THE CLEVELAND CAVALIERS lost their 25th straight game last night, breaking the NBA record for consecutive awfulness.
The fact that they almost beat the Mavericks in Dallas only makes the pain of losing worse. (Jamario Moon failed to get off a final shot when he tried to make one more pass as time expired.)
At this point, the Cavs aren’t just the worst NBA team ever, but are nearing the mark for most losses by any major sports franchise in history.
One more defeat and they tie the record set by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who lost the first 26 games of their existence in 1976 and ’77.
Was LeBron James that good?
Well, yes and no. Yes, in that the team had grown to rely on him to an uncomfortable degree, stifling the development of other players. Also, when he left he took Zydrunas Ilgauskas, a key role player, with him. And they both left late in the free agency period, leaving the Cavs with little opportunity to make improvements to their team before the season started.
LeBron’s departure was not just a blow to team psychology and talent, it was a strategic blow as well.
So what are they to do? Well, ride out this season and the inevitable lockout — with that looming there’s no point in making major changes now — take their No. 1 draft pick next year and start the rebuilding process.
From a long-term stand point, they aren’t in a terrible position: small payroll, good young coach, mix of old and young players, any of whom could be moved in trades. Plus ratings and attendence are still decent. But until the CBA issues are resolved, they have choice but to remain terrible. (It’s in their interest to be as bad possible, actually.)
At least they’re holding up better than Michigan State. You know your season is bad when you’re getting pep talks from Dan “Comic Sans” Gilbert.
Tom Izzo passed up the chance to coach this horrible team, but given the way his Spartans have collapsed this year, it may not have made any difference.