The Cleveland Cavaliers rebuild is going according to plan. It’s something the Detroit Pistons can aspire to as they face the fourth-seeded Cavs tonight at Rocket Mortgage Field House. Cleveland’s record is not spotless, of course, but they did several things right. First and foremost, they weren’t afraid to draft best player available and took Darius Garland first a year after selecting Collin Sexton in the NBA Draft lottery. Second, they pounced when a good, young player in Jarrett Allen became available. The Nets were looking to dump him after deciding he wasn’t worth investing a big post-rookie contract (and needing space to start DeAndre Jordan ... yikes), and Cleveland eagerly took him on knowing he would command a $100 million contract in free agency. Looks like money well spent as he has anchored the league’s top defense. Third, they hit in the draft with Evan Mobley, and finally, they made their consolidation trade, shipping off Sexton, Lauri Markkanen, Ochai Agbaji, and three future firsts for Donovan Mitchell.
That has seen Cleveland’s record go from 19, 19, 22 wins from 2018-21, to 44 wins last season and 34 so far this season. The Pistons do have some similarly promising young players in Cade Cunningham, Jaden Ivey and Jalen Duren, and they could be looking for a consolidation trade or major addition in the near future. Tonight, though, the Pistons are, well, overmatched. Although both Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell are listed as questionable, so they could be missing the major pieces of their offensive attack.
When: 7 p.m. ET
Where: Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, Cleveland, Ohio
Watch: Bally Sports Detroit
Odds: Pistons +12.5
Detroit Pistons (14-41):
Jaden Ivey, Alec Burks, Bojan Bogdanovic, Isaiah Stewart, Jalen Duren
Cleveland Cavaliers (34-22):
Darius Garland, Donovan Mitchell, Isaac Okoro, Evan Mobley, Jarret Allen