FanSided 250: Cleveland Cavaliers fans were snubbed in 2020

Cleveland Cavaliers wing Kevin Porter Jr. celebrates with fans after scoring. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Cleveland Cavaliers wing Kevin Porter Jr. celebrates with fans after scoring. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

The Cleveland Cavaliers fan base was not in the FanSided 250 for 2020.

The Cleveland Cavaliers have had a rough past two seasons, as the squad finished out with 19 wins in each of those. Last season, it was a plus to have seen the Cavs seemingly gaining momentum post-All-Star break and when J.B. Bickerstaff took over the head coaching reigns then.

Then, the Cavs were a far better 5-6 in that stretch, and had the league’s sixth-best assist rate, to go with being 10th in effective field goal shooting percentage.

Unfortunately, shortly thereafter Cleveland’s close loss to the Chicago Bulls on March 10, the NBA’s past season went into a novel coronavirus-induced hiatus. And then the Cavs’ past campaign would end out, with how they were not an Orlando-area bubble team in the league’s 2019-20 restart.

It is clear, though, that even with the Cavs essentially going into a rebuild the past two seasons, the fan base has still been very engaged, by and large. The Cavaliers are heading into Year 3 of that rebuild after LeBron James left via unrestricted free agency, this time to the Los Angeles Lakers, firstly via sign-and-trade, formally to the Miami Heat.

In any case, even with Cavaliers coming off a down season for the most part in 2019-20, it is still evident that Cavs fans are still very loyal, all things considered. And the Wine and Gold faithful seems to be really excited about Bickerstaff entering his first full season as the Cavs head coach coming up in 2020-21.

So to me, while I get the Cavaliers aren’t a contender, obviously, their fan base is one that has its share of die-hards, and frankly, the Cavs fan base not being in the FanSided 250 for 2020 is just wrong.

The Cavs fan base was snubbed not being in the FanSided 250 for 2020.

For this year, instead of seemingly ranking fan bases for loyalty, if you will, though that/passion didn’t at all hurt a fan bases’ case, FanSided changed up their ranking methods to prioritize “buzz” more so than before.

Here was some of the gyst in relation to FS’ methodology for the latest 250 rank, involving the quantitative aspect.

"“How do you evaluate fandom? You can try to quantify it. On each fandom’s FanSided 250 card, you’ll see three key statistics: the Fan Vote, Search Score, and Social Follows.”"

Here was more as far as buzz being a focal point, but FanSided clearly didn’t discount loyalty/passion.

"“This year, we’ve adjusted our values as well, placing a greater emphasis on buzz – how hot a fandom was in 2020 – than ever before. Our team took into account our longstanding values of magnitude (a fanbase’s size and scope), legacy (longevity and loyalty of the fanbase) and passion, but buzz was most important. If the fans of a player, team or entertainer have buzz, we see them all over social media, they are inescapable, they dominate every physical and virtual water cooler conversation.”"

To me, while the Cleveland Cavaliers once again did not have a banner year, nor were they an Orlando bubble team, “buzz” for fandom, at least from a sports team’s perspective, isn’t the key element.

The Cavs, though they are not a fan base of say, the Boston Celtics or Los Angeles Lakers, their fan base for a relatively small market team is far more loyal in a general sense than one might think. Of course, the fan base really showed out in the days of LeBron’s return, but throughout the years, even amid rebuilds, the Cavs’ faithful has stuck with the squad to a large degree.

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Even in a pretty down season overall in 2019-20, the Cavs being in the middle of the pack in fan attendance at 17th, per ESPN, albeit the percentage was sub-92.0 percent at home, was frankly, fairly impressive.

Honestly, from my perspective, I get the “buzz” element overall and involving NBA and WNBA teams, but the Cavs fan base, no matter how you slice it, should’ve been higher than the Washington Wizards or Sacramento Kings. Those were the lowest-ranked NBA fandoms that made it.

Just from a passion standpoint, I’d have thought the Cavaliers could’ve been more notable from a fan base regarding the loyalty realm, but it is what it is.

Anyhow, if Collin Sexton, Cleveland’s leading scorer in 2019-20 (20.8 points per game), and a player that will set the tone for Cavs’ youngsters, Darius Garland and Kevin Porter Jr., who flashed with 10.0 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game in 2019-20, ascend, that will be huge.

In turn, Cleveland would also get back into the FanSided 250 conversation for 2021. We’ll see involving Kevin Love, among others, though.

But with a young core also featuring Isaac Okoro and Dylan Windler, seemingly, moving forward, the Cavs will generate plenty in relation to the “buzz” department next season onward, I believe.

Albeit from where I stand here, the Cavs have such passionate and loyal fans, which is definitely a Cleveland-esque thing, and regardless of how FS’ 250 is now as compared to previously, that’s much more important than social media following.

That’s just my opinion, sure, but the Cavs not making the cut in the 2020 FanSided 250, like 2019, is just off the mark.

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That could very well change in 2021, though.