Even Cavs Players Are Doubtful They Can Win a Championship This Season

Contrary to popular opinion, LeBron James is human after all, and though his run of seven consecutive trips to the NBA Finals might make him seem otherworldly, it doesn't make him invincible. This season more than ever, it feels like Cleveland is surviving rather than thriving. At some point, someone in the East is going to beat them. And after Cleveland's 118-108 home loss to the defending champion Golden State Warriors last night, we might've officially reached that point.

According to ESPN's Dave McMenamin, there is growing discontent and a strong sense of concern within the Cleveland locker room. The Cavs are 26-17 with only three wins in their last 12 games. They got blown out by a combined 62 points against Toronto and Minnesota last week. They might have the worst defense in the entire NBA, and they've slid so far that many of the team's veterans now doubt whether they can fix their problems this season.

Age. One-dimensional role players. Defensive-issues that go far beyond fundamentals. Several prominent players told ESPN, Cleveland.com, and The Athletic that the team's problems won't go away simply by getting healthy. 

This is not the first time we've heard grumblings coming out of Cleveland this season. Just last week, Yahoo! Sports reported there were complaints in the locker room about “personal agendas” getting in the way of success. Some Cavs players thought LeBron was chasing assists in an effort to win one final MVP award. Others didn't like coach Tyronn Lue's rotations. The bickering reeks of familiarity, like a family that's been living together far too long.

In past years during their inevitable regular season lapses, the team could lean on Kyrie Irving. But Irving is gone, and his replacement is a 28-year-old, 5'9″ defensive problem who may or may not ever be the same after returning from a major hip injury.

LeBron has to know all of this. He also knows Cleveland holds the rights to Brooklyn's first-round pick next summer—and that there are several names potentially available on the market. That pick and this year's trade deadline might be Cleveland's final chance to position themselves for one last run at a title. Among the NBA's contenders, they have the least to lose and the most to gain by making a deal.

No one ever expects a run to end before it does. Miami's Big Three era faded with a whimper, getting blitzed by 14 points per game against San Antonio in the 2014 Finals. Kobe's Lakers collapsed in a surprising sweep in 2011, burnt out and exhausted. Before that, it was Shaq and the Lakers getting old before our eyes and even before that, it was Houston and Hakeem Olajuwon getting run into the ground by Seattle and the Detroit Bad Boys wilting under the athleticism of Jordan's Bulls. 

Is this Cleveland's moment of reckoning? If it is, it shouldn't surprise anyone.

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Twitter Wonders Where JaVale McGee Lands on Shaq’s List of Best Centers of All-Time

Earlier today, Shaquille O'Neal sparked plenty of conversation when he tweeted out his personal list of the “top centers to ever play” the game. 

Much like every list that has ever been created, everyone had an issue with one player's ranking or another. Some couldn't understand why Bill Russell would be No. 1.   

Others thought Kareem Abdul-Jabbar should've been at the top.  

If you're trying to find Shaq's logic behind his list, look no further than his interview with Sirius XM NBA Radio. Basically, the order comes down to which player had the most rings. 

Of course, O'Neal hasn't exactly been consistent with his greatest centers of all-time list. Back in 2011, Shaq was asked to name the best players at the position, and Hakeem Olajuwon came out on top with Wilt Chamberlain in second, and Kareem rounding out his top three. 

Then there were the people on Twitter who responded to one of the masters of trolling by counter-trolling and asking about JaVale McGee's placement on this prestigious list.

Back in February, JaVale and Shaq got into a heated exchange on Twitter after The Big Diesel made fun of him again on his show Inside the NBA. The back-and-forth forced McGee's mother Pamela to come to her son's defense. Over the last month or so, their feud has subsided, but it seems Twitter is ready to stir the pot all over again. 

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