The 2013-14 Cleveland Cavaliers are the exact opposite of that.
The Cavs are finishing up one of the most bizarre seasons I’ve ever witnessed. They re-hired their old coach. Tristan Thompson changed shooting hands. All three free agent acquisitions fell flat. Players fought with coaches. Players fought with other players. Players fought with reporters. Hell, players fought with Josh Gordon. They had two first round picks that couldn’t crack the rotation of a 30 win team. But the Cavs also had some nice moments. They went on their longest win streak in four years. Kyrie Irving was voted an All-Star starter and went on to win the All-Star game MVP. Dion Waiters hit some game winners and undrafted rookie Matthew Dellavedova proved to be a real NBA player. The Cavs improved at least eight wins from last year and Cavalier fans were able to scoreboard watch until the very end of the season.
The Cavs just went through what I’ve dubbed as “The Season of Huh.”
I can’t stress enough how weird this Cavalier season has been. On the court, off the court, in the owner’s box … everything has been a story. While I’d greatly prefer the Cavs to be winning, the Season of Huh was vastly more entertaining than any of these past two tanking seasons. I’ve tried to capture below all the craziness that went on during the 2013-14 campaign, but I guarantee I’ve missed some.
Thoughts: This … was not a good start to the season. The losses were bad (Milwaukee? Philly?) and even the wins weren’t that fun. The Cavs needed superhuman performances from Kyrie (not to mention overtime) to beat mediocre teams like the Sixers and Wizards. Bennett looked completely overwhelmed, Earl Clark looked awful and somehow Jarrett Jack was the most maddening of all. But there was still hope, we told ourselves. The Cavs were young! Bynum was rounding into form. It’s early! They’ve had a rough schedule and we gotta give Coach Mike some time to mesh with these guys.
The season is 6/82 complete.If the season was a game there would be 8:30 left in the 1st quarter.Let’s calm down,watch a bit more then judge
December (5-9, 10-21 overall): The Cavs started the month 4-1 and we started to think that maybe their early season jitters passed. Nope. The Cavs end the month on an 1-8 skid, including a pathetic 115-92 loss to the Pistons at home on December 23rd2 which brought us this glorious vine:
Thoughts: The month started off fine: the Cavs had a stretch where they went 6-3 and beat teams like the Clippers, the Bulls and the Nuggets. They played the Heat tough in Miami and then lost a highly entertaining game to Portland on a Damian Lillard buzzer-beater. Then the Bynum experiment blew up in spectacular fashion and the Cavs went in a tailspin, ending 2013 on a six-game losing streak. Things looked bleak, but little did we know, The Season of Huh was just getting started.
Thoughts: This is where the Season of Huh really went off the rails. The Deng trade followed by a 3-2 West Coast trip gave fans a sliver of hope. “The Cavs were figuring things out,” we lied to ourselves. They added a veteran leader, an honest-to-god NBA small forward and had a good road trip out West. The narrative says that this is when the plucky young team finds its legs and goes on a run. Instead, they went into a free fall, losing five of six to close out the month, culminating with the nationally televised 117-86 disaster against the Knicks. Things were so bad that the notoriously press averse Chris Grant held an impromptu press conference, lambasting the team.
February (8-6. 24-36 overall): The Season of Huh rests for no one, even choir boy Luol Deng can’t escape its clutches. Someone close to Deng spoke to the New York Post and the picture they painted of our Cavs was not flattering. Deng wanted out, players talked back to Coach Brown and rumors of partying and general unprofessionalness abound. The Cavs opened the month with a three-game losing streak, culminating with a loss to a Laker team that finished the game with just four eligible players. Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve officially hit rock bottom.
there’s a lot of room on the bench when you only have four eligible players
A WOJBOMB informed us that Grant took Tristan Thompson solely because he had the same agent as LeBron James. Meanwhile, Bleacher Report’s Ric Bucher reported that Grant passed on center Jonas Valančiūnas for the exact same reason. The Season of Huh cares not for logic or internal consistency.
Kyrie specifically told TNT’s intern to make sure he was the only one not wearing his normal uniform.
All-Star Weekend was a perfect microcosm of this stupid season. Dion put on a show in the Rising Stars game, dueling Tim Hardaway Jr and wowing the crowd. Kyrie’s 3-Point Contest title defense fell short when he failed to even finish all five of his ball racks. Kyrie, of course, followed up his dismal three ball performance by winning the All-Star Game MVP with a monster 31=point, 14-assist performance.
Thoughts: A positive month! 8-6 baby! Only this Cavalier squad would respond to a GM’s firing by going on a six-game win streak. Did Chris Grant make them not play hard? Did they simply need some kind, any kind, of change? Whatever the dumb reason, the Cavs responded to Grant’s firing by playing their best ball of the season. And as far as the All-Star game goes, you’d think that a MVP performance by your 22-year-old All-Star would be pretty neat, but only in Cleveland can we turn that into a negative. Well done, everyone.
Kyrie’s best game of the year not in a Cavs uniform… — Aaron Goldhammer (@HammerNation19) February 17, 2014
Thoughts: Z’s retirement ceremony was pretty sweet and I wish they’d use those on-court graphics as their normal intros. It was quite impressive. And while you’d think that four straight losses to open March would take the Cavs out of the playoff race, fear not! The Hawks and Knicks refused to cooperate and the Cavs stumbled their way into a three-team race for the eighth seed. Kyrie was struck with annual late-season injury and the Cavs (and Dion) played just well enough (4-4 in eight games) that fans started day dreaming about trading their 22-year-old All-Star. Nevertheless, the Cavs end the month within three games of the playoffs and a big game with the Hawks looming.
Source told me 2 expect a public burying of the hatchet between Kyrie & Gordon at the #Cavs game 2morrow. Apparently orchestrated by #Browns — Will Burge (@WillBurge) April 8, 2014
Thoughts: Did you think our young Cavs were growing up and learning to play hard every night? You poor fool. The Cavs are heading into Fan Appreciation Night tonight on a two-game losing streak, with depressing losses against the abysmal Milwaukee Bucks and tanking Boston Celtics. That the bottom immediately fell out once the Cavs were out of the playoff picture doesn’t bode well for Mike Brown. Did they quit on Coach Mike? Did they try to quit on Brown months ago and only played hard because they knew, post-Grant firing, Brown was going to survive the season? Any growth we thought we might’ve seen over the past two months is negated by these last two losses. Clearly nothing was learned. The wins against OKC and Golden State don’t mean squat if they’re gonna get blown out by a tanking Celtics team resting both Rajon Rondo and Jared Sullinger.
There’s a case to be made that the Cavs are currently in a Worst Case Scenario situation. The Cavs won the lottery and guaranteed they wouldn’t be back. They had two first-round picks and neither is expected to play in the season finale (but one might!). They will be back. They traded future draft picks for free agents Luol Deng and Spencer Hawes in a Win Now playoff push. They will miss the playoffs by five games. They either have a talent problem, a chemistry problem or a coaching problem (or all three!). They have a 22-year-old budding superstar who is constantly having to refute reports that he’s unhappy. And whatever LeBron 2014 dreams you might’ve had, Windhorst dashed those pretty good. ...
So I have no idea what to expect tonight against the Nets. This team lost to Milwaukee twice.It’s entirely within the realm of possibility that the Cavs lay a stinker on Fan Appreciation Night. Last year, Kyrie caused a mini uproar when he skipped out on Fan Appreciation Night, and his conduct heading into the 2014 finale leaves much to be desired. So I’m ready for anything. Kyrie could score 50. Dion could drop 40. Kyrie could go scoreless. Sergey Karasev could even see the court.
Well, let’s not go crazy. Even The Season of Huh has its limits.
“Due to his outside shooting, I think Sergey Karasev will make the biggest impact for the Cavs. Having Karasev to stretch the floor will make Kyrie’s life easier, to say nothing of the space he’d allow Andrew Bynum (assuming Bynum even plays)” – Ben Cox, WFNY [↩]
way to put on a show for the folks home on Christmas break! [↩]
Ben has been writing about the Cavs for WFNY since 2011. Known as the "town bicycle of Cavaliers bloggers" and a librarian by trade, when Ben's not tweeting about the Cavs (@WFNYBen) or curled up with a book, you're likely find him on a disc golf course.