Heading into this season, it seemed like a virtual certainty that LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers would return to the NBA Finals for the fourth-straight season.
Although the team lost Kyrie Irving in a wild preseason blockbuster trade, they acquired star point guard Isaiah Thomas and added veterans Dwyane Wade and Derrick Rose to last year’s star-studded roster.
However, things haven’t quite gone to plan so far.
Key injuries to several of the team’s players occurred. Questions of whether or not age has finally caught up to certain players have arisen. The team has not fully clicked on either end of the floor.
Cleveland is just 26-17 on the year, losing eight of their last 10 contests and each of their last four. They’re below .500 at 11-12 on the road and are 3.5 games behind the 29-13 Toronto Raptors and 7.0 games behind the Celtics in the Eastern Conference standings.
Perhaps most shockingly, they’re just 3.5 games ahead of the Detroit Pistons, who sit in eighth place in the East. Therefore, they’re not living up to expectations and are in the middle of one of the worst stretches of LeBron’s Hall of Fame career despite having one of the best rosters (on paper) in the entire league.
On Wednesday, James admitted that this season has been harder than his previous 14.
"It's been very challenging," James said after practice Wednesday, per ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. "Just from the simple fact of how many guys have been in and out. This is a difficult year for our team. Seems like I say that every year, but this one has been even more challenging."
The King continued, ”With everybody who has been out and coming back in, and the rotations, and things of that nature, it's been very challenging on our team. But we have to figure it out. At the end of the day, we have a game every other day or every two days just like everybody else in the NBA. We have to go out and play.”
"I don't like to use the word 'worse' too much," James replied when asked if this was the worst season of his career. "It's another challenging year.”
Despite the below-standard start, James believes that his team can turn things around and contend at the end of the year when it matters most.
"That's our goal and that's what we got to work towards," James explained. "That's what we're here for.”
Cleveland plays host to the Orlando Magic on Thursday. Since Orlando owns the NBA’s worst record at just 13-31, the Cavs will have a nice opportunity to break their losing streak and get going in the right direction.News Now - Sport News