Wednesday, 29 June 2011

NBA entering uncertain times

On Friday, July 1st, the various owners of the 30 NBA teams will confirm they are going to "lockout" NBA players. This means that no players will be paid, no players can sign contracts, no teams can trade players and no games can be played in any form.

This has all come about because the current Collective Bargaining Agreement - the contract that determines what share of team income the players are paid - expires on July 1st. With players and owners at loggerheads over the details of the new CBA, the owners will proceed to lock the players out with no pay until a new contract is agreed upon.

The contract outlines how basketball income is split between the team owners and the players. The expiring deal sees the players earn 57% of basketball income. The owners have said that this simply cannot continue, and want to reduce the split to 52% for the players. With 22 of 30 NBA teams currently running at a loss, the current agreement must be changed or several teams will face being sold, relocated or even extinction.

The owners contend that at the present, with a $58 million "soft" salary cap, the teams cannot afford to continue. The current soft cap is a very complex system that allows teams to pay their players more than the cap allows in certain circumstances. This is done with the aim of allowing the teams to keep their better/more popular players, so increasing local fan support. In other US Sports, a hard-cap is used which has very few exceptions. The NBA team owners would like a hard-cap to be implemented to prevent players' salaries getting out of control. The players counter that this would prevent them from playing where they wanted to or earning as much money as they should be. This at present is the main obstruction in an agreement being reached.

When a "lockout" occurs, the players are effectively frozen out. They do not get paid, they do not get bought nor sold. This is well and good during the summer off-season (players are not paid normally in summer) but becomes a real issue once the Summer League and pre-season training camps are due to begin. The 2011 Summer League is already cancelled due to the ongoing dispute, next on the chopping block will be the training camps. If the two parties still cannot reach a deal, pre-season games (the single biggest earner for owners) will be cancelled. Just a few weeks after that, the Regular Season begins and if no deal is reached, once again, the games will be cancelled and the league will enter dangerous territory.

The 1998-99 NBA season featured just 50 games instead of the usual 82 due to the first 32 being cancelled due to a previous collective bargaining agreement expiring. In 2004-05 the league came close again to losing games as the 1999 agreement had to be re-negotiated, giving us today's version.

With the league enjoying viewer ratings at near record levels, losing games would be the worst possible scenario. The final game of this season posted an 11-year high in viewer numbers. If the league were forced into missing games, it's popularity would be so badly damaged that it could take another 11 for it to recover. The American hockey league had to cancel the entire 04-05 season and has yet to reach the level of popularity it once did.

All this week, NBA officials, including commissioner David Stern, and the Player's Union have been in negotiations to get a new agreement signed. However, last week, a league spokesman stated that the two sides were "99 miles apart" leading to speculation from some experts that the league could lose anything from a handful of games at the beginning of the year to skipping the entire 2011-12 season if it meant saving some teams from falling out of existence. Owners, players, experts and fans can only hope that they can reach an agreement.

You can find more information on the NBA's salary cap and it's many complex exceptions here.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Top 10 NBA Players: #9, George Mikan

Rarely mentioned in many "Top 10's" of greatest players, George Mikan deserves an entry onto this list for his impact on the sport of basketball in general.

Known as "Mr. Basketball", Mikan revolutionized the sport in the late 1940s and 50s. Before he played, the best players were short guards who could shoot well. When the 6ft 11in Mikan came along his sheer size let him take over games single-handed.

When at DePaul College, George was an awkward, shy and clumsy person. Coaches of the time believed tall players did not have the strength to become great players and Mikan did not do much to change that view at first, playing in thick, round spectacles. His college coach saw potential, and worked with him to turn him into the unstoppable force that went on to win multiple championships at professional level. George developed the hook-shot, a nearly impossible to defend shot that was a result of the now commonly-used Mikan Drill. On the defensive end, Mikan would stand under the basket and jump up to swat any ball out of the hoop. This led to the invention of the "goaltending" rule that states that a ball directly above the basket cannot be touched by any player. This was not illegal in Mikan's era because it was thought to be impossible for anyone to reach that high!

George signed for the Chicago American Gears for the 1946-47 National Basketball League season. The NBL was one of the early predecessors of the modern NBA. Mikan led the team to win the World Basketball Tournament, where he scored a total of 100 points over 5 games. The team owner withdrew the Gears to compete in a new 24-team league, the Pro Basketball League of America, which collapsed after jsut one month. Due to the collapse, all the players from these PBLA teams were given to the 11 NBL teams remaining. George Mikan ended up on the Minneapolis Lakers (now the Los Angeles Lakers)

Mikan playing for the Lakers

In 1949-50, the NBA began it's first season. Mikan dominated the league, averaging 27.4 points per game. Only one other player broke the 20-point barrier (22.5) that year. The team finished the first NBA season with a 51-17 record. The Lakers blitzed the Playoffs to reach the first Finals, against the Syracuse Nationals. The Lakers won the first game on their own court, before the next four games were split 2-2. The Lakers became the first-ever NBA Champions when they won Game 6 110-95. George Mikan averaged some 31 points per Playoff game.

In the next season, Mikan continued his domination on offense, averaging 28 points a game. This season would contain the game that led to the creation of the 24-second Shot Clock. Mikan's Lakers were losing 19-18 to the Fort Wayne Pistons early in the game. The Pistons got the ball, and never lost it again. Never trying to shoot. This led to the NBA introducing the shot-clock to force teams to attack. Mikan totalled 83% of his team's points, scoring 15 of 18. He fractured his leg before the '50 Playoffs, leading to the Lakers being eliminated a round before the Finals, this would prove to be the only blip as the Lakers established the first NBA dynasty.

In 51-52, the NBA introduced another new rule to attempt to stop Mikan's dominance. They made the painted "lane" under the basket 12 feet wide rather than 6. This doubled the distance George had to work from. The tall star took it in his stride, still averaging 23 points per game (although down from the previous year). Mikan led the team to another title, earning $7,500 to be split between the whole team.

The Lakers won 2 more titles to be the first team to win three-in-a-row. Mikan became the first superstar of basketball, opening the gates for giants such as Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Shaquille O'Neal. Without him, the league would not have the 24-second clock, goal-tending rules or the lane size (Known as "The Mikan Rule") it has today. He truly changed the sport, making it popular across America. After his death,

O'Neal said "Without #99 (Mikan's number), there is no me."

Top 10 NBA Players: #10, Oscar Robertson

In at #10 on my NBA Top 10 Players countdown is "The Big O", Oscar Robertson.

6 ft 5, Robertson played as a guard for the Cincinnati Royals (now in Sacramento) and most famously led the Milwaukee Bucks their only NBA Championship. Oscar was one of the leading figures in the early NBA alongside Wilt Chamberlain. He holds the distinct honor of being the only NBA player to ever average more than 10 points, assists and rebounds for an entire season.

Robertson played at the University of Cincinnati, entering himself into the 1960 NBA Draft. The Cincinnati Royals picked him as a 'territorial' pick to generate more local fan support for the promising young star. Robertson repaid their faith, returning with season averages of 30.5 points, 10.1 rebounds and 9.7 assists per game, just 0.3 off a triple-double average for the year.

In 1961-62, Oscar made it over that small hump and into the history books when he averaged 30.8 points, 12.5 rebounds and 11.4 assists per game. An incredible feat that had many heralding him as the game's best-ever talent. The Royals never did win an NBA Championship, mostly thanks to the Boston Celtics team led by Bill Russell which simply dominated the entire decade.

Robertson during his time with the Bucks

After a decade with his hometown Royals, Oscar was unceremoniously dumped off to the Milwaukee Bucks before the 1970-71 season as head coach Bob Cousy was apparently jealous of Robertson's status in Cincinnati. This turned out to be the turning point in Roberston's NBA career. After being stuck with an under-performing team, he was paired with Lew Alcindor, who would soon change his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and score the most points in league history. The pair blew the league away, coming up with a 66-16 record in their first season together which included a 20-win streak. They continued their incredible domination into the Playoffs: they progressed to the Finals and routed the Baltimore Bullets 4-0 to capture the team's first (and only) Championship.

The Bucks returned to the Finals in 1974, where ultimately, Robertson and Kareem were beaten in an epic 7-game series with the Boston Celtics. Robertson retired after the season ended as his story was complete, while the years of Abdul-Jabbar's stardom were just beginning.

As a mark of his all-round greatness, Oscar Robertson recorded 181 triple-double games in his career. To put that alongside the totals of other all-time greats, Magic Johnson is a distant second with 138.Wilt Chamberlain had just 78 and Michael Jordan, 28 .

Thursday, 16 June 2011

2011 NBA Review

With the culmination of the 2011 NBA Finals resulting in the Dallas Mavericks capturing their first-ever championship, now seems like the time to review each team's achievements (or lack of) this past season.

Dallas Mavericks: The 2011 Champions. Dallas were flying under the radar all season long thanks to patchy form and an injury to talisman Dirk Nowitzki. Before the Playoffs started, the Mavs were written off against the #6 Trailblazers. The critics were quietened as the Blazers were dealt with in 6 games. Next up Dallas faced the 2-time defending champion LA Lakers. Again, given no chance, the Mavs silenced the doubters with a stunning 4-0 sweep of the heavily-favoured Lakers. Dallas were finally favoured over the Oklahoma City Thunder and despite losing one of their home games, came through 4-1 to set up a rematch of the 2006 Finals with the Miami Heat.
Grade: A+

Chicago Bulls: This season's surprise package. The Bulls were predicted by most (including myself) to be in a fight for the 4th and 5th seeds in the Eastern Conference with a brand-new roster, rookie coach Tom Thibodeau and young star in Derrick Rose. Fast forward to the end of the Regular Season and the Bulls finished with their best record since the Michael Jordan era (62 wins, 20 defeats ) to capture the overall #1 ranking in the league, Thibodeau had won the Coach of the Year award and equalled the best-ever record for a rookie coach. Derrick Rose became the youngest-ever NBA Most Valuable Player aged just 22 as he became only the second player to amass 2,000 points and 600 assists since Oscar Robertson in 1960-61. The Bulls' form appeared to dip in the Playoffs, likely due to every player giving 110% all season (and so having no extra gear to go into for the Playoffs). They dealt with the Pacers in 5 games, somewhat unconvincingly. The Atlanta Hawks were next and stole a march on the Bulls by winning Game 1 in Chicago before the Bulls eventually took the series 4-2. They fell flat against the Heat in the Conferenc Finals, beaten 4-1 after a total domination of the first match gave everyone hope and had the Heat searching for answers. If Udonis Haslem hadn't had a breakout game when he was introduced in the 2nd quarter of Game 2, the Bulls were on course to take a commanding 2-0 lead. In the end, beaten thanks to a lack of alternative scoring when Rose began showing the signs of a long season.
Grade: A-

Oklahoma City Thunder: Any team that includes Kevin Durant and Russel Westbrook has to be feared. Durant has led the league in scoring for 2 seasons and Westbrook is another member of the 'young and great point guard' club. They finished up as the #4 team in the West, matched up with the Denver Nuggets in Round 1, they man-handled the Nuggets to a 4-1 victory and progression to face the Playoff surprise Memphis Grizzlies, fresh off beating the #1 seeded San Antonio Spurs. This series was picked by most as their favourite of the season as OKC triumphed in 7 brutal games. They fell to the Mavericks who were by this stage playing their best basketball of the year.
Grade: B+

Miami Heat: The Heat are perhaps the single most polarizing team in sports history. In an ESPN poll taken just before the Finals began, only one US State picked Miami to win the title. That state was Florida. The Heat had just spent the summer loading up on superstars Lebron James and Chris Bosh, giving them the most talented roster in the NBA. A failure to capture the #1 ranking in the Regular Season was not looked on as a failure by a team in it's first season together, but after approaching this year and this title as a mere formality ("Not 1, not 2, not 3 titles....8 titles"), many NBA fans rejoiced at every Heat loss or crisis. Lebron did not play well in the Finals after being the standout player in the Boston and Chicago series'. Despite making the Finals and losing in 6 games, the Heat had the capability to cruise to the title but failed.
Grade: B

Memphis Grizzlies: Memphis deliberately lost their last few games of the Regular Season with the much-publicized aim of facing the San Antonio Spurs in the #1 vs #8 series. Deprived of their best player, Rudy Gay, the Grizzlies stunned the basketball world by stealing the first game in San Antonio and managed to return home 1-1. Memphis defended their homecourt with one close, hard fought win, and one utter blowout that put the Spurs on the brink of infamy. After losing out in SA, the Grizz closed out the fairytale in front of their home fans. What made this all the more surprising was that before this series their Playoff record stood at 0-12 (beaten 4-0 three times). This was their first-ever series win.
Grade: B

Atlanta Hawks: The most confusing team in the league. They dished out the biggest contract of the 2010 Free Agency bonanza to keep their star Joe Johnson around. ($120 million for 6 years). They failed however to progress from last season position-wise, but they banished a nightmare when they eliminated the Orlando Magic in 6 games. The Magic had handed out the most brutal beat-down in NBA Playoff history when they beat the Hawks in 2010 by an average of 25 points per game in an embarrassing 4-0 destruction. They found that young Point Guard Jeff Teague could be a star for the future after his standout performance in a losing effort against the Bulls in round 2. Hawks fans don't know whether to laugh or cry. They are comfortably in the Playoff picture for years but cannot seem to improve enough to move onto the next level. Joe Johnson's contract is far too overpriced and has burdened the franchise for the next half-decade and Joe Smith was getting boos every time he tried a shot from any further than 6ft from the basket...those boos were at home.
Grade B-

New York Knicks: The Knicks began assembling their own "Big 3" when they landed Amar'e Stoudemire in the Summer of 2010 and assembled the second part when Anthony arrived in February. Their problem all season long was defense and this is what killed them in the Playoffs as they were ripped up by the Celtics 4-0. Despite their signings they still have the capability of working out a trade to get Chris Paul in a Knicks uniform and this would signify yet another "Big 3" coming together. Internal strife could cost them as Donny Walsh resigned unexpectedly, leaving the Knicks with a big gap to fill in a market with little to offer as replacement.
Grade: B-/C+

Boston Celtics: The Celtics were last year's runners up, beaten by the Lakers in the Finals. Many (again, including myself) had them back in the Finals and even as champions before the season began. A lack of depth at Center cost the club dearly, especially after the Kendrick Perkins trade hurt that depth and size even more. They gambled on Shaq being able to give them one more big season, but the body legendary "Most Dominant Ever" simply wasn't up to the task of the final encore as he played just 8 minutes after February. The Celtics' core 3 of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen have a combined age of 105. This next season will either prove to be the last hurray of one of basketball's greatest triple-threats, or will be doomed as one year too many for the veterans. Nenad Krstic was brought in as Perkins' replacement and has signed with CSKA Moscow for 2 years, leaving the Celtics' with just Jermaine O'Neal as their only Center in a market devoid of talented big men.
Grade: C+

Portland Trailblazers: After being completely decimated by injury in the 09-10 season, the Trailblazers finally got a little continuity. Favoured to win the #6 vs #3 series over Dallas, they gave as good as they got in being beaten 4-2. They did produce one of the comebacks for the ages as, trailing by 23 in the second half, an injured Brandon Roy scored 18 4th-quarter points to win the game single-handedly for the Blazers. Portland will undoubtedly want to improve for next season and this can be possible given the decent number of tradeable contracts and desireable players they have on their squad.
Grade: C+

Los Angeles Lakers: The Lakers. 2-time defending champion, searching for a second three-peat in the Phil Jackson era to end the Phil Jackson era on a high. That didn't turn out so well with the Lakers swept in the 2nd round by the eventual champion Mavericks. Jackson's coaching career ended in somewhat disappointing circumstances as Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom's display of anger got them ejected near the end of the final blowout loss of the year. Winning three titles in a row today without overhauling the team places an immense strain on the body and the mind and this seemed evident with the Lakers. Their Regular Season looked good as usual, behind only the Spurs for the #1 record in the West. They eliminated an understrength New Orleans Hornets team before being blown out of the water by Dallas. Rumor has it that Dwight Howard will continue the trend of dominant big men going to LA to win a title in a trade that would likely see one of/both Andrew Bynum and/or Pau Gasol being moved, creating a potentially lethal Kobe Bryant - Dwight Howard tactical nightmare. Mike Brown however would be in charge of that ego-trip and we all know how Lebron James coached Cleveland himself back in the day.
Grade: C

New Orleans Hornets: The Hornets had David Lee sidelined through injury for most of the season and all of the Playoffs, but they still managed to pull of a scare when they took a 1-0 lead in Los Angeles in round 1 before going down in 5 games. Chris Paul demonstrated his supernatural vision and efficient scoring to lead the team to the #7 seed and were competitive in their 1st round exit. Paul is the centre of many trade speculations regarding Miami (highly unlikely), New York (possible) and New Jersey (possible).
Grade: C

Denver Nuggets: They, like the league last summer, were held hostage by a superstar. This time it was Carmelo Anthony demanding a trade to New York while the Nuggets' management held out for the best deal possible. They got it, remaining competitive and actually improving on defense once the defensively indifferent 'Melo departed for the Big Apple. A first-round exit at the hands of the #4 is not seen as a great success, but they have great potential for the future with young guard Aaron Afflalo and some decent trade assets in Nene and Junior Smith.
Grade: C

Indiana Pacers: The Pacers fought hard for the #8 seed and didn't disappoint, giving the Chicago Bulls a thorough testing in a physical series before ultimately succumbing to the stifling defense in 5 games. Tyler Hansbrough made Carlos Boozer look like a scrub routinely as he proved himself a valuable piece of Indiana's future. The Pacers led most of the games of the series, but the losses all came thanks to the Bulls' near-perfect 4th-quarter defense. Game 1 showed just how good the #1 defense was, as Chicago embarked on a 16-1 run to win the game 104-99, leading the game for only the final 48 seconds. Indiana are perhaps the best-placed Playoff team contract- and money-wise going into an off-season filled with uncertainty. They could be in position to pull off a couple of trades that could easily move them up one or two rankings.
Grade: C-

Philadelphia 76ers: The 76ers had the unfortunate task of being paired with the Heat in round 1 and never once troubled the eventual East champs, going down in 5 games. Andre Iguadala is being openly shopped around the league in what appears to be an attempt at shaking up the Sixers for the years to come.
Grade: D+

Orlando Magic: The Magic captured the #4 spot earliest of all teams in the league to capture a spot. A first-round exit to the Hawks was hardly anticipated yet unsurprising. However, comparing this year to last, when they won by an average of 25 points each game over an identical Hawks squad, this has to be seen as a failure. If you have Dwight Howard going off for 46 points and 18 rebounds and yet lose, that tells you a lot about the supporting cast Dwight has, and goes even further in explaining his desire to leave.
Grade: D

San Antonio Spurs: The Spurs lost the league's #1 record on the final night of the season as they lost and the Bulls won. From there it was all downhill for San Antonio. Losing 1-0 to the Grizzlies, they tied it up at 1-1 before losing games 3 and 4 to be pushed to the brink. They did what was required by defending home court but could not put the pressure on Memphis as they lost Game 6 to become only the second #1 seed to lose to the #8 in a seven-game series in NBA history. Center Tim Duncan is aging and nobody knows how many years he can contribute at maximum effectiveness as even though he was rested for the final few weeks of the season, he still lacked sharpness in the Playoffs. Undoubtedly hurt by Manu Ginobilli's injury, the Spurs ignominiuos defeat earns them the badge of being the worst of my 16 Playoff teams.
Grade: F


Non-Playoff teams:

Utah Jazz: The Jazz, like the Nuggets, lost the centre-piece of their lineup with the departure of Deron Williams to New Jersey. However, they did the right thing in trading him before he even had the chance to say "I definetily want traded." Missing out on the Playoffs was a blow but understandable after they lost Williams, Carlos Boozer, Kyle Korver and Ronnie Brewer in the past 12 months with little in the way of replacements coming in.
Grade: C

Los Angeles Clippers: Despite ranking lower than most of the teams below them, the Clippers finish this high thanks to their sheer entertainment value. Blake Griffin was drafted before the start of last season but didn't play a single minute due to a knee injury. But he became Rookie of the Year and won the Slam Dunk Contest in February as his high-flying style made him a Youtube sensation. DeAndre Jordan showed promise. However, somebody at the team deserves to be fired after they traded away their 1st-round pick without protection, only to see it become the #2 pick, likely to yield a player at a position they badly needed. Their owner has a toxic and unattractive attitude too.
Grade: C

Houston Rockets: This team has been handicapped by Yao Ming for a long time now as the Chinese giant played in only the first handul of games before a fracture in his foot ended his season. Yao has only played in a small percentage of Rockets' games in the past couple of seasons and his contract is a heavy burden for a team that desperately needs something to spark it back to life. If Ming can recover and play something close to his best next season, the Rockets could be on the road to redemption.
Grade: C-

Milwaukee Bucks: The Bucks had an average season punctuated by one terrible moment when they were held to just 56 points by the Celtics. That's not 56 points in a half, that's their final total. John Salmons has proven a nice piece for Milwaukee and Andrew Bogut continues to impress on a Bucks team short on depth. This teams' problems however go beyond a one-trade remedy.
Grade: D+

Charlotte Bobcats: Charlotte needed something to cheer about, and thought they were getting it when a story surfaced that owner Michael Jordan had suited up for practice aged 48. The G.O.A.T did not have a 4th coming and the Bobcats missed the Playoffs. Stephen Jackson is still an enigma, fantastic and then frustrating from week-to-week. They have some pieces that the vultures above them are circling around and they would do well not to go backwards in 2012.
Grade: D+

Phoenix Suns: The Suns regressed from last season, but still looked fairly decent at times. Their trade with Orlando was necessary to give the team a bit of a facelift, but not one for the future as "Half Man, Half Retired" Vince Carter played well in patches and veteran Point Guard Steve Nash kept up with his mesmerical passing abilities. The Suns will need another trade if they want to get back into the Playoffs
Grade: D

New Jersey Nets: The Nets may have finished well down the table, but they have been busy making arrangements for the future. Theh will be moving out of Newark to a brand spanking new arena in Brooklyn at the end of next season, have just signed Deron Williams and have the assets to make a serious bid to land Dwight Howard. There could be good times ahead for this franchise.
Grade: D

Golden State Warriors: A sort of indifferent season for GSW as they failed to get to the Playoffs. Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis are two exciting players, but this franchise is in severe need of a reboot. Ellis had been shopped about with rumor of Philly and Chicago being willing traders. They'll be hoping that "Hand down, man down." Mark Jackson can excel in his first coaching role in 2011-12.

Grade: D-

Detroit Pistons: The Pistons became a bit of a comical affair when several players launched a failed mutiny against their head coach only for him to keep his job. Another team with some nice players being sized up by more attractive teams. Detroit also need a trade to breathe new life into a team that is close to falling out of favour with it's fans.
Grade: D-
Washington Wizards: The Wizards had a history-making year. Shame it was a history of the losing variety as they became one of the worst road teams in history, losing 36 straight away games before finishing 3-38. They were the winning party in a trade with Orlando when they managed to escape from under Gilbert Arenas' league-worst contract. They got a nice surprise when they got speedster John Wall in the draft and can build for the future. Javale McGee is openly being shopped as they look for a Center to fit with Wall.
Grade: D-
Sacramento Kings: The Kings had a season to forget. Tyreke Evans really needs help. The team was in danger of relocation before the Mayor Sacramento resuced them with a promise of arena improvement and better financial backing. Clever trading required for improvement.
Grade: D-
Toronto Raptors: The Raptors lost Chris Bosh in return for thin air in July 2010, joining the Cavaliers as teams with no leader. The Raptors dealt okay with it and have promising times ahead with DeMar DeRozan as a face to build around. James Johnson arrived mid-season to add another level of scoring to the team in what turned out to be a pretty shrewd piece of business.
Grade: D-
Cleveland Cavaliers: The Cavs earned the sympathy of everyone outside southern Florida when Lebron James ripped the heart and sould from the city on internation TV in July. They became the league whipping boys as they set an all-time American sports record in futility as they lost 26 games in a row. This team is essentially made up of role players and Baron Davies who seems to have found some motivation now he is out of the spotlight in LA. Winning the rights to the #1 pick in the upcoming draft will allow them to get a shot at drafting a new franchise leader, probably in the form of Kyrie Irving. They had two notable resutls: Being beaten by 50 points by the Lakers (107-57) was a new low, but every non-Heat supporting household in America cheered when they pulled of the upset of the year to beat Lebron James and the Miami Heat. They dealt well with the ridicule of "The Streak" and ending it ends this terrible chapter in their history.
Grade: F
Minnesotta Timberwolves: The T-Wolves finish last because not only did they finish last in the league, but somehow finished with 2 wins less than Cleveland despite the Cavs' 26 game run with 0 wins. Kevin Love is far too talented to be on this team (31 points, 31 rebounds anybody) especially after he proved his consistency with those 59-straight 10pt 10reb performances. If they lose Love for little repayment, this franchise is in deep trouble.
Grade: F