The Cleveland Cavaliers season left many, including this writer, confused and uncertain. Sports Illustrated quantified those feelings into a letter grade for us. Grades are interesting in that they are subjective, debatable and generally not agreed upon. That might not be true with the grade they gave the Cavs. The team did win 9 more games they they did the year prior. I will give my thoughts, 33 of them to be exact, on the Cavaliers near lunch time today. Now on to SI’s grading:
Final Grade: F | Midseason Grade: C-
32-49, No. 10 in the East | Midseason record: 15-27, No. 10 in the East
As far as I can tell, here’s a complete list of Cleveland’s unqualified successes this season:
1. Turning the undrafted Matthew Dellavedova into a passable rotation player.
What is interesting about these grades is the change. At Midseason they gave the Cavs a higher grade then they did their final grade, even though the Cavs finished well once David Griffin took over. The Cavs season could easily be considered a failure given the amount of young talent on the team and the stated demand of not returning to the NBA Lottery. But lets delve a littler deeper into their analysis:
Many of those items were open questions entering the season, pivot points that could have gone either way. More troubling than the fact that just about every coin flip went against the Cavaliers is that their one sure thing — franchise point guard Kyrie Irving — regressed. Irving missed an extended stretch because of injuries for the third consecutive season, and his 42.9 percent shooting is simply unacceptable for a player who is launching nearly 18 times per game. To make matters worse, rumors of locker-room infighting, ego battles and unhappiness in Cleveland engulfed Irving’s third season to the point that he felt compelled to push back against the talk repeatedly. This nonsense shouldn’t surround a 22-year-old who is so gifted that he’s capable of winning the All-Star MVP award.
They are correct, pretty much every thing that could go wrong did go wrong for the Cavs. Andrew Bynum was an abject failure, but did help the Cavs get Luol Deng, who was mediocre at best once coming over. Jarrett Jack struggled to find his role until later in the season. Anthony Bennett showed signs of talent but couldn’t put it all together and then struggled with an injury. Irving and Dion Waiters couldn’t capitalize on their time together and were often not on the court together, until the end of the season.
The Cavs deserve the Grade of F. They were sometimes Fun. They sometimes played at a Frenetic pace. They got the Fans to react, both good and bad. They lacked Focus. They Frustrated. Their efforts became Futile. They Failed at their goals. The enter the off-season seeking a Foundation.
How would you grade the Cavs season?