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The Cleveland Cavs are Revolutionizing Bad

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Remember late November? Thanksgiving, Black Friday, family functions, food comas, and competitive Cavs games. In today’s Twitter-age where everything moves at warp speed, two months ago seems like two years ago, and what a difference two years has made for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The nicest way that I can describe this year’s Cavs team is by saying they’re terrible. They started the season 7-9, but haven’t won a game in regulation since November 27th. For those of you counting at home that’s 29 games, or putting it another way, four Charlie Sheen benders ago. On November 27th no one knew homeless Ted Williams, Leslie Nielsen was still serious (but not Shirley), none of you had started your Christmas shopping, and most of you thought WikiLeaks was a disease outbreak at the AVN awards. Looking back at my Twitter feed from November 27th (shameless plug, follow me at www.twitter.com/jasonmarlo), Boise State blew their shot at the National Title, Ohio State destroyed Michigan (again), and Andre Johnson was about to go Mike Tyson on Cortland Finnegan… seems like years ago.

All told, the Cavs have won only once since then, somehow beating the Knicks in overtime on December 18th. The real downfall however began on December 2nd. It wasn’t the historically worst thing that’s ever happened December 2nd as it’s also Britney Spears’ birthday, but it was nearly as devastating for Cavs fans. That night, LeBron James made his return to Cleveland on and proceeded to take over the game, silence the crowd, and mock the city in the process. In 3 quarters he dropped 38 points and had the Heat so far ahead that he mercifully sat out the remainder of the game. That night was supposed to be Cleveland’s way of showing LeBron he wasn’t welcome or needed anymore… instead it turned into a funeral. Basketball in Cleveland was formally and officially laid to rest for the next few years… at least.

Aside from the fluke win over the Knicks, the Cavs have lost 28 of 29, including 18 in a row. Yesterday they broke their club record for consecutive losses on the road, with 22, and are staring at a complete calendar month without a win. There are three games left in January, but if they can’t beat Toronto or New Jersey, they have no chance against upcoming opponents: Denver, Orlando, and the aforementioned Miami. Looking at both the schedule and the roster, there is really no telling when or if this team will win again this year.

Don’t believe me? Adding insult to injury the only two Cavs players worthy of being starters on NBA rosters Anderson Varejao and Mo Williams are both sidelined with significant injuries. This means that aside from Antawn Jamison, more on him in a minute, the current Cavs roster shapes up like this: Christian Eyenga, JJ Hickson, Daniel Gibson, Ramon Sessions, Joey Graham, Ryan Hollins, Anthony Parker, Manny Harris, Samardo Samuels, Jamario Moon, Alonzo Gee. Looking at that list, I don’t see many players that even belong in the NBA, let alone starting. Hickson, Gibson, and Sessions would be successful role playing bench guys for good teams, but Samardo Samuels? Alonzo Gee? Joey Graham? Really!?

Back to Jamison, I’m not sure what he did in his previous lives, but it had to be Stalin-bad. While some veteran stars like Gary Payton and Alonzo Mourning cherry pick titles, Jamison has obviously been sentenced to the land of misfit toys. He is one of the NBA’s good guys, and really doesn’t deserve to be on a team this bad. Granted no decent human being should have to be subjected to watching Cavs basketball this year. That said, hopefully Jamison can get out of Cleveland before he throws himself off the Terminal Tower.

The Cavs are dead last in almost every statistical category that matters. Basketball Guru assigns point ratings for teams in order to gauge their ability. The Lakers lead the league with a 108.384 Hollinger Rating… The Cavs? Dead last with a ratng of 87.595. Looking at those numbers it’s no surprise that the Lakers beat the Cavs by an embarrassing 55 points a few weeks back. The Cavs rating is so dreadful that it’s nearly a full 6 points behind the 29th ranked Wizards. The Cavs margin of defeat this season is over 11 points, and in the last 15 games that margin is pushing 20. Going a bit deeper, the Cavs are in the bottom 5 in the league in: Points, Opponent Points, Point Differential, Field Goal Percentage, Opponent Field Goal Percentage, Opponent 3-Point Percentage, Steals, Opponent Steals, Blocks, Opponent Blocks, Offensive Rebound Percentage, Total Rebound Percentage, Opponent Assists, Opponent Turnover Percentage, and Technical Fouls. To put it another way, the Cavs can’t shoot, score, defend, rebound, block shots, turn anyone over, nor do they play with any passion whatsoever.

There may be hope on the horizon though. Cavs owner Dan Gilbert is one of the best in professional sports. Few, if any, care about winning as much as he does. He is a proud man, willing to do what it takes to create and sustain a winning Cavs tradition. Granted, if he had the wherewithal to hire a coach other than Mike Brown, the Cavs probably have two or three championships and aren’t in this current position; that’s not the case though. Unfortunately, this rebuild will have to be from the ground up through the draft. Cleveland isn’t a place that many free agents find themselves dreaming about living, hell, Cleveland can’t even keep it’s hometown talent. That means the Cavs can’t afford to miss on any picks, otherwise a few years of bad basketball could easily turn into generations. The only good part about how horribly the NBA has devolved is that one player can mean the difference between 50 wins and 20 wins. It’s such a me-first, team-second league, that if the Cavs do hit in the draft, they could be back in the playoffs in a hurry. Additionally Gilbert does have a few bargaining chips, but he had better get ready to use them, otherwise The Q will revert back to its past where superstars, veterans, failures like Ricky Davis and Milt Palacio ran the show in front of hundreds of mostly-homeless fans.

Discussion

2 Responses to “The Cleveland Cavs are Revolutionizing Bad”

  1. Your analysis of the current situation is pretty spot on. About four years ago, I remember making the comment more than once that “If LeBron left Cleveland without winning a championship I’m not sure the Cavaliers can survive in Cleveland, how do you recover from losing the best player you’ll ever have?”. We’ll that’s exactly what happened and now my usual spot-on prognosis will be put to the test (note: I definitely hope I’m wrong on this one). But the Cavaliers definitely do face some stiff challenges going forward. Financially, they are about to lose droves of season ticket holders and as a general business model logic states it takes a lot more effort to bring a customer back once you lose them. The Cavaliers will definitely go straight back to their #3 sports ticket in town for competing for the casual sports fans dollars. To add to that, the Cavaliers have zero marketable players, a coach that must wake up everyday wanting to jump off the 480 bridge for his decision to sign with Cleveland and a GM in charge who is new to the post (learned from Danny Ferry which is also scary) and we know nothing about. Plus, they’ve added an embarrassing new mascot named C.C. when they already had the best mascot in the world..Moondog!!!! This monstrosity of a rebuilding process starts with the trading deadline and the draft so we’ll know a lot more in June 2011…here’s hoping for the best as the future of the Cavaliers in Cleveland is definitely at stake.

    Posted by Dubba | January 28, 2011, 10:41 am
  2. The STATE OF THE CAVS (….followed by a long, drawn-out SIGH). What a terrible looking group of “Not Even Castoffs”. Where’s D-Miles when you need him?

    It reminds of me this lyric:

    “Now I’m Duckin’ & I’m Dodgin’, Tryin ta Survive and, All I Can Hear is Gunshots & Cryin’ “.

    Yup. That about sums it up for me.

    Posted by Bobby Digital | January 31, 2011, 12:17 pm

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