ESPN loves ranking things. No, I mean they REALLY love ranking things. They'll rank just about anything because people seem to really like reading rankings, I guess. In their latest set of rankings, some of the NBA writers at ESPN.com did their "Future Power Rankings." The idea is to rank each NBA team based on their outlook going forward. Since the Cleveland Cavaliers are a team that many people believe have a bright future, let's see where they end up on this list.
The Cavaliers ranked 9th in the Future Power Rankings, just behind the Los Angeles Clippers and just ahead of the Memphis Grizzlies. How did they come up with this ranking? The rankers considered five categories: players, management, draft, money, and market. The players category was worth 50% of the total score while management and money were both worth 16.7%. The draft and market categories were worth 8.3% each. Unsurprisingly, the Cavaliers ranked highest in the draft and money categories due to their collection of future draft picks and relatively unused future salary space.
Here's what ESPN's Chad Ford wrote about the Cavaliers:
Interestingly, nothing else has really changed for the Cavs despite the additions of No. 1 pick Anthony Bennett and Russian rookie Sergey Karasev and the signing of Andrew Bynum this summer. That lack of movement on the Players category reflects our general indifference toward the entire 2013 draft class and a healthy dose of skepticism centering on Bynum's ability to stay on the court.
If Bennett proves worthy of a No. 1 pick, if Karasev shows that his terrific play in Russia can translate to the NBA and, most importantly, if Bynum returns to form -- the Cavs' young core got significantly stronger this summer and the team should be in position to compete for one of the last playoff spots in the East.
I think this is probably a pretty fair ranking, although I'd be tempted to place the Cavs slightly higher on this list. I suppose it's tough for them to jump the Spurs until they prove to actually be subject to the standard rules of aging. I'd also consider having the Cavs ahead of a team like the Chicago Bulls due to the fact that they have relatively little flexibility due to their high paid stars and unwillingness to enter the luxury tax. At the same time, however, I understand that you're making some big assumptions when you place the Cavs that high on the list. You're assuming that many young players reach their full potential and it makes sense that the rankers would favor teams that have already proved they have exceptionally talented rosters.
Here's how the Cavaliers ranked in each of the individual categories mentioned above:
Players -- 13th
Management -- 12th
Market -- 21st
Draft -- 5th
Money -- 4th
How do you feel about the Cavaliers' ranking 9th in ESPN's Future Power Rankings? If you have ESPN Insider, you can check out the rest of the rankings here.