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Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Updated: September 6, 5:52 PM ET
No. 50: Cleveland Cavaliers

By Ross Marrinson
ESPN The Magazine

Last year's rank: 65
Title track: 94
Ownership: 45
Coaching: 40
Players: 56
Fan relations: 26
Affordability: 37
Stadium experience: 51
Bang for the buck: 98

Three top-five picks in two years. Now, that's rebuilding. After LeBron James bolted from Lake Erie for Biscayne Bay, owner Dan Gilbert struck gold in 2011, landing the No. 1 pick and selecting the eventual Rookie of the Year in Kyrie Irving, who, with his 18.5 ppg and 5.4 apg, made Cleveland Cavaliers fans completely forget about That Guy Who Abandoned Us. Okay, maybe not, but the former Duke standout did give fans something -- someone -- to cheer for, and it's reflected in the 24-spot jump in our players category, one of six categories in which the Cavs increased their ranking. While the average ticket price is $48.62, just about the NBA average, the Cavs boast a $2.75 soda, $3 hot dog and $5 parking, all tied for the league's cheapest. Combine that with a 9.1 percent drop in the cost of attending all 41 home games and the Cavs -- with Irving, 2011 No. 4 pick Tristan Thompson and 2012 No. 4 pick Dion Waiters -- have much more value than most people would have envisioned.