Countdown to The Draft
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By Greg Brinda | ESPNCleveland.com
The best thing about the Cavs season is that it is now over.
This team frustrated us from day one and it didn't stop until the final seconds ticked off the clock against the Nets. What went wrong has been chronicled all season long by everybody.
This is what I know. The team took a very long time to buy into Mike Brown. At times, early on and even late, the team just went through the motions and didn't compete. Kyrie Irving didn't mature, didn't lead and most importantly showed minimal progress as a player. Dion Waiters did grow as a player but at time whined and showed selfishness. Anderson Verajao competed hard every night but once again couldn't stay healthy. Luol Deng added a little but either was hurt or showed signs of advanced NBA aging as the season wore on. Jarrett Jack just played well in spurts but fell way short of anticipated expectations.
Statistically the team got better defensively but got only slightly better offensively.
In the end, though, the record tells the story about what you are. 33-49, 16 games under 500 is all you need to know.
Missing the playoffs for the fourth straight season post LeBron is all you need to know. That is unacceptable. It's unacceptable to sports fans who care about winning. That unfortunately is not what the NBA or Cavs fans are all about.
As I have said before, the NBA has mastered the perception that winning is secondary to putting on a good show and having a marketable player. Give the fans a star and give them free stuff and you got them hooked.
And it's has worked.
Cavs fans showed up to watch a bad team. Cavs fans showed up to watch Kyrie. And remarkably all that's bad didn't seem to phase them.
Right now the team is no closer to winning an NBA Championship than the day LeBron left.
There is no leader on this team. There are not enough great and good players. And who is convinced Mike Brown can lead these guys to the Promised Land?
Too many questions for the Cavs this off-season. There are very few answers.
But as long as the team gives away free stuff. And as long as Kyrie decides this is the place he wants to be, the majority of fans will be satisfied.
The bar is set really low here. But that's how most of you like it.
By Bruce Hooley | ESPNCleveland.com
Maybe Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert ought to write a letter to himself.
That would be interesting.
I wonder if Gilbert would wonder why the “previously unknown and previously never experienced level” of motivation he promised would fuel the Cavs’ post-LeBron James rebuild instead has Gilbert’s franchise anchored to the NBA lottery.
Oh, but why hold Dan accountable?
He’s a man of the people, right?
After all, the Cavs not only closed the regular season with a 114-85 victory over the Brooklyn Nets, but a few fans won some glitzy prizes and everybody walked away with another nice T-shirt.
Too bad it didn’t feature Gilbert’s picture with the caption: “My bad.”
Let’s be fair and give Gilbert a pass for the 19-63 debacle of 2010-11 after James left town.
Since starting the Cavaliers’ full-bore rebuild the following season, all that “energy, focus, capital, knowledge and experience” Gilbert promised the night of The Decision would “be directed at one thing and one thing only,”…it’s brought the Cavs all of 78 wins over three seasons.
That ties Sacramento for the second-lowest victory total in the NBA since that time, ranking behind only Charlotte’s 70 wins over the same span.
The Bobcats, however, have progressed from 7-59 to 21-61 to 43-39 and the playoffs.
Try wrapping your head around the mind-bending notion that Michael Jordan has guided his franchise from oblivion to above-.500 and the playoffs, while the Cavs remain rooted in purgatory.
That “new and much brighter day” Gilbert envisioned? It’s resulted in a halting ascent from 21-45 in 2011-12, to 24-58 last year to 33-49 this season.
What’s the hurry, Dan?
I thought Cavs’ fans didn’t “deserve this kind of cowardly betrayal?”
Four years into their journey toward that championship “you have long deserved and is long overdue,” Gilbert’s roster is a grease fire crying out for a gasoline shower.
Who, exactly, are the cornerstones of this franchise that fans can absolutely, positively, unequivocally count on as givens going forward into 2015?
Please, he’s had ample chances to promise he’ll sign the max contract the Cavs plan to place in front of him this summer and he begs off every time.
Really, a guy who can’t get along with Irving, dominates the ball just as much and pouts about his role as often as he embraces it?
Are you ready to pay him the $10-$12 million per-year he’ll want in a multi-year deal after his rookie contract expires at the end of next season?
Lual Deng and Spencer Hawes are free agents racing to hire the best moving companies in town.
So, the surest bets to be back next season are Anthony Bennett and Sergey Karasev – disappointing first-round picks from last season, locked in by guaranteed contracts -- and Jarrett Jack, who’s still owed more than $12 million over the next two seasons.
We can thank “the ownership team and the rest of the hard-working, loyal and driven staff over here at your hometown Cleveland Cavaliers” for taking four entire seasons to produce that Bennett-Karasev-Jack nucleus on which to rely.
Nevertheless, you’re supposed to, “Sleep well, Cleveland,” and, “Just watch,” because all Gilbert needs to make the good times roll is a third No. 1 overall pick, or maybe a fifth head coach, or perhaps a fourth different GM on his ownership watch.
Unfortunately, as you once wrote, Dan, “That’s simply not how it works.”
|Bruce Hooley hosts "Hooley & Jerod" from 3-6 p.m. weekdays on ESPN 850 WKNR. He is the author of, “That’s Why I’m Here: The Chris and Stefanie Spielman Story.”|
Email Bruce firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow Bruce on Twitter @bhoolz
By Chris Coon | ESPNCleveland.com
@ESPNCleveland Baby Steps..— Jeremy (@LightsOutJc) April 17, 2014
By Emmett Golden | ESPNCleveland.com
There was a good crowd on hand at the Q for one of the last home games this season. Having not covered a game in about a month I was excited to see if this Cavalier team could finish the season strong. Boy was I disappointed. It looked like the season was over for many of the players in Wine and Gold jerseys. They lost to the Celtics 111-99. The game wasn't as close as the final score made it look.
#KNRCavs– I asked Cavs fans on Twitter, who they thought was the MVP of the team this season. There was some great responses, here are a few of the best.
@egoldie80 The FANS!!!!! For putting up with this garbage franchise!— LaCroy (@LaCroys_Life) April 12, 2014
@egoldie80 the security guard who caught the kid who came on the court— Joe Pyles (@jdizzy032782) April 12, 2014
Slow Start– Cavs center Spencer Hawes hit a three for the first shot of the game. After that they struggled to put the ball in the basket. They finished the first quarter shooting only 25%. After the Hawes three the team only scored 15 points.
Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson lead the team with four points apiece. All of Irving’s points coming from the free throw line. He picked it up a little bit in the second quarter to finish the half with 13 but he was 3-10 from the floor. Irving finished the game with 15 points. He wasn’t available for comment following the game. I’ll get into that later in my blog.
Not Falling– Dion Waiters had a tough start to the night. He began the game 0-5 from the floor. Four of his first five shots were jump shots. His first point came from the free throw line with 8:39 left in the half. He finished the half shooting 3-10 for 8 of his 15 points. Waiters attacked the basket more in the second. It was too little too late.
“What I continue to preach to those two guys (Waiters and Irving) is drive the ball, get off of it,” said Cavs' head coach Mike Brown. “When you do that there’s a certain rhythm to the game and you can generate a lot of offense for everyone on the floor.”
Is It Over Yet?– The energy in this team left a lot to be desired. There were lazy passes and a lack of boxing out. It didn’t look like the Cavs big men were locked in at all. The Celtics center Kelly Olynyk dominated the Wine and Gold bigs. He finished the first half with 20 of his 25 points.
The Celtic finished the first half with an 18 point lead. They started the second half with a 7-0 run that prompted a quick timeout from Brown. Boston only had 8 healthy players for the game. At one point in the game the Cavs trailed the Celtics by 31 points. Brown was asked if guys have quit.
“I don’t know.” Said Brown. “When you watch us play we don’t look like we’re playing to get better. It looks like we’re playing, just going through the motions.”
Where They At?– After the game as the media filed in to the locker room Irving was walking out. Which was weird because he knows the media would like to ask him questions so they can use his quotes in their stories. Then I heard someone say “Hey Dion, you got a second before you get out of here?” He responded, “Nope.”
After I left the locker room to pack up for the night I saw Irving hanging out in the hallways of the Q talking and laughing with a few of his friends. He didn’t look like he was in a rush.
I’m sorry but leaving without talking to the media after a bad game is weak. I know people will say that I only care because it affects me and makes my job harder. That’s not true. My boss will not be upset with me at all and the fact that they didn’t talk helped me finish sooner than I normally would.
It affects you the reader. The people who buy tickets and jerseys. The people that stick up for Irving and Waiters when someone says something negative about them in an article or on the radio. Don’t you want to know what they have to say?
These are the two players that fans look at as the leaders of this team. Spencer Hawes, you know, the guy that has only been here for a few months? He stood up and answered the tough questions. I gained some respect for him after the game and lost a little for the “leaders” of this team.
By Chris Coon | ESPNCleveland.com
@ESPNCleveland Considering that they'd have to win out and have two other teams completely collapse to make the playoffs...just let it go.— Collin Jones (@CollinJones) April 9, 2014
@ESPNCleveland shouldn't worry about playoffs or offseason, just winning remaining games— Ashraf Rizek (@Ash_Mulaa) April 9, 2014
By Chris Coon | ESPNCleveland.com
@ESPNCleveland wait, we actually want them to make playoffs at 15 games under. .500? Bag it and get a pick, no reason to push and get swept— tolen kelly (@TolenKelly) April 5, 2014
@ESPNCleveland I love my squad but after last nite......I saw no heart or desire to win or even compete. I'm very disappointed— Frederick Parrott (@S_FrederickJr) April 6, 2014