For Cavs, winning isn't losing
It’s time to stop wondering if the Cavaliers will finish with the league’s worst record. Because if their 104-96 win at Toronto on Wednesday is an indication, the Cavs themselves don’t care.
For the first time since November, the Cavs won back-to-back games. And the latest stretch came in convincing fashion.
J.J. Hickson scored 28 points, and Baron Davis had 19 with 12 assists, and the Cavs were never really threatened against a Raptors team that also has one eye on the draft lottery.
But fear not, Cavs fans. Finishing with the worst record, or second worst or third worst, doesn’t really matter. It is, after all, a lottery.
You need luck, regardless of how many ping-pong balls you have in the hopper.
BLOG: The NBA Draft Lottery standings
Not often does the team with the worst record end up with the No. 1 overall draft pick. In fact, it’s happened just three times since 1990.
In that regard, it’s almost better not to have the worst record. It’s almost better to play hard and let the chips fall where they may.
What matters most to the Cavs right now is the fact Davis looks like a top-10 NBA point guard, that he is showing his young teammates how to play with passion and get results.
“He's a natural born leader,” Cavs coach Byron Scott said of Davis. “He's going to get on guys, get guys where they need to be. He called a couple of huddles just to get guys straight on what we were doing on both ends of the floor and that's invaluable. Those guys respect him big time.”
Do the Cavs (17-61) still need help? Most definitely.
Are they as desperate for it as they were earlier this season? Nope.
Will they still receive help in the form of two lottery picks (and maybe a few other moves) this summer? You betcha.
In other words, winning and losing at this point are irrelevant. The Cavs have assets in the off-season, and they will use them. That is reason enough for the organization and its fans to feel excited.
Almost as much as that reason, again, is how this team has taken shape with the addition of just one player (Davis). So think of what can happen when the Cavs add a couple more pieces. And not just the lottery picks. We’re talking about veterans such as Anderson Varejao and Antawn Jamison, or even rookie Samardo Samuels.
Consider how much Davis has done for center Ryan Hollins (30 points combined in the previous two games), then think of how much Davis could do with guys like Varejao and Jamison.
“It’s been big,” Hollins said. “Since the trade, Baron has revitalized our team and we’re learning each other all over again.”
Best of all, Davis said following the Toronto game that he too expects he can help the Cavs even more next year.
As for today, Davis and the Cavs have won for four of their past eight. That includes a win over hated Miami, and now, two wins in two nights.
“I am just learning -- learning this offense, learning this team,” he said. “I think my best is yet to come."
So whether the Cavs finish with the worst record or not really isn’t an issue. You play hard, you try to win, you don‘t worry about anything else.
Losing on purpose guarantees nothing, and the Cavs clearly aren’t about to try, anyway.
There are, after all, worse things than winning. And the Cavs grew tired of experiencing those things, ping-pong balls be darned.
It’s the best way to view the final four games and a healthy way for the Cavs to enter the off-season.