Cleveland Cavaliers: Leading the League in the Worst Statistic

big alCorrespondent IMarch 31, 2010

PHOENIX - DECEMBER 21:  Shaquille O'Neal #33 of the Cleveland Cavaliers shoots a free throw shot during the NBA game against of the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center on December 21, 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Cavaliers defeated the Suns 109-91.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Many thought at the beginning of the season, the Cleveland Cavaliers were poised to be among the NBA's best. 

Does this team have aspirations for a conference title or league title?  Nope. 

The real prize the Cavaliers are after this season is the leagues worst free throw shooting team.  Yes!  After all, there is only one team in the NBA that can accomplish this feat.

Currently, the Cavaliers are in a dogfight with the Detroit Pistons for the leagues lowest free throw shooting at 71%. 

Cleveland GM, Danny Ferry, "I thought for sure it would be Ben Wallace and his 41% free throw shooting that would put us over the top last season.  It was a disappointment that we fell short of our goal."

So Ferry went to work in the busy off-season to ensure the Cavaliers could meet this goal for the 2009-2010 season.

In came Shaquille O'Neal, who has responded with an impressive 48% free throw shooting. 

This has challenged fourteen year Cleveland center, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, to effectively lower his free throw shooting from 84% to 71%.  It has become a heated rivalry at the center position.  States Big Z, "After a month of not playing basketball, I have him in my sights."

O'Neal vows, "I am the most dominant worst free throw shooter in the league.  This thumb injury will surely help me to lower my percentage by at least ten points.  I will vanquish all challengers."

As always, LeBron James is willing to help the team goals and reports that he is going to modify his free throw shooting technique.  "Its going to be a combination of a volleyball spike and chase-down block."

Of course, there are many other Cavalier players who have contributed to lower the team free throw shooting percentage in helping to accomplish this lofty goal.

Anderson Varejao, at 66%, reports that his arm-flailing technique has worked best for him. 

Daniel Gibson, at 69%, vehemently insists "I don't take charity from no one!"

An eleven month rehab from an ACL injury has helped Leon Powe to a 63% at the free throw line. 

A break-out year for JJ Hickson, who at 68%, stated "I just try my hardest to brick everything"

Anthony Parker has not sufficiently lowered his free throw percentage as previously hoped.  He attributes his 77% from "not hitting enough iron". 

But the coupe-de-grace must be Antawn Jamison.  While playing for Washington this season he shot 81% from the charity stripe.  Lowering his free throw shooting to 44% has been nothing short of spectacular.  He has by far, exceeded all expectations.  Jamison is clearly emerging as the key piece in achieving the leagues lowest free throw percentage. 

However, there seem to be a few laggards on Cleveland who have not done their part in securing the leagues lowest free throw percentage. 

Most notably, Mo Williams, who is at a dismal 89%.  Explains Mo, "I just can't predict these hot and cold streaks of mine."

Delonte West, at 85%, is conditionally excused from his poor performance as he struggles with maintaining treatment for his bipolar disorder. 

But the wretched 85% by Jamario Moon may be the most unexcuseable.  This may have permanently relegated him deep on the Cavalier bench as of recent.

Opposing teams may be befuddled by the new look Cavaliers this season.  No longer can the other team easily employ the Hack-a-Shaq strategy.  Instead the strategy is now called Hack-a-Cav. Any Cav will do.