The Cavaliers ended the season with a record of 21-45, tying them for the third worst record in the entire league. Considering that only two teams had a worse winning percentage, it's hard to say that the Cavaliers were better than expected. Regardless, they basically did -- at least according to most of the FTS writers.
The Cavs finished the 2010-11 season with the second worst record in the league, winning just 19 of their 82 games. Cleveland managed to top that win total despite playing 16 fewer games. Their winning percentage improved from .232 to .318 in one year's time. Obviously much of that has to do with the addition of two top-4 draft picks. Let's look back on some notable preseason predictions and see how the Cavaliers' 21-45 record compares to what people projected.
Fear The Sword writers:
Overall, we were pretty close actually. I'll admit that I was more pessimistic that I should have been. Apart from John, we all came up short on the amount of wins. I can't speak for the other guys right now, but I figure that is mostly due to the fact that Kyrie Irving blew my expectations out of the water. I never expected him to post a PER over 20. He was sensational and if he had not been hurt, my prediction would have looked even worse. Seeing as we didn't account for possible injuries, I'd say that I was even farther off than five games. If Anderson Varejao hadn't missed the majority of the season, this team probably wins closer to 26 games. I was wrong in the preseason and I'll be wrong again. Let's see how other NBA writers and analysts did.
Scott Sargent from WFNY almost nailed it, by predicting that the Cavs would finished 22-44. Unfortunately, his prediction was ruined by the fact that he also predicting Omri Casspi would lead the team in scoring. That was just so wrong. So so wrong. It's okay -- it happens to the best of us, Scott.
John Hollinger from ESPN came close, but also underestimated the Cavs. Hollinger predicted a record of 18-48 for Cleveland before the season began.
Before the season, Vegas had the over/under at 16.5 wins. The Cavs surpassed that as well.
All in all, you can't really blame the Cavaliers for underachieving. In reality, they exceeded the expectations of a lot of people, regardless of how bad the season may have felt. If you throw a healthy Kyrie and Andy into the mix, this team is way better than people expected. It's just another reason why I'm so optimistic about this team's future.