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Cavaliers Have Decisions To Make, Mavericks Advance & NBA Draft Chatter

The NBA playoffs haven’t disappointed, and we’re already gearing up for the Conference Finals as the Celtics and Mavericks advance.

That’s it for the Cleveland Cavaliers

It’s not difficult to imagine Donovan Mitchell, Darius Garland or Jarrett Allen contributing to an NBA championship team. It is difficult, however, to imagine them doing it together.

The Cleveland Cavaliers finished the regular season with a 51-31 record, good for fourth in the Eastern Conference. They entertained, exceeded expectations, and showed enough promise to offer something in the playoffs.

It took seven games to beat the Orlando Magic before the Boston Celtics beat them in five. Mitchell’s injury all but ended their hopes of upsetting the NBA championship favourites. Still, the series highlighted their shortcomings. This team blossomed in 2021, and Mitchell’s arrival was meant to make them a contender. Instead, they’ve failed to make the Eastern Conference Finals yet again.

Rumours are swirling of discontent and trade scenarios are being thrown up. Questions are being asked inside and outside the organisation.

Is the Allen/Evan Mobley combination worth continuing with?

Garland’s All-Star numbers from 2021-22 have all dropped since Mitchell arrived. Is he better off elsewhere?

Will Mitchell make the decision for them and decide to leave anyway?

J.B. Bickerstaff’s job is also in question. The Athletic is reporting that after five and a half years and the second-round loss to the Boston Celtics, he may not last the end-of-season review. Despite leading the Cavaliers to their first series win without LeBron James since 1993, the front office is considering a change off court just as much as they are on it.

How Mitchell feels about him will be a significant factor. If he’s to accept the four-year $208 million extension, he needs to have faith in the franchise’s future and in Bickerstaff. Despite initial reports, Mitchell is saying the right things if you’re the Cavaliers front office.

Everything, in one way or another, hinges on Mitchell and what he decides. If he stays, the Cavaliers will look at the pieces they have and more than likely reshuffle. If Mitchell leaves, a mini-rebuild could be on the cards.

Nothing will happen in the coming weeks as the rest of the NBA season plays out. But when a champion is crowned and the off-season gets into full swing, the Cavaliers will be a major part of the news cycle.

Here it is…

Rudy Gobert has become an easy target throughout the NBA playoffs.

He’s had his issues in the past, and there are no doubt his shortcomings on the offensive end at times. However, he’s undoubtedly one of the best and most influential defenders in the league and has done an admirable job on the Most Valuable Player in the league.

The Frenchman has averaged 12.1 points, 11.1 rebounds and a block per game for the Minnesota Timberwolves this series. He’s not been the post-season target for the opposition that he has been in the past. Gobert is a significant reason behind Minny’s rise this season and will play a leading role in Game 7 against the Denver Nuggets as they look to advance to the Western Conference Finals as $2.56 and +4.5 underdogs.

Bet Now Game 7 - Minnesota Timberwolves @ Denver Nuggets

Mavericks Advance

Luka Doncic:

Game 4 – 18 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists
Game 5 – 31 points, 10 rebounds, 11 assists
Game 6 – 29 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists

In finishing with another triple-double as the Dallas Mavericks won their series over the Oklahoma City Thunder, Doncic became the first player in NBA history to record three straight triple-doubles to close out a playoff series.

The Mavericks secured the 117-116 win over the Thunder as P.J. Washington knocked down a handful of big buckets late, courtesy of Doncic’s playmaking. The win puts the Mavericks into the Western Conference Finals for the second time in three seasons. It all but sees their gambles to add Kyrie Irving and make in-season trades pay off. The controversy to end the 2022-23 NBA season is also in the rearview mirror.

Even without a win in the following series and a genuine charge at the NBA playoffs, the Mavericks have made the right moves and steadily improved to get to this point.

Doncic continuing to grow and play at an elite level helps, too.

He will need the time to rest and recover. Doncic is nursing an ankle injury that kept him to 24.7 points per game this series—a big drop from the 33.9 points per game he put up throughout the regular season. Whether it be the Nuggets or Timberwolves, the series is expected to go six or seven games and will need a healthier Doncic for the Mavericks to win.

NBA Draft Chatter

While the 2023-24 NBA season is yet to finish, the 2024-25 draft class is starting to put their names forward at the combine.

Despite falling off draft boards entirely, Bronny James has made headlines. It’s not unexpected, given his last name. What has been unexpected, however, is how much he has improved his draft stock.

Even in a draft class that is considered particularly weak, James won’t be anywhere near the top of the list regardless of how well he performs in drills and interviews in the coming weeks. As it stands, Alexandre Sarr is the $1.33 favourite to go with the number one overall pick.

Part of the NBL’s Next Stars program, the Frenchman is looking to follow in the footsteps of Victor Wembanyama. At 7’1″ and only 19 years old, he’s another massive unit. He boasts a 7’4″ wingspan, too. But being big and French is where the close similarities end. Sarr featured in 27 games for the Perth Wildcats but averaged only 17.3 minutes per game. His 9.4 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.5 blocks don’t jump off the page as Rookie of the Year numbers. He’s a prospect and won’t be dominating in the NBA from day one like his fellow countryman.

Other contenders for No.1: Zaccharie Risacher – $5.50, Donovan Clingan – $10, Robert Dillingham – $34, Nikola Topic – $36, Reed Sheppard – $36.

NBA Championship Odds

A lot will change as Game 7’s play out, but the Boston Celtics won’t budge from favouritism.

The big move has come from the Mavericks, who move into the third line of betting at $6.50, while the Timberwolves fall from their $5 price last week to $9.50 to finish this one.

TOP 6 NBA CHAMPIONSHIP ODDS

TEAMCURRENT PRICELAST WEEK’S PRICE
Boston Celtics$1.72$1.72
Denver Nuggets$4.50$8
Dallas Mavericks$8.50$6.50
Minnesota Timberwolves$9.50$5
New York Knicks$26$31
Indiana Pacers$81$-
Bet Now NBA Futures

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