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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

SDH Presents the 2013 End of Season NBA's Worst to First: 25 Cleveland Cavaliers

Overall Win/Loss Record (At Season’s End): 24-58,  fifth place Central Division

At Season’s End:

Team Statistics and League Rank (At Season’s End)

  • Points Scored: 96.5 (19th)
  • Points Allowed: 101.2 (25th)
  • Team FG%: .434 (29th)
  • Opponent’s FG%: .476 (30th)
  • Team FT%: .756 (14th)
  • Team Three Point FG%: .346 (23rd)
  • Rebounds per game: 41.0 (22nd)
  • Opponents rebounds per game: 42.1 (15th)
  • Turnovers per game: 13.4 (7th)
  • Opponents turnovers per game: 14.7 (6th)

Individual Statistical Leaders (At Season’s End)

  • Scoring (ppg): Kyrie Irving (22.5)
  • Rebounds per game: Tristan Thompson (9.4)
  • Minutes per game: Kyrie Irving (34.7)
  • Assists per game:  Kyrie Irving (5.9)
  • Field Goal Percentage: Tristan Thompson (.488)
  • Free Throw PercentageWayne Ellington (.910)
  • Three Point FG Percentage: Wayne Ellington (.392)
  • Steals per game: Kyrie Irving (1.5)
  • Blocked Shots per game: Tyler Zeller (0.9)

Taking a Look back at the Season that Once Was . . .

SDH Worst to First Recap
Time Period
Change (+/-)
At Season’s End

SDH Player of the Year: 
Kyrie Irving

It is unbelievable how fortunate the Cleveland Cavaliers have been over the last couple of years.  Last year, after suffering one of the worst   betrayals in sports history, Cleveland managed to acquire the number one overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft who turned out to be Kyrie Irving.  After having a splendid start of his career earning Rookie of the Year honors, Irving has continued where he left off leading his team on both ends of the floor and has giving the city of Cleveland reason to be optimistic.  At 20 years old and just in his second season, Irving has already his first All Star selection and has cemented himself as one of the top young players in the league.  He has certainly helped Cavs fans forget that awful day three years ago when they had their hearts collectively ripped out when another player the team picked first overall jumped ship without any warning.      

One has to be overjoyed if he or she is a Cleveland Cavaliers fan because not only has their team replaced the immense void of losing their franchise player with another in Kyrie Irving, but also have the chance to get another superstar caliber player.  In one of the most shocking and surprising examples of lightning landing twice the same spot, the Cavaliers won the first overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft--the second time in three years.  Talk about luck--the Cavs must have had some higher power watching over them as the odds of a team winning the lottery twice in short a short period of time is mind boggling the say the least.  The only other time such an event occurred was twenty years ago when the Orlando Magic won the lottery earning the number one overall pick twice consecutively for both the 1992 and 1993 NBA Drafts.  Now armed with yet another number one pick, the Cavs have a chance to add another superstar to pair alongside the franchise's conrner stone, Kyrie Irving, making the Cavs possibly one of the league's most exciting team coming into next season.

That is not to say that the Cavs are heading for an NBA title anytime soon, or even that they will be even make the playoffs at all for a quite a while; nonetheless, with their second straight number one draft pick in three years, there is certainly a cause for celebration.  There might be a hint of skepticism as many analysts have downplayed this draft as being one of the most shallow draft classes in NBA history; however, these same analysts had the same pessimistic projection in 2011 saying that there had no star potential whatsoever in that draft class.  They were certainly proven wrong as the 2011 class proved to be one of the most surprising in recent memory and Kyrie Irving not only went to show that he not only belonged in this league, but also he has the pedigree to become one of the top players in the game.  Similar to the 2011 draft as well, the top prospect player that everyone anticipates to go first the draft is one whom missed most if not all of his season dye to injury--similar to Kyrie Irving; however, given Cleveland's penchant for good luck thus far, it is certain the once picked, the Cavs will boast another diamond in the rough and future superstar as Irving.  With 19 year old Kentucky Wildcat center Nerlens Noel being tabbed as the consensus number one overall pick, the Cavs have a potential to have a potent inside/outside combination with him and Irving together on the floor thus giving them a solid foundation to build upon for years to come.

To think that just two years ago the Cleveland Cavaliers were in complete disarray after the team, its fans and the entire city were rocked to the core when Lebron James broadcasted his infamous decision to leave the city where he had been idolized for warmer pastures.  No one could have ever predicted that both the team and city would bounce back from such an emotionally traumatic such as that, but they did and in rather spectacular fashion to say the least.  The team had won just 19 games in year one of the post Lebron era after they had won 61 games the previous season and it looked as if it would be the start of a long and painful rebuilding period; however, all that changed in June when the Cavs were blessed with the number one overall pick of the 2011 NBA Draft.  That blessing, despite the rather dim projections of the draft pool gave both a team and its city a glimmer of hope regardless on whether or not the pick will ever be able the fill the massive void that Lebron James had left.  Fortunately for the Cavs and the city of Cleveland that number one pick would not only fill that void, but erase any hint of the Lebron James era with Irving earning the Rookie of the Year award and followed that season with a selection on the Eastern Conference All Star team.

Despite the near immediate replacement of the franchise's "chosen one," and the team's and city's new found hope after their dreams had been so cruelly shattered, progress remains rather slow to say the least.  They had just won three games more than the previous year leading the Cavs to part ways with head coach Byron Scott, who in three years had won just a total of 54 games; however, regardless of the apparent lack of progress, there is still a greater sense of hope as this team has plenty of youth which has yet to reach its full potential.  Only two players on the roster are over thirty while the vast majority of the team are under the age of 25, and to top it all off, the Cavs have oodles of salary cap space and close to 15$ million in expiring contracts.  With most of the players' having short term contracts of three years or less, the Cavs are in excellent shape financially as they have the flexibility that most NBA franchises wish they had.  Add the fact that they currently hold on to the number one overall pick in this summer's NBA Draft gives the team all the requirements they need to turn a down and out franchise into a potential playoff contender  within a year or two.

So in effect, Lebron James dumping Cleveland in favor of the shores of South Florida was probably the best thing to ever happened to the Cavaliers as none of this would have been possible if it were not for him leaving.  They would not have had the opportunity to have not just one, but two number one picks in the past three years--a happening that is comparable and to winning a lottery jackpot not once, but twice.  It just goes to show that it may take something terrible to happen in order for the extraordinary to occur--sometimes a heart needs to be broken in order for it to find the true love that it has been yearning, searching and hoping for its entire life.  Sure, they may continue to remain at the bottom of the standings for the next couple of years, but this a marathon not a race and every losing season will the Cavs even closer to not only returning to respectability, but to contend-ability as well.  One all the magic is done and the era of Miami's "big three" has run its course, it will be the city of Cleveland that will have the final laugh as its Cavs team will return from the darkness it had once came and possibly this time they will be able to accomplish what Lebron James could not do in his time there--to bring a NBA championship trophy to the city of Cleveland.