A Letter to the 2014–2015 Cavaliers
What Could Have Been
Wow what a season. In my 23 years of Cleveland sports-fan-hood, I can’t recall a season filled with more ups and downs. Coming off a 33 win season entering what would arguably be the biggest offseason in Cavaliers history, who would’ve thought it would go so perfectly? Landing #1 pick, LeBron, and then Love? Midseason acquisitions of JR, Shump, and Mozgov, who seemed to fit like a glove? No experienced Cleveland fan could’ve pictured it going that well. But wait, it’s Cleveland, so naturally we lose Varejao and eventually Love and Kyrie as well. That’s more like it. But we all know the circumstances. That’s not what this is being written for. Not 24 hours after the Game 6 loss, we’re obviously still grieving and mourning the season that could’ve been. With how close the series was for a while, I think most would predict a MUCH different result had the Cavs been healthy, but it’s something we can only dream about. Everyone is angry and upset and saying things they don’t mean on twitter, but when that cools down I think we can all look back and appreciate how incredible this run was. Cleveland is a city used to seasons filled with adversity and this was no different.
Be proud of the run. LeBron put up unbelievable numbers that have never been seen in an NBA finals series. Delly played out of his mind in certain spots. Moz had career games. Tristan showed he’s the best offensive rebounder in the league. All of our role players did the best they could going from their specialty roles all season to trying to fit in to major pieces, something most of them have never done in their careers. Blatt had one of the toughest jobs on the planet. As if coaching a team with LeBron doesn’t come with enough scrutiny, he had to draw up a game plan to compete in the NBA playoffs eventually without 2 of his top 3 players.
David Griffin. You put together a winner for us. We can only hope you keep your foot on the gas and your hand in Dan Gilbert’s checkbook and continue to add valuable pieces to this winning core of players in Cleveland.
LeBron. You proved once again that you are the greatest player on the planet. Had a good chance at becoming the 2nd player ever to win a Finals MVP from a losing team (says Chris Broussard’s poll of NBA execs and coaches) and it would have been well deserved. You said it before the season, you didn’t expect it to happen in year 1. You said there will be a lot of work and growth required, and you were right. You continued to play the game and finish the series giving 110% and showing all the class in the world at the end of game 6. You put our city on your back and made us contenders again. I know it’s such a Cleveland cliche to say this, but next year will be different. Until then, your mural will continue to hang in downtown Cleveland, and we’ll continue to have your back like you’ve had ours.
Fans. We often take LeBron for granted and always expect nothing but greatness from our team when he’s wearing a Cavs uni (as we should), so sometimes we overlook what’s actually being done. Just think about really how incredible this team’s progress was. When you think about this season, think about the strides that were made from the time we were under .500 40 games in, to the sweep of the Hawks in the Eastern Conference Finals. Now think about the strides that are coming when this team suits up healthy at the beginning of next season and beyond. Yeah, I hope you’re as excited as I am.
Cavs. The hard work and grit didn’t go unnoticed. I know you, too, are mourning, but I hope that just like us fans you can rebound and focus on the positives. If you haven’t already noticed, despite the championship drought, Cleveland is home to the best sports fans on earth. You’ve got a chance to etch your names in Cleveland sports history books as the ones who bring us the first winner of our lifetimes. Stay in Cleveland, suit up next year, and bring home the title for all of us.
I hope after all the mourning we can go from focusing on the season that could’ve been, to the season that will be.
The Cavs open as Vegas’s favorite to win it all next year at (5–2).