The Cleveland Cavaliers’ season ends tomorrow night in a game that is relatively meaningless for both teams. If Brooklyn wins tonight they will be locked in to the 5th seed. Yet it may behoove the Nets to lose their next two games to not have to face the Chicago Bulls in the first round, but that matchup seems likely.
For the Cavs they are one game “ahead” of the New Orleans Hornets for the 9th best Lottery Odds. A win, and a Hornets loss, would lead to a tie and a basic splitting of the lottery balls. So the games could have an impact but not a huge one. So instead of an important game we get to look at some ESPN Rankings, Tank and Power, to get a look at what people are staying about the Cavs in this deflating season. Lets start with the Power Rankings:
Last Week: 20
The Cavs held a joint news conference last week in which Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters tried to convince the audience they like each other. Questions about what to do with these two will nonetheless continue to nag the Cavs after a limp ending to a season filled with disappointment.
A pretty good summation of the Cavs season, with a limp. The Cavs only fall 1 spot but that is more due to the dreck at the bottom of the league. How Waiters and Irving move forward next year will define the team, in the same way the off-season moves last year ended up defining how the Cavs fared in Tanking (Insider, Costs $):
9. Cleveland Cavaliers | Status: Trying | Record: 32-49 (1-2)
Cavs owner Dan Gilbert boldly predicted after winning the lottery and taking Anthony Bennett No. 1 that the days of the Cavs being in the lottery were over. But even after signing Andrew Bynum and Jarrett Jack in the summer, and trading for Luol Deng midseason, they are still stuck in NBA purgatory.
Bennett struggled tremendously as a rookie, the team didn’t mesh with Mike Brown‘s defense-first philosophy, GM Chris Grant was fired and franchise cornerstone Kyrie Irving is reportedly unhappy. To top it all off, the Cavs have virtually no shot of getting an elite player in a truly special lottery.
Had Gilbert decided to be patient for one more season, keeping veterans off the team and letting his young team lose, the Cavs would be talking about drafting Jabari Parker or Andrew Wiggins right now and we’d be excited about their long-term future. Instead, the Cavs remain a mess.
A very interesting thought: That by trying the Cavs actually caused themselves more problems for the future. Many will complain about teams tanking but the Cavs may be a reason for that. Psychologically the team needs to start to win next year early to not lose the young players mentally. They tried it this year with veterans Bynum, Jack and Earl Clark but that didn’t work. Will they use their lottery pick? Will they package it with other assets to move up? Will they swing for a homerun of a trade? This off-season will define the Cavs next 3 to 5 years.
What do you think of both rankings? Are they a Top 20 type team? Should they have tried harder to tank?