Through the first week of March, the Cleveland Cavaliers have one of the NBA’s toughest remaining schedules ahead. With the remaining schedule, the Cleveland Cavaliers could be in for a rough upcoming month or could prove they belong.
The Remaining Schedule
Cleveland had one of the easiest schedules to begin the season, but that is about to change. The Power Rankings Guru rates strength of schedule by averaging opposing teams’ rank. Each team rank is determined by their overall record. For example, the Utah Jazz have the best record in the NBA right now, so they would be ranked the best team. The first half of the Cavs’ schedule ranked 28th in the NBA, as their opponents averaged a ranking of about 17th in the NBA.
The next month for the Cavs does not look nearly as promising. The toughest remaining schedule through the first week of March belongs to the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavs’ upcoming foes average a ranking of about 11th in the NBA. For comparison, the Detroit Pistons had the toughest schedule to begin the season and their average opponent ranking was about 12th.
There are only two teams left on the Cavs schedule with a losing record. The Oklahoma City Thunder at 8-11 and the Atlanta Hawks at 10-11. Nearly every team left on the schedule are possible playoff teams. Some upcoming opponents for the Cavs includes the Milwuakee Bucks, Los Angeles Clippers, Phoenix Suns and Denver Nuggets. On the bright side, the yet to be released second half of the NBA schedule could be a lot more kind to the Cavs.
Cleveland Cavaliers Proving Their Value
During this tough stretch, a lot of questions will be answered. The biggest unknown right now is if the Cavaliers are as good as some think. They have been one of the surprising teams in the NBA. However, they had one of the weaker schedules to begin the season, so their success could have been due to this. If the Cavs can have a decent record during this upcoming stretch, they will prove they belong in the playoff picture.
JB Bickerstaff, Cleveland Cavaliers head coach, also has the opportunity to prove his value during this stretch. Bickerstaff has appeared to be a good hire for the Cavs so far, but he is only about a year into his coaching tenure. Since last season, the Cavs improved their defensive efficiency from last in the NBA to 10th in the NBA. While there’s evidence Bickerstaff has done a good job, he is not receiving league-wide notoriety yet. If Bickerstaff can lead the Cavs to success through this stretch, he may receive some recognition for a job well-done.
How the Schedule Ahead Impacts the Cavs
The Cavaliers’ remaining schedule will have a huge impact on their season. Cleveland is preparing for a month full of playoff tier opponents, and if they can win even half the games this may put them in firm playoff position. In contrast, if the Cavs lose the majority of their upcoming games, their playoff chances could seem like a long shot. Being out of the playoff picture could equal another high draft pick for the Cavs. By the first week of March, it will be evident if the Cavs are a serious contender for a playoff spot or if they are looking at another lottery pick in the upcoming NBA Draft.
All stats courtesy of Power Rankings Guru and Team Rankings.
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