Would you rather see the Cavs win 14 or 41 this season?

For some reason this upcoming Cavaliers season just feels easier to me this time around.  No more clinging to every soundbite in order to detect a word of promise amidst a litany of babble.  No more watching and rooting in fear of what inevitably transpired this off-season.  No more title aspirations for the moment either to be sure, but a new page turned for Cavs basketball nonetheless.  So how would you like those first few lines to read?

I’m not asking for you to regurgitate what you learned in General Manager’s school either.  I’m not looking for a blueprint.  I’ll concede, as most would, that the best way to rebuild in the NBA is to completely blow it up.  You have to get worse before you get better.  Just ask John Lucas about how many games you need to lose before you can position yourself to bring in a new, potential, face of the franchise type player.  He’ll tell you just about all of them.

But as Cavs fans, is that what you want to see this season?  The Cavaliers tanking the season struggling to win games at a near record pace and stumbling into the Harrison Barnes draft lottery at 14-68?  I would understand if you said yes.  I do get that.  However, what I do not get is how the national media seems to think  the Cavaliers roster, as it is currently composed, has the ‘ability’ to lose that many games.  I swear they’re not that bad.      

Let’s assume, though, that all those experts who actually get paid money for they’re opinions aren’t too far off in thinking the Cavaliers do have the potential to lose that many games.  Even though I’m just some guy blogging about this on a Saturday morning, let’s also say that I could be right in contrastly thinking they also do have the potential to max out a 41 wins and earn an 8th seed in the playoffs.  So what to do with all this potential.

I say win each, every, and as many games as possible and that’s what I’m rooting for.   I don’t want a tank job.  Not this season.  I only mentioned that notion to make it clear that I understand that all winning 39 or 40 or 41 games is going to get you is an early exit from the playoffs and a mediocre draft pick.  I understand that.  But to me, it’s about pride at this point.

I’m not naive enough to think that Byron Scott’s Cavaliers will play the role of Gene Hackman’s Hickory squad this season, and I know we won’t be knocking out the heavyweight champs either.  But I feel like we owe it to ourselves to take a couple swings anyways.  I want to see guys playing hard, real hard.  I want to see everybody who puts on a Cavs uniform taking the court each and every night with a chip the size of Lake Erie on their shoulders.  I want to see this team prove to people who thought “there were no pieces here” that even without his highness this squad was a playoff team. 

The thing is, the Cleveland Cavaliers organization, and Cleveland, was disrespected this summer like arguably no organization, or sports town, was ever disrespected.  I don’t just mean because LeBron left either.  I mean the reaction as well.  I mean the way the national media talked about the poor old Cavs, and poor old Cleveland with every highlight and news clip.  I mean the way ESPN showed two guys burning a LeBron jersey 24-7 and made it seem like the entire county was burning this guys clothes in the front yard.  To lay down now, after all that, is just something that I can’t get behind as a Cavs fan. 

After this season though, I’m good.   The days leading up to the Miami – Cavs series in round one would be enough for me for a while.  Just one run here, empty the clip, and see what happens.  We can tank it for the next two seasons after that as far as I’m concerned if that proves to be the best route for rebuilding at that juncture.  We’ve waited forty some odd years for a title around here, I’m pretty sure we can handle delaying the rebuilding process by one season.

And hey, maybe Harrison Barnes will play two years at Carolina and he can join up with the Cavs after that.

  • MF_Falcon

    Great write up, agree 100 %.

  • http://www.zfcomics.com Dgriff13

    Yup, I share your opinion exactly. It’s about pride this season, even if that means one more season of waiting before we tank, draft, trade away, rebuild… Contend.

  • http://twitter.com/Bbo13 B-bo

    41 would be better as a fan, as it might provide some sense of much-needed hope, as well as make impending FAs willing to consider signing here. 14 is far more likely though, as we as nothing more than a collection of complementary pieces. The final wins total, I suspect, is somewhere in between. I just can’t realistically see the Cavs with more than 25-30 wins by season’s end. This will not be a whole lot of fun, especially after the regular season success we’ve seen over the past 2 years.

  • sealedhuman

    This is a solid article, but I don’t think I could ever hope for a 14 win season. If we sell off all assets after this season in an attempt to rebuild, I will understand. Even then, though, I still would not be able to get myself to look forward to a 14 win season.

    I think this whole tank-to-title trick is much more difficult than most people believe. True franchise players aren’t always found at the top; some drafts have sleepers found outside of the lottery, and some drafts don’t have any franchise players whatsoever. If it were that easy to pull off the tank-to-title, then the NBA would not have teams like the Clippers, Timberwolves, and Kings that have been at the bottom for an entire decade.

    Losing gives you a stronger chance for a high draft pick, but it also gives you a bad reputation with free agents/coaches. As a fan, I can never cheer for a tank job.

  • sealedhuman

    This is a solid article, but I don’t think I could ever hope for a 14 win season. If we sell off all assets after this season in an attempt to rebuild, I will understand. Even then, though, I still would not be able to get myself to look forward to a 14 win season.

    I think this whole tank-to-title trick is much more difficult than most people believe. True franchise players aren’t always found at the top; some drafts have sleepers found outside of the lottery, and some drafts don’t have any franchise players whatsoever. If it were that easy to pull off the tank-to-title, then the NBA would not have teams like the Clippers, Timberwolves, and Kings that have been at the bottom for an entire decade.

    Losing gives you a stronger chance for a high draft pick, but it also gives you a bad reputation with free agents/coaches. As a fan, I will never cheer for a tank job.

  • Gren

    41 for sure. We keep our pride, we show that we have a solid team regardless, and since we finally have a 1st round draft pick, we can finally infuse some young talent. 41 won’t get us a top 10 pick (unless the NBA is really funky this year) but, there’s still talent to be had at that pick.

    Heck we could of had Dejaun Blair with 60 wins, no reason we can’t add a potential piece to the foundation with 41.

  • subadai

    See… this is what I hate about the NBA. No professional sports league should have a draft/FA system that rewards tanking.

    Also, something to remember… the NFL isn’t the only league looking at a work stoppage next season:

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/columns/story?columnist=coon_larry&page=lockout-100922

    Maybe this is a bad time to tank to get daft picks.

    All that said. I’ll settle for just one win… as long as it is over Miami.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Denny

    I’m more John Lucas than Ludacris. And Luda’s my dude, I’m not tryin’a diss.

  • http://www.60bpm.com/ Robbie

    I would like to see them win 41 games, but it would probably be better for the team to win 14 games and get a better lottery pick.

  • Stephen

    Well look at teams like the Clippers or Timberwolves who almost always have a high draft pick and see where they are? Having a high draft pick doesn’t always equate to your team being better the next season. It comes from good management, good coaching and a little bit of luck in the draft doesn’t hurt. I don’t want to endure a season like we had the year before Lebron showed up again. I say they play hard and I have confidence in management being able to make the team better through trades or savvy drafting.

  • BuckeyeDawg

    This season, 41 for sure. I don’t want to give LeBron the satisfaction of thinking we totally suck without him.

  • Shamrock

    They ain’t gonna win no 41 games so you can forget about that right now. I don’t think they’ll be bad enough to win just 14 but honestly if they get to 25 wins I’ll be pleasantly surprised. The problem with the losing or even worse “tanking” is you are assuiming that should the Cavaliers get a lottery pick that they’d actually make a solid draft pick thereby making the team better. There isn’t a single professional sports franchise in Cleveland that can draft. That’s half the problem.

  • Illmatic8

    Great article. I want to trade the expensive veterans and let the young guys go hard. Move Jamison and Mo at the deadline and regroup this offseason in full rebuild mode.

  • destiny_driven

    The only way the Cavs recover from LeLoser leaving is to lose like crazy for two or three seasons. The only time that the Cavs have ever been a threat in the NBA has been after they had the first over all pick in the draft. Austin Carr and the Miracle of Richfield team, Brad Daugherty combining with Ron Harper, Mark Price and Hot Rod Williams, and the LeLoser James era.

    Let’s be realistic here. The only teams that have a chance of improving thru the draft are those in the lottery. Even then there is no guarantee. I do know this though, a .500 record in the NBA guarantees certain mediocrity, unless you are lucky enough to be in one of the desirable locations that attract free agents. My experience has been that no one wants to come to Cleveland unless they are at the bottom of the barrel and desperate for a job.

    The Cavs have no choice but to tank the next couple of seasons and hope for the best in the draft. They should also get rid of Mo Williams and Antawn Jamison, since they don’t figure into a rebuilding scheme. Get a couple of good young players or draft choices for them while they still have value.

  • http://www.cavstheblog.com Tsunami

    Best way to analyze Cavs current talent: they played Chicago in a MUST WIN GAME for the Bulls late in the season. They lost by a point in Chicago against a white-hot bulls team. They won’t be terrible – but I’d prefer they trade Jamison mid-season to get a lottery pick. But how awesome would a first round matchup with the Heat be?