Are the Cleveland Cavaliers the worst basketball team ever?

Without LeBron James, they have lost 25 games in a row, setting a new record for NBA futility. How historic is their badness?

Ramon Sessions of the Cleveland Cavaliers can't bare to watch his team lose last month against the Miami Heat and former team player LeBron James.
(Image credit: Getty)

Last year, the Cleveland Cavaliers finished the NBA regular season with 61 wins and 21 losses, the best record in the league. But then LeBron James made his fateful decision to skip town, exposing the team's lack of other talent more brutally than anyone expected. On Monday night, the Cavaliers lost their 25th game in a row, breaking a record the Cavaliers themselves set in the early 1980s. (In major professional sports, only football's Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who once lost 26 consecutive games, have endured a longer losing streak.) Are this season's Cavaliers, currently at 8-44 for the season, the worst NBA team of all time? (Watch an AP report about the Cavaliers' losing streak)

Yes, they're historically bad: As bad as you think the Cavaliers are, says Sam Gardner at Fox Sports, "I can guarantee you that they are worse." At this point in their "embarrassing" season, the biggest challenge for their opposing teams is "maintaining enough focus to close out the game after [they] build a huge lead."

"Magic pile on to Cavs' embarrassing streak"

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No, the Cavs have been worse before: "Real Cavs fans know these aren't the Dark Ages of pro basketball in Cleveland," says Dave Hackenberg in The Toledo Blade. Those would be the early '80s, when the Cavaliers "produced a four-year stretch with 54, 67, 59, and 54 losses," then squandered a series of high draft picks. The long-suffering city has seen worse, and besides, "these Cavs are improving, they're fighting, they're competing and soon they may get out of their own way" and win a few games.

"Cheer up, Cavs, losing streaks have been worse"

It's too soon to judge: Yes, the Cavs "could be the worst team ever," says Sam Amico at CBS Sports. But that question "should be debated at a later date, maybe 10 years down the road." At the moment, all that matters is "the here and now." And actually, "while it seems downright embarrassing," the Cavs could not have been expected to perform much better this season, given the departures of key role players like Shaquille O'Neal, Delonte West, and Zydrunas Ilgauskas.

"Cavs losing streak is not end of world for organization"

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