Tonight We Say Farewell to the 2011-12 Cleveland Cavaliers

Media Day seems like just last week

Media Day seems like just last week

The last time the Cleveland Cavaliers played on a Thursday was January 12th, the 3rd week of the season. You see, Thursday nights are typically the big matchup nights. It’s the night TNT has TV rights and other than their premiere games, there’s usually only one or two overflow games.

So it’s fitting, then, that the Cavaliers finish the season on a Thursday night in Chicago, buried underneath the hype and excitement of the NFL Draft. While Browns fans are anxiously greeting the newest members of their team, Cavaliers fans are saying goodbye to their players.

In a season in which the Cavaliers were mostly ignored outside of Cleveland, save for a handful of people who occasionally flipped over on League Pass to see what that Kyrie Irving guy was doing, the season comes to an end much in the same way it started…quiet, unassuming, and with more questions than answers.

I don’t know who’s going to play in this game. The Bulls could probably use some extra time getting their starters comfortable playing together after missing so much time to injury, but in reality, I’d be stunned to see them play. And if they do, I wouldn’t expect to see them in the 2nd half.

For the Cavaliers, there’s a chance they could be without Anderson Varejao, Antawn Jamison, Kyrie Irving, Daniel Gibson, and Semih Erden. With Byron Scott using the excuse of wanting to see what some of his lesser known players can do, I wouldn’t be surprised to see big minutes from the likes of DJ Kennedy, Donald Sloan, Luke Walton, Luke Harangody, and Omri Casspi.

There’s probably not been another game this season that simultaneously mattered so little and so much. With 1 game left, the Cavaliers, Kings, and Hornets remain all tied up at 21-44 with the Raptors and Nets sitting at 22-43. So if the Cavaliers lose, the worst they can do is share a 3 way tie for 3rd in lottery odds. So you see, this game doesn’t matter because neither team is taking it seriously, but it does matter because of the swing in lottery votes.

For all the talk of tanking, teams in the lottery often win their last game of the season. Sometimes because they are playing a playoff team who is resting their stars, other times it’s because the players give such a great effort in the last game of the season, one last chance to lay it all on the line.

Once upon a time, the Cavaliers were the team resting starters in the last game to prepare for the playoffs. Now they’re the team resting starters to try to not decrease their lottery odds. It’s a sad reality, but the front office and management of this team is clearly committed to bettering this team, and the lottery is the best way to do that.

I know most people who read this site will be watching the NFL Draft tonight. Heck, I will be, too (this is what DVR was made for). But there’s no denying the bittersweet feeling I sense in the pit of my stomach. Basketball season is so much fun, getting to discuss strategies, rebuilding plans, trade ideas, tanking, etc. with all you readers. And after tonight, it will all be finished in a puff of smoke. Vanished into next year.

We’ll surely have more in the next week to put a bow on this season and looking forward to the lottery, the draft, and next season, but for now, this is a fond farewell to the 2011-12 Cleveland Cavaliers, and a season of losing made so much more fun but being able to share thoughts and ideas with all you fellow fans.

Go Cavs! (….go get the #3 pick, I mean….right?)

  • bumsquare

    Basketball is definitely the most fun sport to follow and argue about.  This season has been pleasantly entertaining (very entertaining for the first half) and next year should be even better.

  • Chucky Brown

    Im pretty happy with how this season played out. We got reason for hope along with another high lotto pick

    its now time to exclusively root for whoever is playing the heat

  • mgbode

    the great thing about this season has been that it always had an entertaining angle to follow.

    1. Irving is this good?  really?
    2. Tristan Thompson isn’t so bad.  In fact, he might be pleasantly good.
    3. Where did Anderson Varejao, borderline allstar come from?
    4. Should we trade AV, Jamison, Sessions to prepare for the future? What could we get?  Would anyone take Parker if we offered them a pick?
    5. “This team” can’t make the playoffs, can it?
    6. AV is hurt, so, umm, no playoffs for us.
    7. Ok, let’s see if we can finangle a 1st rounder out of somebody for one of the guys we are losing.  
    8. Wait, Grant got a 1st round pick and a chance to swap spots next year w/ the Heat’s pick for Sessions? All we have to do is put Walton at the end of our bench?  Nice.
    9. Time to start preparing for the lottery.  Play well, but lose.  Tough line to balance.
    10. Donald Sloan for backup PG in 2013! 
    11. Wait a second, who is Lester Hudson and why is he scoring so much?  Inefficiently though.
    12. Wow, can’t believe how quickly things went South for this team.  The Raptors banked their 1st rounder in Europe for the season while we added 2 1st rounders and we somehow managed to “out-tank” them?
    13.  Stretch run, can we get to #3 lottery odds?
    14.  Yes.We.Can!
    15.  Win the Anthony Davis Lotto (ok, hasn’t happened…..yet)

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Thank God the season wasn’t 82 games is all I can say but Irving surpassed what I could have ever imagined.  Point of fact I was a Derrick Williams fan and still am but clearly Irving is the ROY and has the brightest future.

    I’ll eagerly be awaiting the draft lottery.  The Cavaliers much like the Browns will have plenty of options unless of course Nick Gilbert can pull off another miracle.