When LeBron James announced he was taking his talents to South Beach, the Cleveland Cavaliers went from title contender to a Midwest version of the Los Angeles Clippers.
On Tuesday, when the Cavaliers won the lottery (via the pick that they acquired from the Clippers -- another laughable moment for the Clippers), it appeared that Cleveland had rebounded from losing the greatest athlete to have ever played for their city.
Too bad it doesn't make up for James, and not by a long shot.
The main reason that the Cavs can't regard having the top pick and the fourth pick as a new beginning is because the draft is not that strong this year.
John Wall was last year's first pick, and he's better than anyone in this draft class. Yet the Wizards actually lost more games this season than they did last season.
Most experts expect Kyrie Irving to be the Cavaliers' top choice, but he's not on the level of Wall, and certainly not on the level of Blake Griffin, who was the Rookie of the Year, and who helped the Clippers win a whopping 29 games while finishing 21 games back of the eight seed in the Western Conference Playoffs.
Irving owns some fine playmaking skills, and he's also quick and has a good outside shot. The fourth pick may be Jan Vesely, a lanky forward from the Czech Republic, who has a nice shooting touch, and is a quality full-court player.
The Cavaliers also have some solid players currently on their roster. Ramon Sessions has proven to be one of the more under-rated point guards in the NBA. J.J. Hickson is still young, has a knack for scoring, and is a defensive presence.
Anderson Verajao is coming off a foot injury that sidelined him for most of last season, but he's still a good big man, and at 28 years old he remains capable of making positive contributions. The Cavaliers have veterans and former stars in Antawn Jamison and Baron Davis, who may still have something left in the upcoming season.
Off the bench, Daniel Gibson continues to show promise. Christian Eyenga is a young, athletic small forward. Samardo Samuels and Luke Harangody are serviceable role players.
Byron Scott is a veteran coach, and was a winner as a player for the Showtime Lakers.
But even with those players, as well as the two high lottery picks, the Cavs will not be in good shape. The team will still lack a legitimate go-to guy, they are very thin at center, and shooting guard -- two positions they would probably have trouble addressing in the draft.
Meanwhile, the Eastern Conference is stronger than it's been in years. Making the playoffs will be a difficult task, even if both lottery picks exceed expectations.
In other words, don't expect the Cavaliers to make huge strides next season.
What winning the draft lottery did do, however, was something very important. Cleveland fans gained some hope.
Cleveland saw an Ohio-born superstar bolt for sunny weather and promises of winning a championship. In the process, the entire basketball nation sympathized for Cavalier fans.
Now that the Cavs can add two up-and-coming players and regain some respectability.
They can also stop bemoaning the past, and start looking ahead to the future.