So, where do the Cleveland Cavaliers go from here?

Cleveland Cavaliers guard Collin Sexton reacts in-game. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)
Cleveland Cavaliers guard Collin Sexton reacts in-game. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images) /

When LeBron James left the Cleveland Cavaliers in the summer of 2010 to join the Miami Heat, formally via sign-and-trade, it sent the Cavaliers into a tailspin. Granted that tailspin resulted in the Cavs selecting Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson, but, they weren’t able to do anything until LeBron came back in 2014-15.

Before the 2018-19 season, James left Cleveland again to head to the Los Angeles Lakers, and it has sent the Cavaliers into a tailspin once again. They finished the 2018-19 season with a putrid record of 19-63 which was “good enough” for 14th place in the Eastern Conference.

The 2020 season ended in the Orlando bubble where LeBron was hoisting the Larry O’Brien; meanwhile the Cavs didn’t even qualify for the bubble because they finished in 15th place with a record of 19-46.

Although Cleveland had a valiant effort on Monday against the Indiana Pacers, the Cavs have lost 11 games in a row which puts their record at 21-48 and 14th place in the East. Considering that Cleveland finished with 19 wins in the prior two seasons, 21 wins is at least a little bit of an improvement that the team can build off of, and in another shortened season game-wise.

Despite a few games where the team got absolutely dropped on their heads, there was a brief time period where it looked like the Cavs could compete for a play-in spot. But that ship sailed away very quickly and never came back to the dock.

Injuries have played a real role in that, objectively, though, and Darius Garland (left ankle sprain) missing the past six games hasn’t aided things on the floor.

Albeit after being part of the four-team trade which sent James Harden to the Brooklyn Nets and Caris LaVert to the Indiana Pacers and Taurean Prince and Jarrett Allen to the Cavs, the team has shown flashes of potential. But that has fizzled, clearly, and it’s not all on injuries.

At this point, it’s safe to say the Cavs have had anything but a banner season. So, where do they go from here?

On another positive note, post-trade, Allen seems to have developed a chemistry with both Collin Sexton and Darius Garland. He’s averaging about 13 points, to go with nearly 10 rebounds and nearly 1.5 blocks per outing with Cleveland.

When Kevin Love has been healthy and in the starting lineup, he seems to be a good foil to Allen. One would think, at least theoretically, that Allen’s rolling/screening and lob threat presence would be a nice mix with Love, given Love’s shooting capabilities.

Love hasn’t been able to hit catch-and-shoot looks nearly as well as he’s capable of this season, though, regardless of soreness/the injury front, as KJG’s Robbie DiPaola expressed.

From there, it unfortunately doesn’t seem to work as a whole for long stretches when Garland and Sexton are out on the court together with the rest of the group.

Perhaps that’s because both of their on-ball styles, with Sexton being much more score-first, so that could make it challenging for other guys. The likes of Isaac Okoro, Cedi Osman, Love, whether or not he is around looking onward, to go with Allen and Larry Nance Jr., and other players to differentiate between the two come to mind.

As stated earlier, Cleveland improved by two wins as they went from 19 wins to 21 wins, so that could be a slight positive sign for head coach J.B. Bickerstaff, right?

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It could be but at the same time, it’s difficult to say right now. Going into the 2021-22 season, we’ll need to see more out of this team to show that they’re not going to be the doormat of the Central Division.