The SBNation NBA network has decided to all post on their teams' biggest rivals today. Earlier, I posted a poll asking you guys what team you considered to be the Cavaliers' biggest rivals. The only reason I asked you or cared about your opinion whatsoever (I kid, I kid) is because, well, the Cavs just don't really have a rival right now. The fanbase has a team that they hate in Miami; sure, but that's not a rival. In order for it to be a rivalry, they'd have to actually care about beating us and we'd have to win more than one relatively meaningless game.
In the previous era of Cavaliers basketball, there were some decent rivalries. That is to say, Cleveland met up with a couple of these teams on numerous occasions in the playoffs. Gilbert Arenas' Wizards and Chauncey Billups' Pistons played LeBron James and the Cavs several years in a row. But to claim that those teams are Cleveland's rivals now just doesn't make a whole lot of sense. The cores of those teams are long gone and whatever bad blood the franchises had for one another was relatively short-lived.
One could argue that the Cavaliers' biggest rival throughout history has been the Chicago Bulls. But that's been dormant for sometime now.
In the poll, you guys voted the Pistons as the Cavs' biggest rival -- while the Wizards got the second most votes. A bunch of you voted to write-in your answer, BUT HARDLY ANYBODY ACTUALLY COMMENTED TO GIVE ME YOUR WRITE-IN VOTE. Therefore, your vote doesn't count. When you vote "other" in a poll and then don't indicate what that "other" choice actually was, you get nothing -- you lose.
But, I digress.
In response to your answers to the poll, I'd mostly agree. I think the Pistons and Wizards have been the Cavaliers' most recent rivals. But perhaps more importantly, both teams present the potential to rekindle such a rivalry in the future.
It's no secret that the Cavs are undergoing a rebuilding period and have tried to distance themselves from previous eras as much as possible. The new uniform designs, along with the departures of Mo Williams, Anthony Parker, and Antawn Jamison, leave little left of the old playoff teams. Heck, we don't even have Ryan Hollins and his shit-eating grin on the roster anymore. Yaknow, the guy that Charlie Villanueva wanted to murder?
Looking forward, the Wizards and Pistons remain the Cavaliers' most likely rivals. Each team is going through a similar rebuilding period. In a couple of years, Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters vs. John Wall and Bradley Beal ought to be a pretty interesting matchup. If all goes according to plan, playoff battles should resume soon. The Pistons have a young stud in Greg Monroe and are hoping that Brandon Knight and Andre Drummond form a solid core with him. Ultimately, I'll take the cop-out answer and admit that the Cavs don't currently have a rival. But with the current direction of the Cavs, Wizards, and Pistons, those unpleasant feelings that they once had towards one another could creep back into the picture. As basketball fans, let's hope that one of these rivalries develops in the near future. Because I'm pretty fucking tired of watching Celtics vs. Lakers.