It’s too early to judge whether the Cleveland Cavaliers trading for Luol Deng has rekindled their playoff hopes, but it’s certainly done one thing: it’s helped them to win games right now. For a team that had high hopes for this season, they’ve certainly struggled to win or to find any consistency. Deng seems to have steadied the ship. Is it coincidental, or is Deng the difference-maker?
They are now only two games behind the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. They have won three games in their latest five-game road-trip, which is amazing considering they’d only won two away games all season before trading for Deng. They are also 4-2 in their last six, and although they have weaknesses that remain, they appear a much tougher proposition for opponents to stop.
Deng and Cavaliers superstar Kyrie Irving have developed an outstanding partnership during a tough trip out west. Many players from the Eastern Conference would be the first to say that there’s nothing harder than a trip out west, so for the Cavaliers to be finding success out there is a great accomplishment. If they can build on this back at home then, they should push on and compete for the final playoff spot.
Whether or not the Cavaliers can keep Deng for years to come remains to be seen, but he’s their player for now and he’s certainly making the difference between losing and winning.