I’m not at all what anyone would ever characterize as a LeBron fan but damn! That is one hell of a dropoff (61-21 in 2009 to 8-43 currently, losing the last 24). Who else besides LBJ did they lose?
Zydrunas Ilgauskas followed LeBron to Miami. They lost their coach also.
The Blazers beat them to set the record. I’m a Blazers fan and watched the game. It was too close for comfort. No team wants to lose to this team and be the ones to snap the streak now.
They lost Shaq too. And their heart and soul. (Shaq wasn’t the heart and soul, those are different things.)
The problem is the whole team was built to complement LeBron. Without him it’s a bunch of spare parts with no major threat for their opponents to worry about and not much cohesion. So even thought they do have some OK players left - Hickson is getting good, Antawn Jamison still scores points, Mo Williams isn’t awful - it doesn’t add up to much. Losing Anderson Varejao for the season because of an injury was another negative. They’re also a relatively inexperienced team, and I’m guessing that doesn’t help. Starting this season, their players had a bit less than 4 years of NBA experience on average. It’s not a hard and fast rule that the worst teams are the youngest (the Cavs are the 10th least-experienced team), but it looks like it’s associated with losing.
They “lost” Mike Brown, but I never thought he was that good and nobody swooped in to hire him right away, although there are rumors he’ll be the next coach of the Pacers. Things wouldn’t be much different if he were still the coach instead of Byron Scott.
They also lost their best player, they were actually doing decently enough at the start of the season. I think losing Varejao for the season and Mo Williams for a while too hurt them. They lost almost all of their starting line up basically, can’t expect any team to do good under those conditions.
Woohoo A new standard in sports futility that wasn’t set by a Detroit team.
I’ve always been a Cavs’ fan. What people don’t seem to understand is that before this season, the Cavs already held the NBA record longest losing streak. The 1981-82 Cavs lost their last 19 games of the season, and the 1982-83 Cavs lost their first five games, meaning 24 consecutive losses. Big whoop. Nobody cares about that streak anymore, and sometime in the future - hopefully the not too distant future - no one will care about the current streak either.
Prairie View’s college football team lost 80 straight games in the 1990s. I think that streak is safe from the Cavaliers.
They’ve lost Varejao, too.
Yep, LeBron boned 'em. They were left with no chance to do anything in the offseason to be competitive.
When they started off 8-10 or whatever, I thought maybe they should consider a move for someone like Iguodala, somebody who could make them competitive enough for a 7 or 8 seed in the East, with the ultimate goal of upsetting Miami in the playoffs, but now I’m glad they didn’t. Better to completely bottom out and rebuild in the draft than to stay mediocre for multiple seasons.
As for LeBron, my feelings haven’t changed on him. He’s still a shithead, and I’m pulling for him to lose in the playoffs, yet I still think he’s the best player in the NBA. He absolutely eviscerated Orlando the other night.
Yeah, but football has less variance than basketball (that is to say, extreme upsets aren’t as common), and a college team can get worse than a professional team would ever be allowed.
Incidentally, are the Cavs in any danger of passing the 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers for fewest wins/most losses in a season? I believe they’ve already won more than the 76ers but I’m not sure.
In any case, this is shaping up as one of the biggest one-season team collapses in professtional sports history. Granted, it has happened before (e.g., the Florida Marlins in 1998 and several times with Connie Mack’s Philadelphia A’s) but it’s usually after ownership has a fire sale of all their star players. Here, it really just took the removal of one player and the whole franchise fell in on itself.
The Cavs currently have 8 wins. The NBA record for fewest in a season is 9.
The bit about just removing one player is one of those “truisms” that is completely wrong, as people have said above. The Cavs lost two starters from last year, James and O’Neal, (both of whom will be in the Hall of Fame, barring some sort of Pete Rose/OJ Simpson- type happenings) even before this season started, and others (Williams and Parker) at various times thereafter due to injuries.
Yeah, they were totally blindsided by the idea that he might leave, I’m sure. God knows I didn’t hear anything about it.
I feel bad for them, actually.
They had to sign him first to do anything else, genius.
Okay, I’ll admit I was wrong on this point (but I haven’t really been following the NBA that much since the Sonics were carpetbagged out of Seattle).
Would it be more accurate to say that the Cavs first-to-worst collapse is due to a perfect storm of disasters hitting the franchise at once? If so, that would make it stand out from other instances of teams doing one-season swan dives because in almost all those other cases, the cause was the owner having an attack of parsimony.
Other than changing coaches, they couldn’t do much of anything to improve the team while waiting for his decision. Committing large contracts to other players to complement LeBron would have been stupid if they did not know if he would stay. (In theory, the Cavs could have put a better team together if he had committed to them sooner. Instead they had to try to assemble a winner to meet his deadline.) Once he decided to leave, they had no chance of making a significant acquisition. Their biggest signing was Ramon Sessions.
Shaq played well for them last year, but he missed almost half their games and only played 23 minutes a game. I’ve also seen it argued that he hurt the team overall by slowing the game down, but I didn’t watch them often enough to say for sure. I am not sure they were going to keep him even if LeBron stayed. He made $20 million last year and they could have signed several other players instead. It’s true he’s going to be in the Hall of Fame but it’s not like they lost the version of Shaq who led the Lakers to three titles.
I think it has less to do with the fact that they knew he might leave and more to do with the fact that he kept the Cavs front office in the dark throughout the whole process. They found out his decision when he made a big deal out of it on TV, just like everyone else. Other big name free agents were already signed by that time.
Unfortunately for the Cavs, they have to build for 2 or 3 years down the road. They will suck again next year. Jamison gets you, what, 16 and 8? If they can dump him after this year they should do it.
Last year’s Shaq certainly wasn’t in his prime, but he was a great teammate and the Cavs’ fifth leading scorer in total points for the year. Shaq, Z and Varejoe each played C, and none of them are on the team now, so the Cavs have really lost 2 key starters from last year’s front line, no matter how you slice it.
Just to rewind, yes, they lost more than one player. But if I had to make up a number, I’d say at least 80 percent of the problem is that they lost LeBron, and the rest is injuries and (thirdly) the other players who left. What’s left is a downgrade from Shaq and Ilgauskas, but I don’t know that they were keeping either guy even if LeBron had stayed. They did trade Ilgauskas away in the Jamison deal and I think Shaq was a one-shot deal. I’m not sure what they would have done with those positions if they had convinced LeBron to stay. I guess they would have taken a run at Chris Bosh but he never considered them as far as I know.