Opinon: Cleveland deserves more



Michael Moses

“I can tell you that this shameful display of selfishness and betrayal by

one of our very own has shifted our ‘motivation’ to previously

unknown and previously never experienced levels.”

–Dan Gilbert, Cavaliers owner, after LeBron James announced his decision to leave for Miami

Are you sure about that, Mr. Gilbert?

One year ago today, the Cleveland Cavaliers had the best records in the league at 34-11 and were ranked number one in the NBA Power Rankings. Fast forward to 2011, and the scenario is the exact opposite: a league-worst 8-36 record and dead last in the NBA Power Rankings.

Obviously, Dan Gilbert and company lost a certain somebody, but I never thought they would be this bad. It’s almost like LeBron took the team’s basketball IQ with him down to Miami. They’ve lost 17 games in a row to date and haven’t won on the road since November 10th. Cleveland is in the NBA’s Central division, this year’s worst by far, and ranks last with a 1-8 record.

With all of these lowlights factoring into the Cavs 2010-2011 campaign, I’d like to ask readers a simple question: Is this team suffering from a LeBron hangover, or have the Cavs’ management ruined this season?

I believe it’s a little of both. If you take the world’s best player off a team, then yes, there are going to be side effects, such as nausea, headaches, stomach cramps, heartburn, dehydration…

LeBron James accounted for almost 30 percent of the team’s scoring during last season, not to mention the 8.6 assists and 7.3 rebounds per game. When you lose a player of his caliber, the team is surely not expected to rebound in all areas in which he excelled. It’s impossible, unless you add, say, the second best player in the world (Kevin Durant? Kobe Bryant?). This year, the Cavs’ leading scorer, Antawn Jamison (17.3 points per game), is not a true threat. He’s no LeBron. But is it his fault the team is losing? Or is it the management?

At what point do you blame the management for such a turnaround for the worst? The players can only do so much on the court, and obviously they have not been doing a good enough job. I don’t think it’s fair to blame coach Byron Scott, either. He has minimal talent to work with. It’s his first year with the team, and hell, he was brought in to coach LeBron, not Jamison, Mo Williams and J.J. Hickson.

To say that the city of Cleveland expected this from their Cavaliers would be a lie. I thought they would use LeBron’s exit as motivation to succeed without him. I mean, that’s what their owner said?

I actually believed Dan Gilbert when he claimed that he would stop at nothing to “DELIVER YOU the championship you have long deserved and is long overdue.”

Sorry, but so far, I’m not buying it, Daniel.

Aside from the letter you wrote to fans after LeBron announced he was leaving, you have done nothing. Your team has shown no urgency, no “energy, focus, capital, knowledge and experience” that you claimed would be “directed at one thing and one thing only.”

You’re not winning. You’re not even competing.

Cleveland deserves more.

If you’re not going to play to win, if you’re not going to give the city what it deserves, then what is there to look forward to? At this point, the only thing to look forward to is another No. 1 overall pick in the upcoming draft. It’s definitely not a championship, let alone playoffs.

The Cavaliers couldn’t win with LeBron. So, quite frankly, how are they going to win without him? Surely, they’re not proving that they can.

Contact Michael Moses at [email protected].