Yahoo Sports senior NBA insider Vincent Goodwill and Yahoo Fantasy basketball analyst Dan Titus connect to talk through Cleveland’s emergence this season as a top team in the conference.
VINCENT GOODWILL: Dan, are the Cleveland Cavaliers a serious team in the Eastern Conference? Are they a good, team or are they a serious team?
DAN TITUS: I think they have the makings of a serious team because they have their alpha in Donovan Mitchell. That's-- that much has been proven. But I think what's really going to be great for them come playoff time is their ability to switch on defense and also be able to protect the rim.
They have a solid frontcourt. They have a veteran leadership presence there in Kevin Love and proven winners. Jarrett Allen, still it's crazy that he's only, what, he's not even 25.
VINCENT GOODWILL: The afro leads me to believe that the man is 127 years old.
DAN TITUS: [LAUGHS]
VINCENT GOODWILL: That's what that is. That is Jarrett Allen and Jarrett Allen's fault alone. You're walking around with that headband and that big-ass afro. And you're tricking people. You're walking around like the old high schooler. You know what I mean?
DAN TITUS: Right, right.
VINCENT GOODWILL: You're not even-- you're-- he's 24 years old.
DAN TITUS: Unbelievable.
VINCENT GOODWILL: He's nowhere near, like, his prime. But go ahead. My bad. Go ahead.
DAN TITUS: Yeah. No, so I mean that core, and now you bring over somebody like Donovan Mitchell, who has struggled to get over that hump in the playoffs because I think it was the style of play of Utah. They were a regular season team, had none of the things that will get you to that next level.
Whereas now I think that they're loaded. You know, maybe Ricky Rubio can contribute something by the end of the season. When he comes back, we'll see. But the depth that they have with Darius Garland and his ascension in this league-- and Caris LeVert, you know, can be solid at times, you know, obviously a decent fill-in. Isaac Okoro plays great defense.
I just see this roster up and down. They have depth, and they have defense. And they have the ability to score. This team is for real. And with the East wide open, to me, I think that there's a lot of opportunity for this team to get to at least to a second round and compete here. I think it's all going to be about where does Boston continue to go? Will the Bucks get healthy, first and foremost? Because they're going to need Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday back if they're going to make that deep run.
But I think that those are probably the scariest teams are now, unless Brooklyn can hold this together, which that's going to be the question, man. Like, right now they're the hottest team in the league. But what's going to happen with Kyrie at some point? Will he-- [LAUGHS] can they hold this together? Because if they do, I have questions long term about them being able to protect the rim and actually play defense long term. But regular season, they could put themselves in a position to at least get into a good standing here.