There are less than a handful of games left for the Cleveland Cavaliers on their season and I never thought it would be this exhausting covering them.
Cleveland, who is 21-43 as of writing this, is exactly what I thought they would be this season. They’re a bad team that’s trying their damndest to stay competitive in every contest, but it’ll always result in more losses than wins. Flirting with being a fringe play-in team was neat. And the spice that came from acquiring Jarrett Allen in the James Harden trade was great.
On the court, it’s been honestly a lot of fun too. Seeing the individual growth of Collin Sexton and Darius Garland is super encouraging. Isaac Okoro is a rare talent defensively and if he tightens his handle and improves his shot, watch out. Sure, there are still plenty of questions about the long-term viability of everything and you can cherry-pick stats and advanced metrics to make arguments for and against. But, right now in this moment, it’s been fun to watch unfold in real-time.
What hasn’t been fun is the extracurriculars surrounding this team and is also what is so draining covering it all. No team that has a combined record of 59-153 since LeBron James left town for a second time should be making headlines so often for what happens off the court. Doubly so when you share an opinion or take that doesn’t fall in line with the status quo hivemind deems that resonates. Triply more when people don’t bother to really learn what you’re trying to say and go off of what everyone else thinks.
I don’t know. I have a therapist and he’s great. But this has been weighing on me lately. But maybe this is therapy for me. Maybe I need to share what’s on my mind so people can understand why I’m so burnt out talking about the Cavs at times.
First off, I don’t hate Collin Sexton nor does anyone that I know of who covers the Cavs on a regular basis. In fact, if you asked anyone who covered the team I’m more than certain they’d say they’re a fan of Sexton and his game. It’s just that some, myself and others included, do notice the holes and limitations in Sexton’s overall game and longevity. Has he concerned a lot of those since he came out of Alabama? Yes. Does he still have a ways to go? Of course. What Joe Vardon mentioned offhand about Sexton in his latest piece focusing on Kevin Love from the other day is somewhat true. It’s part of those limitations I just mentioned that Sexton is working through. If anyone seriously watches the Cavs without wine and gold colored glasses on will tell you the same thing.
But, is it fair for Sexton’s teammate and opponents to vent to Vardon about what frustrates them on the court? Not really. Those are things that should be kept in-house and hashed out, at least from a Cavs perspective. In fact, Sexton has been given a raw deal to some extent from the moment the Cavs selected him eighth overall in the 2018 NBA Draft. Whether it was from his teammates or the media, people have been unfair toSexton for a long time now for the silliest reasons. Thankfully, Sexton drowns out the noise and lets his game speak for itself
But, for whatever reason, it needs to be a talking point right now between those in Sexton’s corner and those who aren’t. And it’s so incredibly weird. It’s weird that people feel personally offended on Sexton’s behalf whenever someone brings up questions in his game. It’s also weird that people feel the need to lambast Sexton because he’s all that remains from the Kyrie Irving trade.
I was too one of those people.
But I also grew up and moved on because life is far too short to spend so much time getting angry over a basketball team and its players year three of a rebuild.
There’s no need to create this massive divide between Sexton or Kevin Love or Larry Nance Jr. or Darius Garland or anyone. For all we know, this team could be totally different this time next year because sometimes that’s the nature of rebuilds. Nothing is certain. Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV and watch the Cavs likely lose several of their upcoming games. But, that’s okay! Have fun watching the young players grow and try and live in the moment.
But, maybe that’s fandom, though. Maybe that fine line between being a fan and being a professional covering this team has started to become more and more blurred for me. I always tell everyone I’m incredibly blessed to be in the position I am in and cover my favorite team in the world in so many ways. Maybe it’s just the what feels like constant negativity surrounding how people react to my opinions is dragging me down and I just feel jaded by it all now.
I think that’s what I’m trying to get at. It feels like an exercise in futility when you try to mention one thing and have everyone else pretend there’s no war in Ba Sing Se while they shout you down. I just want to have fun with my online friends and share bad jokes and how I feel about things without making things personal. That’s the thing. I never try to take it there or make it a personal attack on someone. I usually tell people we should agree to disagree and move on.
It’s unhealthy how much I’ve been thinking about this lately. It’s also probably even unhealthier writing this and opening myself up even more to the court of public opinion. But, I also don’t care. I’m going to keep covering the team and sharing my opinions on them. And I’m sure you’ll either agree or disagree with me. If you want to talk about it I’m always happy to listen. But I just think I need a little break once the season’s wrapped up. Well, I’m kind of being forced to by Chris Manning (the best co-host and friend I’ve made through this pandemic) for a week once the season ends and it’s honestly for the best.
Don’t worry, though. My love for this team hasn’t died out. Neither has my desire or drive to cover it and the NBA as a whole through all the platforms I have available to me. I just think the general negativity and nastiness between certain individuals and myself has taken its mental toll. If you’re dealing with the same burnout like me I suggest you do the same.
Go play a new video game. Go workout and train for an event in the fall. Make new dishes or your favorite comfort food. That’s what I am doing and plan on continuing to do. Whatever it takes (Get it? Because Cavs?) to make you happy go out and do it.
I’ll be back and I’m excited to see what the future holds.
Until then, go Cavs.