The Cleveland Cavaliers set a goal at the beginning of the season to end their three-year playoff drought. If the Cavaliers plan on meeting this goal they will need nothing short of a miracle.
The Cavs after going on a six game win streak have lost two in row and currently sit five games out of the last playoff spot in the east. With only 25 games remaining this season for Cleveland, their playoff hopes are becoming more and more unrealistic after every loss.
Although the Cavs went on an impressive six game win streak, they still have not proven they can beat playoff teams. They only beat one playoff team, the Washington Wizards, during their winning stretch.
Since their acquisition of center Spencer Hawes from the Philadelphia 76ers, the Cavs have dropped two games in a row to playoff teams. The Cavs’ failure to perform against playoff teams makes for a scary end of the season for Cleveland fans.
Out of Cleveland’s 25 remaining games, 16 of those are against playoff-bound teams. All-Star MVP point guard Kyrie Irving and company will have to face seven teams in the East and six teams in the West who have a playoff spot.
The Cavs will also have to play both the Detroit Pistons and the New York Knicks twice. The Pistons are a game and a half ahead of Cleveland in the ninth spot and the Knicks are half a game behind in the 11 spot.
On top of a difficult remaining schedule for Cleveland, they are battling injuries to key players, such as guard Dion Waiters and center Anderson Varejao. Waiters has a left knee hyperextension and is being missed greatly in the Cavaliers’ backcourt.
The Cavaliers’ trades for Hawes and forward Luol Deng earlier in the year may prove to not be enough to push them into the playoffs. The early season locker room troubles and struggles to win dug Cleveland into too deep of a hole to overcome.
Even if Cleveland does not reach their goal of making the playoffs, I do not see this as a failed year. The Cavs have proven they can compete with their young, developing players.
I believe they are only a couple more solid role players away from being a team that can compete for a long time in the east. The Cavs need one more consistent scoring threat to play along side Waiters and Irving.
The organization has struggled to attract players in the past to come play in Cleveland, but the rise of Irving as a top player in the league will help draw talent to the city. Irving proved in the All-Star game how remarkable he is when surrounded by talent.
Although I see the Cavs making the playoffs as a stretch, I do see promise in the team for years to come.