Jan 26, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers small forward Luol Deng (9) reacts in the fourth quarter against the Phoenix Suns at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Marc Stein's ESPN NBA Power Rankings

The Cleveland Cavaliers’ season has not gone as planned. In fact it has had so many ups and downs, mostly downs, that you could lay Twitter’s responses next to each other and find a fun pattern. After a win: Excitement and hope. After a loss: Despair, frustration and doubt. The Cavs have another chance to take their fans on a bi-polar ride with the New Orleans Pelicans coming to town tonight for a 7PM game. Not suprisingly the Cavs have taken a tumble in Marc Stein’s ESPN NBA Power Rankings. Here is what Stein had to say about the Cavaliers:

Last Week: 21
The failed inbounds pass to seal a home loss to Dallas. The home loss to Chicago in the Luol Deng Bowl. The 18-point halftime lead over Phoenix that didn’t last, either. Add it all up and you’ve got the most agonizing week of the season for one of the league’s most disappointing teams.

One of the league’s most disappointing teams is a strong statement. At the beginning of the year many national pundits did not know what to make of the Cavs. Many even said they could imagine a scenario where the team fought for a top 4 or 5 seed in the East, little did they know how bad the East would be, or could bottom out for another high draft pick. What the expectations were is hard to say, what they are now is a little clearer.

Many expect that the Cavs will be players in the trade market, even after acquiring Deng. The push will continue to be for a playoff spot in the weak East. The team is not quite bad enough to tank and Chris Grant, Mike Brown and Dan Gilbert could hardly afford that. The team does need to find a sense of purpose and unity on both ends of the floor. Maybe a foundation shattering trade (Kevin Love type) is worth the risk. Maybe one more veteran who can play within a system (Aron Afflalo type) could be the glue that turns it around. Maybe its a trade of the veteran with the most value, Anderson Varejao, for the chance to really bottom out. The time between now and the trade deadline on February 20th, and the trade deadline and the playoffs will be very interesting for the bi-polar Cavs, and their fans.

What do you think about the Cavs ranking on Stein’s list? What do you see the Cavs next best move? What do you think the worst move would be?

Tags: Cleveland Cavaliers Power Rankings

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