Cavaliers’ 2018-19 season has been oddly successful

Cleveland Cavaliers Collin Sexton (Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images).
Cleveland Cavaliers Collin Sexton (Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images). /

The Cleveland Cavaliers have taken their fair share of lumps along their 2018-19 campaign. In the hunt for the coveted first pick in June’s draft, there hasn’t been much chatter surrounding the Wine and Gold. However, there should be as a result of these positives.

When LeBron James departed for the Los Angeles Lakers this past offseason, expectations for the Cleveland Cavaliers plummeted. Cleveland was just one year removed from losing Kyrie Irving, their star point guard.

Losing James added to the story that became the rise and fall of the Cavaliers.

And this season has been rough, no doubt.

The Wine and Gold lost Kevin Love just four games into the season with an injury that would hold him out until February. Tyronn Lue, Cleveland’s head coach at the time, was fired a few games after that. All this went on while the team remained winless.

It wasn’t an ideal start.

Throw in a weird power struggle with now-head coach Larry Drew before Drew actually took the job, J.R. Smith being exiled from the squad, and Cleveland teammates criticizing rookie point guard Collin Sexton and the Cavaliers truly had it all in terms of drama.

Oddly enough, the 2018-19 season has been somewhat of a success.

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How? Well, let’s dive in and talk about it.

For one, the team has been able to develop some of their young players like Sexton and Cedi Osman, both playing significantly better over the last few months. Those two guys serve as building blocks for a brighter future and it’s important that they not only play a good deal of minutes but also execute during said minutes.

They’ve done so.

A lot of the current improvement is due to Love’s injury, as the team had to learn to play without their offense’s focal point. Love becoming the centerpiece of the franchise was talked about after he signed his extension in the offseason.

Heck, the word “playoffs” hovered over Cleveland Clinic Courts before the expedition began and things took shape to what they were presumed to be.

Sure, playoffs didn’t happen. But the growth of the youth means more than a first-round playoff exit.

Speaking of Love, how great has he been as a leader? Hate on him as much as you want for his inability to stay healthy this season but he’s been a voice for the team to lean on, never really scolding his teammates or leaving anyone feeling left out.

I’ll be honest, I did not like the Love extension and dreaded it even more once he got hurt. My opinion has changed dramatically in the months after the injury, as he’s been everything a leader should be.

Love’s under contract for the foreseeable future and that actually looks to be a positive for the Cavaliers after all.

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The last thing to be excited about is the job Cavaliers’ general manager Koby Altman has done with the roster. He’s essentially rid himself of most of the veterans and bad contracts, earning a nice return of draft capital and some intriguing roster pieces. To make that point even better, every player he reportedly acquired in trades is up for free agency this offseason.

A lot of decisions have had to be made this season for Cleveland. But they’ve embraced the rebuild finally and it appears the franchise is heading in the right direction, as long as they stay the course.