the place. They come out firing and took a huge lead, but then fell apart several times with the Hornets hacking into the lead. Against the Lakers, the Cavaliers battled back and forth with LA but then collapsed in the fourth quarter as LeBron James asserted himself. Establishing consistency, especially on offense, will be huge in the coming months as this spry Cavalier team in the midst of rebuilding tries to earn a spot in the NBA playoffs.

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