The 2010 Cleveland Cavaliers were in a league of their own last season. I mean that in the most insulting way possible. It is not that the Cavaliers did not have talented players on their squad. Baron Davis, even though he made a late entrance to the team, was an essentially premiere passer and solid scorer with the Los Angeles Clippers.
His skillset did not change much when he switched conferences to play for the suffering franchise, which unfortunately for Byron Scott did not seem to change the direction of the Cavaliers much.
Separate the meetings against the Miami Heat from the regularly scheduled games, as those contests had a type of playoff feel no matter how far the Cavaliers were from the postseason at the regular season’s close. Cleveland seemed to lack the sense of urgency and entitlement that the more elite teams in the league played with. When you hear the term sense of entitlement, your first thoughts may shift to someone who plays lackadaisical on the court simply because they feel that even in mediocrity they deserve the W over their opponent.
My definition of the term extends far beyond that.
A sense of entitlement in the league, the NBA specifically, means that a player or team is playing with all of their cards on the table because they simply know that when they play this way no one can defeat them. Or at least that is the general consensus of the “entitled” team before the official result of the game after all four quarters are played.
The Cleveland Cavaliers created the impression that they themselves felt the franchise did not belong in the professional league at all. Daniel Gibson, JJ Hickson and Mo Williams (before the trade) were the walking dead out there. Points were being scored, but there was no fire lit under the seats on the sidelines to get the job done by any means necessary.
If you disagree, that is fine. However, a 19-63 record speaks volumes in my defense.
The 2011 season was supposed to be one of redemption for the team. Before the start of last season, no one truly knew how the Cavaliers would fair in the light of their lost “King.” But, now since all is said and done, the initial reaction to their continuous losses has been incepted and evaluated. It is time to move on and focus on how the franchise can rebound in the future from such a time of despair for the team, their fans and the city of Cleveland.
The drafting of Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson were the first steps to restructuring and pretty good ones. The next step to reform was acquiring a D-league team. It did not have much to do with the Cavaliers performance on the court, but it was another notch under Dan Gilbert’s belt and something else that could be attributed to the Cavaliers’ general organization.
Steps are being set in motion to not only redeem the broad franchise but to instill a sense of respect and validity for Cleveland in general.
We may not see it next season, due to the lockout, and we may not experience the pressures of the change from the organization in the season directly after. However, sooner than later the Cleveland franchise will demand respect and have tangible evidence as to why they should be allowed such a treasure.