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A Closer Look at the NBA's Bottom Feeders Pt. 2

And now we head to the East, where top rookies, injury-riddled teams, and losing records lay
by Mikey Agulto | Apr 20, 2011
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Cleveland Cavaliers
Current Record:  19-63
Why You’ve Heard of Them: Record-breaking 26-game losing streak

Cleveland was pegged to win it all last season. Then they got beaten by Boston in the second round of the playoffs. Losing just one player wasn’t supposed to make them this bad, but the fact is, he’s not “just” one player.

He was the face of the franchise for the past six years, that one player they depended so much on to carry them on his shoulders. Owner Dan Gilbert didn’t hide his frustration and anger after the self-proclaimed “King” decided to “take his talents to South Beach.”

And though it seemed like they had enough fire in them to carry them to a respectable record, they lose to the visiting Miami Heat, and started a string of 26 games without a win.

The team anchored on LeBron’s supporting cast of veterans wasn’t enough to back up all the smack Gilbert talked about moving on without King James. Anderson Varejao and Antawn Jamison succumbing to injuries didn’t help their cause either.

However, it did open the window of opportunity for guys like Samardo Samuels and Christian Eyenga to showcase their stuff. The late season trade that sent Mo Williams to the Clippers in exchange for Baron Davis gave them a legit star (if his heart’s in it) to build a team around.

This team is loaded with all the heart they need. With Coach Byron Scott at the helm, this team should be alright.

Toronto Raptors
Current Record:  22-60
Why You’ve Heard of Them: Chris Bosh bolted for Miami

Since Vince Carter left, the Raptors haven’t had much success in the postseason. Sure, they found an all-star in Chris Bosh, but they never really were seriously considered for a title bid.

They’re a second-round team at best. Then Bosh decides to bolt to Miami in the hope of winning a championship or two with Team USA teammate Dwayne Wade (“The Decision” came some time after, making him the third guy instead of number 2).

While General Manager Bryan Colangelo has been known to do a good job in finding international talents, he still hasn’t been able to assemble a serious title contender in Toronto.

They got a good year from former top pick Andrea Bargniani, a breakout season in terms of scoring from sophomore DeMar Derozan, a solid year from Jose Calderon, and signs of brilliance from their top rookie pick, Ed Davis.

But, as with other teams at the bottom of the standings, they had to deal with injuries to rotation players; most notably Bargniani, Calderon, and rebounding machine Reggie Evans, with Bargniani’s loss the most significant of all.

For now, Bargniani is “the man” in Toronto, but he’s not yet a legit superstar who can carry a team on his back. Right now, they’re still a collective bunch of role players ready and able to compete, but a middle of the pack team at best.

Next: Better luck next year, rookie

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WORDS BY VOLTAIRE LOZADA
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