After six years of enjoying playoff basketball here in Cleveland with the Cavaliers, the past couple seasons have been, to say the least, rough. However. I do think some positive things came out of this season and Cavs fans should be very optimistic that we are close to not only making the playoffs, but being a dominant force in the league again. At least that's the way I feel about the Cavs - maybe after reading my reasons, you'll understand and be hopeful too!
2010-11 was an incredibly painful year of basketball for this city. After all the fun and success the Cavs had, life without whats-his-name proved to be even worse than we anticipated. 19-63. Wow. Whoda thunk it? And 26 games in a row? Yikes! Everyone I talked to was complaining and moaning about how bad the Cavs were and even the hope of at op lottery pick didn't lift their spirits. We took each loss personally and blamed he-who-shall-not-be-named for our pain.
I learned 3 things this season that leave me feeling positive about the future. First, Byron Scott is rocking the job of Head Coach. He's got a talent for developing young players, specifically Point Guards, and that is evident in the way Kyrie Irving matured during the season. While even I complained about the limits he put on playing time for some of the guys, I'm willing to wait for the payoff. He commands the respect of his players and it is clear that he is the leader in the "huddle" during time-outs, etc. It's nice to see a coach that is in charge for a change. (No offense, Mike Brown.)
Second, I learned that Kyrie Irving is the Real Deal. This kid is special and everyone who watched him play last year could see it. He was NBA Rookie of the Month not once, not twice, (ha) but FOUR TIMES! He's the front-runner for Rookie of the Year. And, most importantly, he's a TEAM player. He has shown so much growth and a maturity on the court that I wasn't expecting. He's made a believer out of me - and many other Cavs fans.
So. Final stat of the year.... 21-45. I can theorize that in a full season, they were on pace to be 27-55. While that is still really bad, it's an improvement over last year (I know, little consolation there). And yet I never really looked at the wins/losses or worried about them this year. And most people I talked to had no clue what their record was. We were just talking about "Did you see Kyrie last night" and "man, what a great 4th quarter comeback." We understood the rebuilding process and bought into it - hook, line, and jump shot. And that's good enough for me!