Don’t Rush To Bet Cavaliers After Donovan Mitchell Trade

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The Woj 💣 NBA fans have been waiting on for months finally dropped Thursday. The Cleveland Cavaliers gave a bunch of stuff to the Utah Jazz in exchange for Donovan Mitchell.

The market reacted swiftly and Cleveland’s NBA title odds immediately plummeted at DraftKings Sportsbook following the Mitchell trade.

However, I’m here to pour cold water on the Cavaliers-Donovan Mitchell Trade. Or at least tell you to temper expectations. The Cavs probably got the better end of this trade. Unless Mitchell decides Cleveland isn’t a big enough city for his brand.

Either way, the Cavaliers are the 5th- or 6th-best team in the East, at best. I have the Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks, Brooklyn Nets, Philadelphia 76ers and Miami Heat all power ranked ahead of the Cavs.

Also, I wouldn’t be shocked if the Toronto Raptors, Atlanta Hawks or Chicago Bulls were better than Cleveland. The Cavs would need far too many things to break right for them to advance past the first round of the NBA Eastern Conference playoffs.

First of all, bigs Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen would have to be the best defensive frontcourt in the league. Allen made his first All-Star game last season and Mobley was being comped to Tim Duncan defensively.

Cleveland Cavaliers PF Evan Mobley looks on during the first half against the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center. (Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

Donovan Mitchell Does Not Play ANY Defense

However, Allen and Mobley being special defensively is a must. Cleveland’s backcourt is terrible at defense. Mitchell was exposed defensively last year in Utah’s first-round exit at the hands of the Dallas Mavericks.

But, Mitchell has been awful defensively for years. In fact, the Jazz had a better defensive effective field goal shooting rate when Mitchell was off the floor for three straight seasons, according to

Cleveland’s biggest hole is on the wing aka the most important position in the NBA. The Giannis-LeBron-KD-Tatum-Kawhi-Butler position. And the Mitchell trade doesn’t help that. Mitchell can create his own look but cannot guard any of these wings and is a fringe top-30 NBA player.

My opinion of Mitchell is similar to the one Shaquille O’Neal shared with Mitchell himself.

The player coddling media was quick to defend Mitchell but Shaq kept it real with him. Mitchell is an overpaid one-way player who’s the second or third-best player on a title team.

Cleveland’s problem is it needs Mitchell to have a Luka Doncic- or LeBron James-like impact but he just isn’t that guy. If I’m wrong, there’ll be time to jump on the Cavs’ bandwagon. Let’s wait and see for now.

Listen to the ‘OutKick Bets with Geoff Clark’ podcast HERE.

Written by Geoff Clark

Geoff Clark serves as OutKick’s sports betting guru. As a writer and host of OutKick Bets with Geoff Clark, he dives deep into the sports betting landscape and welcomes an array of sports betting personalities on his show to handicap America’s biggest sporting events.

Previously, Clark was a writer/podcaster for USA TODAY's Sportsbook Wire website, handicapping all the major sports tentpoles with a major focus on the NFL, NBA and MLB.

Clark graduated from St. John University.

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