The 2012-13 Cleveland Cavaliers went into this season hoping for a return back to the playoffs.
Unfortunately due to a variety of circumstances (many of which were out of their control), they started out struggling and have amassed a 7-25 record.
They have the second-worst record in the Eastern Conference and are already eight games behind the currently eighth-seeded Philadelphia 76ers in the playoff race.
In a sense, their season is over.
As a result, many Cavaliers fans are already thinking about next year, and management may not be far behind.
Here are the five biggest disappointments for the Cavaliers so far this season.
Dion Waiters to this point of his career has had serious problems with his shot selection, has been inconsistent on defense and has been benched on occasion.
Even worse, he is not really showing improvement—in fact, he may even be regressing.
Over the month of December, his points per game have fallen to 11.8. His shooting percentages have also gone down; his three-point percentage has plummeted to an alarming .208.
This is not what the Cavaliers hoped for when Waiters was drafted fourth overall. The good news is that he has shown enough potential to forgo sounding the alarm just yet.
The Cavaliers behind Kyrie Irving and Alonzo Gee were red hot early on in this game and took an early 22-10 lead.
Then the Milwaukee Bucks caught fire during the second quarter and not only made up the deficit but proceeded to take a 13-point lead.
The two teams would continue to battle back and forth, and eventually the game would come down to the last tenth of a second.
Down 102-100 with just eight seconds remaining, the Cavaliers called on their young star Irving to save the day. He made an incredible move to get to the basket and tied the game with just three-tenths of a second left.
Then Milwaukee guard Brandon Jennings made a very controversial three-point shot when it looked like the shot clock had started late.
Coach Byron Scott was at a loss for words as were most Cavalier fans.
Do you know how many Cavaliers have not missed a game due to injury?
The answer is two—Tristan Thompson and Alonzo Gee.
While every team at one point or another will go through a bad stretch of injuries, the Cavaliers have had the injury bug all season long.
No injury was worse than the one to Kyrie Irving.
He is their leader and best player. When he missed 11 games during a brutal stretch in the schedule, the Cavs could not weather what ended up being the perfect storm. They would only win two games without him, and their record sank to 4-17.
As bad as all these injuries are, it is even worse for a young team like the Cavaliers. This time early in the season is vital for the youngsters to find their groove, while Coach Scott adjusts his rotation accordingly.
This has not been able to happen with the injuries this team has had to endure.
The Cavaliers headed to Miami without Kyrie Irving in a game that many people gave them little chance of winning.
The Cavaliers had an 11-point lead going into halftime, but in a league where everyone eventually makes a run, you knew the defending NBA champions were not going to go down that easily.
Still, the Cavs gave the Heat all they could handle the rest of the way and led almost the entire game.
Eventually it came down to Heat guard Ray Allen (perhaps the most dangerous three-point shooter in NBA history) to attempt the go-ahead shot with seconds left.
Of course, he drained it.
What should have went down as a statement road victory against the NBA's best ended up being just another crushing loss.
The Cleveland Cavaliers started this season with aspirations of making the playoffs, and why not? Last year this team was in the playoff hunt all the way until the All-Star break.
Those same players had a full offseason to improve under Coach Scott's system. Also, the Cavs had an influx of new talent in the form of two first-round picks, Dion Waiters and Tyler Zeller, as well as veteran C.J. Miles and Jeremy Pargo.
Add that with the continued development of 2011 Rookie of the Year Kyrie Irving, and it seemed like the writing was on the wall.
Unfortunately, things did not go as planned.
Whether it was the injuries, the brutal schedule, inexperience or all of the above, the Cavaliers did not live up to their own lofty expectations.
As a result, instead of being playoff bound, the Cavaliers are once again lottery bound.