Before the season started, the Cleveland Cavaliers were a “sexy” playoff pick. What does that even mean, you ask, particularly within the context of Cleveland, which even proud residents will admit is not an aesthetically pleasing metropolis? Nobody knows. Now it’s February, and the Cavs are a mess, and a big part of that mess is that big man Andrew Bynum turned out to be a pain in the ass that was better off traded for nothing than kept on the roster.
The Pacers have signed Bynum for the rest of the year, perhaps just to keep him away from the Heat. Based on what we’ve seen of Bynum this year, he could make a solid basketball contribution off the bench; he could also be a toxic presence that destroys team chemistry. For now, we have to consider this a step backwards for the Pacers’ hopes at a championship.
February is all about staying focused. It’s easy to forget that every game is worth the same amount of wins or losses (one won game = one win), regardless of the time of year. You can’t take nights off, and you’ll wish you hadn’t when home-court advantage comes down to a few winning percentage points at the end of the season.
Note: We’re making a slight change to Our NBA Power Rankings. They’ll be based on what I’ll call “odds.” Not any official odds, as Matt Rudnitsky likes to use, but my odds for whether this team will win the title this year. All wins, losses, moves and news will be weighed against that possibility — not just if you fall to the Jazz on an unfortunate off day.
With that in mind: