ESPN collectively predicts Cavs for 2nd last in East, locals more optimistic

ESPN posted their Cleveland Cavaliers predictions and preview on Friday.  In case you missed it, out of the ten writers featured there were zero who suggested Cleveland will be a playoff team this season. 

This total includes former Cleveland Cavaliers beat writer Brian Windhorst, who has the Cavaliers finishing 11th in the East, with the following commentary on this season’s version of the Cavaliers:  

“Obviously they’re still reeling from the loss of LeBron James. Hard to judge them because injuries have made it impossible for Byron Scott to even see what his new team looks like. They could become a fringe playoff team or sink to the very bottom depending on if they use their $14.5 million trade exception to improve.”

In projecting the Cavaliers to finish 11th, Windhorst expects Cleveland to be ahead of only Philly, New Jersey, Indiana, and Toronto in the final standings.  

Chris Broussard has Cleveland finishing ahead of a couple more teams than that though, for whatever that’s worth. 

Broussard has Cleveland pegged for the 9th spot, which is the highest prediction of the ten analysts featured, still obviously stopping short of the playoffs.  That’s the best you’re gonna find from the mothership though Cavs fans.  Nobody else even has Cleveland finishing as high as 10th in the East besides Broussard, who’s comments were as follows:

“No team has a bigger chip on its shoulder than the Cavs, who want to show the world they’re not the scrubs they’re perceived to be. Willpower only gets you so far, though. Eventually, talent wins, and while the Cavs will have their feel-good moments, they just don’t have the firepower.”

Funny man J.A. Adande has the Cavaliers finishing dead last in the East, and he’s the only guy to go quite that far. 

What’s most intersting though, or depressing depending on how you want to look at it, is the collective spot ESPN has Cleveland slated for in their “Complete Standings” predictions.   

Combining each of the ten analysts predictions together – the average prediciton for the Cavaliers from’s panel is 12.2.  

You see that initially and think that means the Cavs are – on average – being projected to finish better than the 13th, 14th, and 15th ranked teams in East at least, right?  Not so. 

When the teams are then slotted according to their average ranking, the Cavaliers are picked – as a consensus from ESPN’s Basketball Analysts – to finish 14th in the East this season. 

That’s second last, ahead of only Toronto.  There’s no way they could be that bad, right?

I really doubt it.  I continue to think the eighth seed is a real possibility.  We’ll find out soon enough for sure though.

In the meantime, it might make Cavs fans more optimistic to see that at least locally there is not as much doom in the forecast. 

Terry Pluto – in the PD’s Cavs preview this morning – has Cleveland finishing 6th out East winning 46, with the following comments in the PD this morning:

“Cavs surprise with their hustle and grit and make it an interesting season for hardcore Cavs fans.”

On the flip side, Bill Livingston has the Cavs finishing 12th and winning 30.  Everybody else is somewhere in the middle, finishing 8th or 9th winning between 35 and 41 games.

So, we’ll see what happens I guess.

  • BuckeyeDawg

    I honestly don’t know what the best course of action is…play to potential (or better) and try to be the 7th or 8th seed, only to get destroyed in the first round…or just trade off the valuable pieces, tank this season and hope for a high lottery pick to start the rebuilding process around.

    As much as I like to see a winner, the best long term answer is probably the latter of those two scenarios…

  • TSR3000

    How sweet would it be to get the 7 or 8 seed and knock off the heat?!

  • boogeyman

    People really need to shake off the ESPN cloud already I don’t know what is worse ESPN or all the people hung up on what ESPN thinks. I know all the losing had already created an inferiority complex and the whole LeBron debacle only made it worse but for your own personal well being ignore it. Last time I checked the so-called experts weren’t always right and really with so many experts someone is bound to get something right. Meanwhile how many of them get it wrong?

    I’m not expecting alot from the Cavaliers but I’m hoping I’ll be surprised. There is still some talent left but honestly who knows if it will come together to produce actual wins. Just to many ?s all around whether it’s the frontcourt or even all of these guards. I wonder if Ramon Sessions will displace Mo Williams like he did in Milwaukee. Lets face it Mo isn’t your prototypical PG so if you could get something for him, like a big man, I’d listen. I’m also watching to see what happens with that huge exemption the Cavaliers have after #23 left. If they don’t or can’t use it what a loss.

  • GoCavs

    Mike Brown emphasized to LeBron and everyone else that Basketball is a team sport. When you listen to the national sports pundits, you don’t get that.

    If you saw Miami in the pre-season you know they are not a great team. If you saw the Cavaliers,you know they have great chemistry and can be a good team.

    Bottom Line: The Cavaliers are not as bad as everyone thinks nor is Miami as good. Miami has three great players but NBA Basketball is about match-ups. When LeBron accidentally injured Mitchell, he sidelined him until January. Miami now has two holes that will create match-up problems for them with nearly every team in the NBA. As we saw last year and during pre-season D-Wade is injury prone. If he goes down during the season, so does Miami. A career ending injury is looming for D-Wade, destroying any chance Miami has of winning an NBA Championship.

    Maybe Dan Gilbert is right, LeBron James took his bad Kharma to Miami.

  • JM

    I agree with Boogey. ESPN hasn’t been credible in years. I didn’t look at the preview but I’m sure they fell all over themselves picking Miami to win. A Miami team that is flawed with no bench or center and a player who has a history of blowing it in crunch time. I still say LA is way better and Orlando is at least as good too.

  • Jaysonnnn

    continue to rebuild and fight for that 8th or 7th seed
    as much as we hate it we need to rebuild the right way through the draft and smart trades

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