Photo: One Man Fast Break
The year A.L. (After LeBron) hasn’t gone so well for the Cleveland Cavaliers. After a decent start to the season, Cleveland has now lost 20 games in a row and 30 of 31 overall.Much of the blame can be placed on injuries. The losses of Anderson Varejao and Mo Williams were crippling blows for a team short on talent and depth, and the Cavaliers have had to fight through a host of minor injuries as well. Still, Cleveland hasn’t even been competitive since LeBron and company destroyed them at the beginning of December.
During their current 20 game losing streak, the Cavaliers have lost by an average of 14.9 points per game, and they’ve lost by double figures in 13 of those 20 contests (the numbers are inflated by a 112-57 thumping at the hands of the Los Angeles Lakers on January 11th).
No one expected Cleveland to be a contender after losing LeBron, but this fall down the Eastern Conference standings only underscores what King James meant to the team. The Cavaliers are on pace for just under 14 wins this season, after tallying 61 last year and 66 in 2008-2009.
Again, Cleveland’s struggles can be blamed partially on injuries, but that astounding difference shows just how much James meant to the Cavs.
The good news is that Cleveland has a good shot (barring the draft lottery) at the No. 1 overall pick at the 2011 NBA Draft. The bad news is that there’s no LeBron-like talent to save them.
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