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How many wins are the Cavaliers projected to have this season?

The Cleveland Cavaliers made a handful of moves this offseason to improve their roster. While none are as big as last year’s move for Donovan Mitchell, it was about improving the depth and quality of their role players. It is obvious that they accomplished what they set out to do, but is it enough to increase their win total?

Bleacher Report’s Andy Bailey put together win-loss predictions for every team in the NBA following the schedule release on Thursday. Setting the over/under at 50.5, Bailey broke down the Cavaliers’ off-season and why they may struggle to equal or surpass last season’s win total.

One year after trading for Donovan Mitchell, the Cleveland Cavaliers made more noise this summer by acquiring Max Strus and Georges Niang. In theory, those two will improve upon the Cavs’ shooting and provide a little stability on the wing. Last season, small forward was about the only position that didn’t feel rock solid. So, why the slight step back from 51 wins in 2022-23 and a prediction that they’ll go under in 2023-24? For one thing, the East figures to be stout again. And it’s not hard to imagine improvements in the win column from the Miami Heat (who won 44 games in 2022-23), New York Knicks (47) and Atlanta Hawks (41), to name a few. Strus might not be the upgrade over Cedi Osman some perceive him to be either. The loss of Ricky Rubio (who has “decided to stop my professional activity to take care of my mental health”) and a lack of depth at center could hurt the bench too. That doesn’t make this under a lock, of course. Cleveland was plus-10.2 points per 100 possessions when Darius Garland, Donovan Mitchell, Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen were on the floor in 2022-23. Both Garland and Mobley could be better next season. It just feels like 2023-24’s 50-win club is going to be exclusive, and that necessitated some tough cuts.

These are all very valid points, especially the unknown status of Ricky Rubio. But when it comes to Max Strus not being the upgrade over Cedi Osman many expect, he could not be further off. This is less about Strus and more about Osman. Osman is an incredibly frustrating player to watch. There can be the occasional 20-30 seconds of outstanding plays from Osman, but they are more often than not surrounded by 3-5 minutes of missing wide-open shots and attempting to play at a level he is not capable of. Even if there was no direct replacement for Osman, removing him from the equation is a step forward in itself.

Honestly, the projected win total for the Cavs seems mostly rooted in having certain teams already exceeding the 50-win threshold and coming back to the others to fill everything else in. Considering other teams and their improvements were mentioned in the Cavaliers portion while overlooking their own moves certainly points towards that being the case.

Cavaliers predicted record: 48-34

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