The 2010-11 Cleveland Cavaliers are proof that Lebron James should have been the season's MVP. With him they were one of the best teams in the league (maybe the best - they might have had the most regular season wins, I don't remember and don't feel like looking it up). After losing him and little else, they instantly became the worst team of all time. That might sound like an exaggeration, but as far as I'm concerned, setting the all-time record for the longest losing streak (something like 30, maybe the highest in all professional sports) makes you the worst team ever.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are much like the Chevrolet Cavalier I drive: they're both poorly put together. Anytime a team completely disintegrates after losing one player - no matter how good that player is - it's safe to say the organization was flawed. Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson aren't going to turn things around any better than Cam's penis would. I was about to say they're on the right with those draft picks, but I'm not so sure. I still don't understand why Irving was the consensus number one pick after having only played half a season of college ball. I won't say he'll be a huge bust, but I think he'll struggle. I don't know much about Tristan Thompson other than that his first name is my middle name and he's Canadian, so I think he'll be just fine.
But a prediction: the Cavs will be the worst team in the league next season, and it will be a while before things start looking up for them. Some NBA experts will pick them to be a surprise, but they won't be.
Another team that won't be a surprise: Minnesota. They'll be in the running for the worst in the league. Another prediction: many NBA experts actually will pick them to be a surprise. Another team that won't be a surprise: the Toronto Raptors, as much as I hate to say it, and as much as I'm really trying not to say it.
I was going to go on for a while and try to say something interesting and creative, but with the Cleveland Cavaliers as a subject, that is difficult to do. I was also going to post this a long time ago, because it has been finished for a long time, but I couldn't force myself to do it. I can't get excited about the NBA because I hate the NBA. Considering the NBA is actually my favorite thing on earth, that last statement isn't a true one, but yet it somehow is. As this lockout continues and millionaires continue to squabble about money, my anger grows. And I'm not mad about not watching basketball. I don't think anyone is. We're mad that this thing is happening at all. It's so disgusting that I've even had the thought that I don't want to watch it whenever it comes back. Now, I know that I won't be able to do that, but the fact that I've thought about it says a lot. Why should I associate myself with this abstract giant that is so greedy, selfish, manipulative, and uncaring towards me and all the other people who support it - the people who, were we to stop supporting it, could bring about its demise?
But I love basketball. I love watching it played at the highest level. And there's nothing I can do. That might sound pathetic - that I actually cannot separate myself from it - and it might not be completely true, but I feel it. Following the NBA has become part of my identity. The NBA means nothing, it's pointless, and it's even stupid - we spend hours watching, dissecting, and arguing about grown men throwing a ball through a hoop - but it's part of my life. Some of my best memories involve the NBA. But the memories aren't about the NBA itself. They're about the people who experience the NBA with me: my friends and family. They're the people I get excited with, argue with, text to, scream to.
I had actually thought I could leave the NBA behind, until our old friend Bill Simmons pulled me back. Item 55 in his recent "Proactively Mourning the NBA" column says, "Those random nights when three straight awesome crunch-times happen within a frantic span of 45 minutes, with my buddy Hirschy's inevitable 'Are you watching?' text happening somewhere along the lines." That's what it's all about. Those texts, and those phone calls before texts existed, and those next day conversations before we thought to use the phone, and those re-enactments on NBA Live when the actual games weren't happening, and the constant discussions we have anytime we meet up, and this blog.
That's why I care about the NBA. But the NBA doesn't care about me.