Pistons at Cavs: Blueprint for failure?

Essentials

  • Teams: Detroit Pistons (29-49) at Cleveland Cavaliers (31-47)
  • Date: April 9, 2014
  • Time: 7:00 p.m.
  • Television: FSD

What to look for

With the end of the season approaching, the Cleveland Cavaliers are in a bit of turmoil.

It’s not just the idea that the Cavs will miss the playoffs once more, or that the franchise appears to lack a plan, rather, everything is simply a flaming mess.

Cleveland has failed in building a culture conducive to winning. They’ve imported draft pick after draft pick, but they’ve hardly produced wins. The team hasn’t had an identity since LeBron James uttered the words “South Beach” on national television, and that doesn’t seem likely to change in the near future.

Ownership finally decided they wanted a successful program this season, and they acquired a coupled of veterans to make it happen. They brought back Mike Brown and then signed Andrew Bynum.

When Bynum failed, the Cavs jettisoned him and brought in Luol Deng and Spencer Hawes at mid-season. The veterans were supposed to finally help steer the team back into the playoffs after a four-year drought, but that backfired.

By trading for Deng and Hawes, it’s as if the Cavs had signed Jason Statham and asked him to play in a romantic comedy. In retrospect, Cleveland was doomed prior to the start of the season.

And yet, that wasn’t rock bottom.

Cavs the Blog, the ESPN TrueHoop Affiliate blog for the Cavaliers, conducted a Q&A session with Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com where Windhorst questioned Kyrie Irving’s maturity.

What’s more, in that same piece, Windhorst made it clear he did not believe Irving was a max-contract player — I actually agree — and that he had no interest in staying with the Cavs.

This prompted Irving to lash out at the media on Twitter. Cleveland has been a disaster since the 2010 summer, and it only appears as though things are going to get worse.

Cleveland has suffered the same fate as Gotham in The Dark Knight Rises, except there isn’t a caped crusader in sight to rescue the city. For whatever reason, management figured Deng could help with that role in some way, shape or form, but instead, the Cavs did this to him:

Another offseason approaches, and well, it looks as though the path Cleveland has taken for the past four years is right there waiting for them once more. Thus, tonight’s game with the Detroit Pistons probably won’t mean much in the grand scheme of things.

Normally, late-season games for young players on losing teams serve as reps to build up a program, which eventually leads to the playoffs. But we’ve seen this story repeat itself over and over again through the years, and the result never changes.

Once upon a time, Cavs versus Pistons was a marquee game on the NBA calendar. That has since become a distant memory, as both franchises have faded. Detroit’s future appears to be brighter, but that’s only because Cleveland has turned failure into an art form.

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Tags: Cleveland Cavaliers THN-CLE

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