By Adam Ondo
“I personally guarantee that the Cleveland Cavaliers will win an NBA Championship before the self-titled former ‘King’ wins one,” Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert said following the departure of superstar LeBron James from the team.
With these parting words — ones that will be forever echo in the minds of both LeBron and the management and members of his former Cleveland team — the race was on.
This hubris-filled salvo came directly after last year’s nationally-televised and highly-anticipated ceremony, during which LeBron James announced his decision to abandon the Cavaliers in pursuit of a ring, which he hopes to obtain this season by playing for the Miami Heat.
As of right now, Gilbert should be preparing to eat his words. His Cavaliers recently set a new record for the longest losing streak on record, with 26 straight. The old record of 24 losses was set by the Cavaliers in the 1980s. The obscenely long streak has left the Cavaliers with a record of 9-45 — the worst record in the league — guaranteeing that they will not be able to make it to the playoffs this year.
LeBron and the Heat, on the other hand, lead the Southeast Division and are just a half game behind the Boston Celtics for possession of the Eastern Conference lead, making them the third best team in the NBA with a record of 39-15. Were the playoffs to begin tomorrow, the Heat would own the East’s second seed and many people predict that they’d win it all. In other words, LeBron, along with teammates and fellow superstars Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh, will be wearing championship rings long before the Cavs players even get their fingers measured.
Last November, the future looked a lot different than it does today. At that time, the Cavaliers were receiving limitless praise by staying only one game behind powerhouse Heat, and some thought they’d go all the way.
But headlines like “Cavaliers in Fine Form Offensively” and “Cavs Get Season Off to Good Start” have been replaced by “The Cavaliers Losing Streak: A Four Act Play of Failure” and “Bad Cavs have Good Cast, no Leading Man”.
The Cavs have four players all averaging over 10 points per game, with two of them nearly averaging double doubles. The problem is that none of them average over 20 points per game. LeBron, by contrast, averaged nearly thirty points per game during his seven years in Cleveland.
To make matters worse, one of the more reliable Cavalier scorers — Anderson Varejao — is out with a torn peroneus longus tendon in his right ankle. Antawn Jamison is a superb supporting player, but there’s no way he can replace Lebron — not with his average of 17 points per game at least. The Cavs will need to find a new leader before the start of the 2012 season to rebound from what has become Gilbert’s worst nightmare.
Ondo is a member of
the class of 2014.