For a while there, the Cavaliers were making believers of ESPN’s Marc Stein. Then, of course, the book ends of the starting lineup, Kyrie Irving and Anderson Varejao both got injured, and boy did Stein make them pay for it in his latest power rankings. He dropped the Cavaliers 8 spots from #17 to #25. He writes:
The Cavs got watchable again far sooner than expected … so naturally calamity strikes to fell both Kyrie (concussion) and Varejao (fractured wrist). There’s nothing yet to suggest that the rook is in lasting danger, but the Varejao news is a crusher, since they can neither play him nor trade him now.
Can’t really argue with that too much. There’s no question the Cavaliers are a dramatically different team with Andy than without him, and his absence is going to make the Cavaliers a much worse team. Kyrie Irving’s eventual return will help, but the rookie can’t do it on his own. Right now, he needs Andy.
Until the Cavaliers have both Kyrie and Andy playing at full strength again, their recent threats of relevancy will be subdued back into the abyss.