Cavaliers Moving Past Being Defined By LeBron's Departure
The world didn’t end for the Cleveland Cavaliers after all.
Many people thought it would after LeBron James, the best player of his generation, signed with the Miami Heat in 2010. The narrative in Cleveland, at least much of it, revolved around what wouldn’t happen now that the franchise’s best player left for greener pastures. Things, however, seem to be turning around fairly quickly.
For the second time in three years, the Cavaliers won the NBA Draft Lottery. It can and will be said that celebrating the reward of bad seasons isn’t a good thing. Celebrating the possibilities of a bright future is, however, cause for a few cheers. Their future is no longer defined by James’ decision. They’re in complete control of where they go and how fast they get there. The top pick is a part of the process, but not the only asset they possess.
Kyrie Irving, one of the NBA's most talented young stars, leads a talented group that many believe will be enough to start a dialogue that could eventually lead to the team reacquiring James. At this point a return of James is purely speculation and wishful thinking. Irving, Dion Waiters and Tristan Thompson, however, are real and their talent is enough to lead the franchise back to the playoffs. Their picks in the upcoming draft (they also own No. 19) can only help with the task.
“We were hoping, regardless of what pick we got, that this would be our last lottery,” Dan Gilbert said. “We thought originally after everything had to be reset that it would be a three-year process. You never know. It could be two or it could be four, but we thought three years. With the number one pick this year, and we also have number 19, we think this will be the last lottery for a while here.”
The luck of the lottery, combined with the team’s young talent has made the ending with James easier to move on from. These days, the disappointment of that situation is a memory more than a motivating factor for Cleveland.
“To us, that is so long ago,” Gilbert said. “It’s only three years, but in NBA years, which are like dog years, it seems like it was 15 or 20 years ago. We’ve just been so focused on building a team over the past few years. We can’t look back. There’s nothing we can do, and we’re just happy about today.”