Cavaliers vs Pistons: Let the Tanking Begin!



Welcome to Tank Fest 2012!

Ok, so no, I don’t think the Cleveland Cavaliers (17-30, 10th in the East) are actually tanking. Or, shall I say, losing on purpose. I believe Byron Scott is trying to get his team to play well, and I believe the players are (mostly) trying their hardest to win.

But with the news of Daniel Gibson’s torn tendon threatening his season, and with Anderson Varejao still some time away from returning, the fact is the Cavaliers right now aren’t deep enough and, quite frankly, not good enough, to win very many games.

Tonight’s game against the Detroit Pistons (17-32, 11th in the East), then, is a battle for draft position. If the Cavaliers lose tonight, which would be their 5th in a row, they would be tied with Detroit and looking to move up another slot in the lottery.

After tonight, the Cavaliers have back to back games against Milwaukee and at New York. Then we head to April, which should be an interesting month. The Cavaliers have two games against San Antonio and Indiana and one game each against Milwaukee, Orlando, Philadelphia, New York, Memphis, and Chicago. Outside those difficult games, though, will be the real fascinating games. We will see matchups with Toronto, New Jersey, Charlotte, Detroit, and two against Washington.

If this were like European Soccer leagues where relegation was a real threat, these would be some of the most entertaining games of the season as these teams all battled to stay on the top flight. Instead, we will see a bunch of bad basketball as teams jockey to secure their ideal spot in the lottery.

It’s hard to say, when you look at the bottom of the standings and see all the teams on losing streaks, if these teams are losing because they’re tanking, or if they’re losing because they are just all really bad basketball teams. Whatever the case may be, the battle for the bottom is on.

For those wondering, the Cavaliers are currently in the 8th spot, giving them a 2.8% chance at Anthony Davis. I say forget the #1 pick (I’ll take, but let’s not be greedy here), and let’s just hope for a top 3 pick. At their current 8th spot, the Cavs have a 2.8% chance at #1, a 3.3% chance at #2, and a 3.9% chance at #3. For those wondering, they have a 72.4% chance of picking 8th, a 16.8% chance of picking 9th, and an 8% chance of picking 10th. Not great odds. Although, to be fair, the Cavaliers won with the Clippers’ lottery pick last year…the #8 spot in the lottery. So maybe this is Cleveland’s lucky spot.

So where do the Cavaliers need to get? Let’s say anything over 10% is a decent enough chance of winning. For the Cavaliers to have a 10% chance at #3, they need to climb (or is it fall?) to the 5th spot in the lottery, where they would have a 10.7% shot at #3. If they can find it within them to get all the way to 4th in the lottery, they would have a greater than 10% chance at each of the top 3 spots (11.9% for 1st, 12.6% for 2nd, 13.3% for 3rd).

The Cavaliers are 1 game ahead of Detroit and Sacramento, 2.5 games ahead of Toronto, and 3 games ahead of New Jersey right now. It would be pretty hard for Cleveland to surpass New Orleans, Washington, or Charlotte, so for the rest of the season, we’re looking at a 5 team battle for lottery position between Cleveland, Detroit, Sacramento, Toronto, and New Jersey.

That battle begins tonight at the Q when the Cavaliers welcome in the Pistons. The Cavaliers are 2-0 against Detroit this year, and they are probably pretty happy to see Detroit in town as they look to snap this 4 game skid. Of course, last time the Cavs had Ramon Sessions, Alonzo Gee, and Tristan Thompson all coming off the bench. Now Sessions is gone, and Gee and Thompson are starting. The Cavaliers have no bench right now, aside from Manny Harris who is trying to showcase his ability to the team.

For the Cavaliers to win this game, Kyrie Irving must outduel Brandon Knight, Alonzo Gee needs to have a big night using his athleticism to beat Tayshaun Prince off the dribble, and Tristan Thompson must find some way to neutralize Greg Monroe.

If anything, I think you could argue the Pistons are worse than they should be and the Cavaliers are better than they should be. The Pistons have some nice players. Monroe, Knight, Rodney Stuckey, Jason Maxiell, Ben Gordon, Jonas Jerebko, and Prince. If I’m making a list of nice players for the Cavaliers, I’m listing Irving, Gee, Thompson, and Antawn Jamison. I give the Pistons the definite edge in talent right now.

These are the growing pains. It’s frustrating after watching 2.5 months of this team competing hard and winning some nice games to suddenly see them look lethargic, beat down, and overwhelmed. I guess the easiest thing for fans to do now is just enjoy the ride. Be happy when they win, and be happy for the lottery position when they lose.

Now if you’ll excuse, I just threw up in my mouth a little bit.

I could live with this....

  • Jack

    Time for Kyrie to shut it down. If it weren’t for those silly West swing wings…we’d be sitting pretty at #5. Ugh.

  • Nobody

    If they Cavs win tonight, they may win 2 straight, before losing to the Knicks. That’s a far as I’ll gutted with this team…and I obviously agree that they’re not tanking.

  • mgbode

    I’d love top3 as it’d guarantee us one of Davis, MKG, or Beal, but I don’t see it happening without a lot of luck.  

  • cmm13

    MKG or bust.

    Just for the simple fact that I would get to listen to Carr try to spit out this sentence:  “K.I. whirls the ball to T2 who finds MKG on the wing for the easy shot”

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Carr can’t string together a sentence that long besides McLoud wouldn’t let him.

  • Jack

    I thought was actually a perfectly constructed AC-mimicking cadence…

  • ChuckKoz

    they should waive jamison and let him sign w/ a playoff team.  

  • BrownsFanSF

    “deep in the Q!”

  • The Other Tim

    Harrison Barnes is terrible.
    Beyond Davis, who do we realistically want in this draft?

  • Craig

    I think any of the 10 picks will have an instant impact greater than or equal to Tristan Thompson.  For starters… Plus Cavs have 4 picks in 38.  Need at least a core starter and 2 role players from that haul.

  • Vindictive_Pat

    I’m thinking Beal… mostly because the Cavs have got to find someone who can start for them AND shoot the ball.  Beal reminds me a lot of D-Wade… not as good around the basket but a better shooter… their body type and ability to rebound the ball are similar I think.

  • Jack

    Eric Gordon

  • Jaker

    Ray Allen

  • Vindictive_Pat

    I would say this is a pretty good comparison as a scorer, but Beal is a better rebounder than Gordon was at his age.

  • Vindictive_Pat

    This is also a good comparison, I think.

  • mgbode

    Sophomore wing Harrison Barnes, junior power forward John Henson and sophomore point guard Kendall Marshall all are entering the NBA draft, the school announced Thursday. Add them to 7-footer Tyler Zeller, who is graduating, and the Tar Heels lose four-fifths of the starting lineup that led them to the NCAA regional finals.

    Another player, reserve forward James Michael McAdoo, is pondering his decision this weekend, though his father said Wednesday he expects the freshman forward to be back in a UNC uniform next season.

  • mgbode

    all 5 guys are potential lottery picks.   really hoping McAdoo declares because it pushes one more guy down to us with the Lakers pick (every little bit helps).

  • mgbode

    doesn’t Beal look like a top5 guy at worst after his tournament though?   he completely won me over through the SEC and NCAA tourneys.  He looked like a much more complete player than what he was early in the year.

    if we miss out on Anthony Davis, MKG, and Beal, then our options aren’t terrible, but they have a much higher “miss rate”

    I like Lamb the best some days.  Some days it’s Barnes.   Other days Moultrie’s “ceiling” is awfully tempting (we’d have one of the most athletic frontcourts in the NBA).  Cody Zeller ‘could’ declare.  

    lots of time to ponder.

  • Vindictive_Pat

    He really does… I only saw his NCAA tournament games, but you really notice him when he’s on the floor.  He gives off the vibe of being the best player on the court, and at times he seemed unstoppable.  It seemed like if he wanted to attack, nobody was going to stop him.  Unluckily for Florida, Kenny Boynton and Erving Walker decided that they had to get theirs too.