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Cleveland Cavaliers 2021-22 season: 3 key storylines

The Cleveland Cavaliers will kickoff their 2021-22 season against the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday night.

CLEVELAND — Editor's note: the video in the player above is from a previous story.

The Cleveland Cavaliers will tip-off their 2021-22 season on Wednesday night with a road matchup against the Memphis Grizzlies.

RELATED: More Cleveland Cavaliers news from WKYC

What follows are three key storylines for the Cavs' upcoming campaign, in which Cleveland will look to improve on last season's 22-50 record:

Sexton Watch

The Cavs had until 6 p.m. ET this past Monday to sign Collin Sexton to a long-term extension -- a deadline that came and passed without Cleveland signing the fourth-year guard to a new deal. As a result, Sexton is now entering the final season of his contract with the Cavs before he will hit restricted free agency next summer.

That's not to say Cleveland doesn't have future plans for Sexton, who has led the Cavs in scoring in each of the past two seasons. At this point, Cleveland could still sign the No. 8 pick of the 2018 NBA Draft to an extension next summer, match any offer sheet he signs elsewhere or sign him to a one-year qualifying offer.

Sexton's performance this season will go a long way toward determining how his contract situation next summer plays out. It's also not out of the realm of possibility the Cavs could trade the Alabama product, especially if they determine that 2020 first-round pick Isaac Okoro's best positional fit is at shooting guard.

For now, Sexton remains Cleveland's starting shooting guard and presumably, the focal point of the Cavs' offense. But with the days on his current contract now numbered and Cleveland still searching for its first winning season since LeBron James left in 2018, Sexton now finds himself entering the most pivotal season of his NBA career.

Can Darius Garland make the jump?

While Sexton has been a polarizing figure for much of his Cavs career, there seems to be more optimism surrounding the player he shares Cleveland's backcourt with, Darius Garland. After a disappointing rookie season, the No. 5 pick of the 2019 NBA Draft made noticeable improvements in the 20219-20 campaign, averaging 17.4 points on .451 percent shooting (.395 percent from 3-point range) and a team-high 6.1 assists.

Now the question is how much better can he get?

After being selected to the 2021 USA Basketball Select Team that trained with the USA Basketball Men's National Team ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, the 21-year-old Garland has received plenty of buzz as one of the upcoming season's potential breakout stars.  Whether or not the former 5-star prospect can live up to the hype will go a long way toward determining not only Cleveland's success this season, but its long-term outlook moving forward.

How good is Evan Mobley?

At this point in their four-year rebuild, Cavs fans are used to looking forward to seeing high draft picks play.

None of Cleveland's recent top-10 picks -- Sexton, Garland and Okoro -- however, have entered a season with as much hype as Evan Mobley does.

Selected by the Cavs with the No. 3 pick in this year's draft, Mobley arrives in Cleveland as one of the most highly touted members of his rookie class. Measuring in at 6-foot-11 and 215 pounds, the former 5-star prospect possesses elite athleticism, a soft shooting touch, offensive playmaking ability and a high-level defensive prowess.

During his lone season at USC, Mobley averaged 16.4 points, 8.7 rebounds and 2.9 blocks per game. In their annual anonymous survey earlier this month, NBA general managers voted the 20-year-old as rookie most likely to be the best player in his class five years from now.

Suffice to say, there will be no shortage of expectations for Mobley, who is expected to start at power forward for Cleveland on Wednesday night. Like Garland, Mobley's ability to match those expectations will play a significant role in determining where the Cavs' rebuild stands at season's end.