CLEVELAND — As the Cavaliers flip to the 2019 portion of their schedule, they sit at the very bottom of the NBA standings with an 8-30 record.
However, with no talent on the roster, a weird mix of uninterested veterans and young players with huge learning curves, and only a half-game lead over the Phoenix Suns for last place, Larry Drew knows they can be doing better at doing badly.
“There were some tough losses we’ve let slip away,” head coach Larry Drew said, mentioning Larry Nance Jr.’s buzzer-beater against Indiana as a game that would’ve had him tearing his hair out if he had any. “Now that we’re coming down the stretch, it’s time to really start playing our worst ball.”
Under the NBA’s new lottery rules to prevent tanking, each of the bottom three teams in the NBA share a 14 percent chance of getting the No. 1 pick. How that is supposed to prevent tanking is beyond Drew, who pointed out that now everyone will just be trying to lose enough games to finish in the bottom three, essentially making it easier to tank and giving more teams hope of being bad enough to get top odds.
“We’re going to be seeing a lot of competition from Phoenix, New York, Chicago, Atlanta, and maybe some surprise non-contenders,” he said. “Don’t get me wrong, I’m very happy with how poorly we’ve played, but the NBA is not a league to be satisfied with the draft pick you have. You have to really earn the top pick through poor, uninspired play, and it’s my job to get my guys unmotivated enough.”
A source in the front office told Cleveland Mocks that many members of the organization are concerned that Cavs owner Dan Gilbert is not serious about the tanking process, as he wouldn’t have fired Tyronn Lue early in the season if he truly wanted to lose as many games as he could.