The Cleveland Cavaliers are in the midst of the worst losing streak in the history of the NBA. Pundits all across the national media are deeming the Cavs to statistically be one of, if not, the worst teams to ever set foot on a basketball court. However, research shows that there are three teams that may have been as bad, or worse, than this year’s Cavaliers.
The previous holder for the league’s longest losing streak belonged to, guess who, the Cleveland Cavaliers. This streak spanned two seasons (1981-82, 1982-83) and lasted 24 games.
Before those Cavs, the 1995-96 Vancouver Grizzlies and 1997-98 Denver Nuggets held the honor with 23 consecutive losses.
What puts these teams on the level of the 2010-2011 Cavaliers? Quite practically, everything. For one, every one of these teams is offensively challenged. This year’s Cavs squad is third to last in points per game (94.2) whereas the 1981-83 Cavs were 21st out of 23 (103.2) in 1982 and dead last (97.1) in 1983. The Grizzlies also finished last in points per game (89.8) in 1997 whereas the Nuggets in 1998 were second to last (89.0).
Defensively, none of these teams put up a fight either. The Grizzlies had the “best” defense out of this group, finishing 15th in the league, giving up 99.8 ppg. The other three teams all finished in the bottom five of the league in points allowed. The Cavaliers currently are 26th in the league, giving up 105.5 ppg.
One thing the current Cavs had that these other teams did not was a solid start to the season. They started 7-9 and were competitive in just about every game during that stretch. However, that solid start became a thing of the past when the Cavs went on losing streaks of 10 and 25(still going). They were one overtime victory against the Knicks away from currently riding a ridiculous 36-game losing streak.
The 82-83 Cavaliers actually started their season off 0-5 after losing the last 19 games in the 81-82 season, which was the record holder for consecutive losses at the time.
The Grizzlies won their first two games then lost the next 19 games in a row. One month later they then lost 23 games in a row, one of the only teams to ever have at least two losing streaks of 19 in the same season.
One of the only teams to challenge the Grizzlies’ streaks of futility was the aforementioned ’98 Nuggets. In fact, they may have topped it. They went on three losing streaks in the same season that included lengths of 12, 23, and 16. They had only one winning streak the whole season, which lasted all of two games.
One factor that separates the current Cavs team from these teams of the past is injury. The Cavs lost three of their best players (Anderson Varejao, Mo Williams, Daniel Gibson) for an extended period of time and forced young players such as Manny Harris and Christian Eyenga to play significant minutes. Having those three players back probably would not propel the Cavs to the playoffs. However, it would have given the team enough depth and talent to make this losing streak a thing of the past.
In conclusion, it is hard to say the Cavs are the worst team ever. While they do hold up in comparison to some of the league’s worst teams in history, all hope is not lost. This team is looking to the future, allowing young players to get the chance to play while looking to deal veterans for young talent. Also do not forget about the trade exception and draft picks Cleveland obtained from their trade with the Heat.
If somebody is looking for anything positive out of this situation, look at it this way: the only way for this team to go is up.