By T.J. ZUPPE, 92.3 The FanBy T.J. Zuppe | 92.3 The Fan

INDEPENDENCE (92.3 The Fan) – A challenge does not begin to describe what the Cleveland Cavaliers have become.

A team many expected to compete for a playoff spot in the NBA’s Eastern Conference finds itself 4.5 games out of the eight seed, in the midst of a five game losing streak and at the center of reported turmoil and controversy.

A challenge? That would be a mild way of putting it.

However, that is how Cavs’ head coach Mike Brown views the situation his squad is in.

“This is a big challenge for myself and for the team,” Brown said at practice on Tuesday. “Probably just because the dynamics with the age of team, the expectations placed on the team and what we expect from ourselves.

“It’s challenging for myself and all of us. It’s one that I’ve never been through before.”

The Cavs are now 16-32, tied for the fifth worst record in the NBA. Knowing what many expected of the team prior to the season makes Cleveland’s performance one of the most disappointing in recent memory.

Brown has maintained all season that he knew what he was getting into. But did he really? Did anyone expect things could get this bad?

“I didn’t put a number, 1-10, and say it’s going to be an 8,” Brown said. “You just know it was going to be a process. From day one, I never said we’d have it figured out by January 5th or March 5th. I knew it was going to take time, but how long, I didn’t know.”

What if it never happens? At this rate, it is growing far more challenging to picture a point where the Cavs do get it all figured out. Instead of steadily improving, the team appears to be circling the drain.

And yet again, fans are just waiting for another painful season to end.

Despite another gut punch to the city, Brown says this season has not killed his spirit.

“It kind of makes me hungry,” Brown said. “It makes you want to get it right. It makes you want to get after it and get it right.

“It’s part of my natural instinct of growing up, always trying to prove things or people wrong.”

As the losses mount and speculation regarding the future of Brown and general manager Chris Grant grows louder in favor of moving in a different direction following the season, that proof better start appearing soon.

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