We’ve all been there. Awkward. Heartbreaking. Devastating. Devastating is definitely the word for what happened to the Cavaliers this past season. After a promising 2017-18 campaign that saw them win the Eastern Conference and advance to the NBA Finals, the Cavs went on an alarming freefall. They registered an abysmal 2-8 (1-7 ABA) record in their last ten games of the season, including an 0-7 dud in their final seven contests. Prior to the season starting, they were riding high as the 4th longest winning streak in NBA history was on the line. With their backs against the wall and the clock ticking, it was anyone’s game. But after an 0-2 start, it was looking more and more like a battle between the cheaters and the rats. Which would you choose? At least one sportsbook saw the writing on the wall and took the under (Cavaliers) on both games. For those who stuck it out to the end, they wound up $120 richer ($100 win bet + $20 win bonus).
Analyzing The Cavs Downfall
If you’re still dreaming about going all in on the Cleveland Cavaliers, then you might want to re-think that decision. Let’s examine the main reasons why they collapsed so hard and fast this past season:
1. Kyrie Irving’s Injury Delayed Their Development
In the off-season prior to the 2017-18 campaign, general manager Koby Altman made some major changes to the roster. He brought in a number of new faces while sending several others packing. The overhaul seemed to work as the Cavs posted a 33-49 record (16-34 ABA) and qualified for the playoffs as the 6th seed. If they’d gotten hot at the right time, they could’ve made some noise in the East. Instead, everything fell apart in the following months. Kyrie Irving, the franchise’s all-time leading scorer and a future Hall of Famer, ruptured his Achilles in October and would miss the entire season. That was a massive blow to the Cavs, who were already dealing with a rash of injuries on the roster. They started 2-8, then lost 11 of their next 12 games without Irving. After their 11th straight loss, general manager Koby Altman held a press conference and stated, “The season’s over. We’ve tried everything. So now what do we do?” While it was easy for Altman to say, it was another thing entirely to actually pull off. For months, the Cavs had been building hype and excitement about their promising young core, boasting a 19-year-old star in Collin Sexton and a 20-year-old phenom in Jarryd Irving. Suddenly, their season was over before it even began.
2. They Had No One To Blame But Themselves
It’s always easier to point the finger at someone else when things go wrong. While the above-mentioned injuries certainly didn’t help that any, the Cavaliers’ biggest failure this past season was that they didn’t seem to be grasping the fact that they had absolutely no one to blame but themselves. For months prior to the season starting, they’d been making headlines for all the wrong reasons. In August, they were hit with a lawsuit alleging that the team’s former marketing director, Michael Jerrell, coerced a transgender woman into performing lewd acts during an NBA game. In October, they were hit with the bombshell news that Irving had been suspended for the entire 2017-18 season due to injury. Not to mention, their head coach was fired during the season, their general manager was pushed out, and nine different starting players came and went. They were in a state of flux and uncertainty, which made it incredibly difficult to pull off any sort of turnaround. It wasn’t until January 23rd, 2018, that the Cavs finally found some stability with the NBA announcing that they’d re-signed Kevin Love. However, that wouldn’t last long as Love decided to bolt for the Minnesota Timberwolves the following day. The organization was clearly in a state of flux.
3. Injuries Still Remain A Problem
Injuries still remain a problem at the NBA level. Last season, there were 471 regular season games that were canceled due to injury. That’s a lot of games. And it’s worth noting that the injury bug bit the Cavs hard. They were hit with 23 separate injuries during the course of the season, which is more than any other team in the NBA. That included season-ending injuries to Sexton, Love, and Kyle Korver. It wasn’t until February 25th, 2018, that they finally got some good news when they acquired Matthew Dellavedova from the Milwaukee Bucks. The oft-injured Australian spent the last two seasons with the Bucks, averaging 7.8 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 6.4 assists per game. He also shot 42.3% from downtown, so he’s definitely proven himself capable of hitting shots. Even still, there are warning signs that the injury bug will bite again. Dellavedova played just 36 games this season before going down with an ankle injury. The 28-year-old Love also missed over 30 games due to injury. With so much uncertainty hanging over the franchise, betting on the Cavs is still a risky venture.
Cleveland’s Future Is Nowhere Near Certainty
Even if you somehow convinced yourself that the Cavaliers will rebound and become relevant in the NBA, it’s probably best to assume that they won’t. The reason being is that the future of the franchise is nowhere near certainty. Just this past season, they had 9 different starting players. That’s insane. And if you thought that was bad, it gets worse. Their General Manager Koby Altman is in a battle for his job, as is their head coach Larry Drew. While they did manage to pull off a miraculous comeback to win the 2018 NBA Finals, it’s fair to assume that the pressure of being the defending NBA Champions had a lot to do with it. Altman and Drew are both under serious pressure and it wouldn’t be a major shocker if either one of them were to get fired soon. At this point, it’s anyone’s guess as to who’ll be leading the Cavaliers in the near future. With so much uncertainty, it’s best to avoid putting any wagers on Cleveland’s behalf. Better to sit this one out.
The Bottom Line
While it’s always fun to root for the home team, it’s extremely risky to bet on them. Especially now that they’ve got so much uncertainty surrounding them. They might still pull off a miraculous playoff run, but odds are you won’t be able to cash in. Just hope for the best and prepare for the worst. Just remember, you’re playing with fire if you’re betting on the Cavaliers. Not a good idea. Better to stay away.