Fans have the right to boo, and I'm not bothered by most cases of vocal displeasure. People do far worst things at sporting events. (At my first Raiders game, a man who looked like William H. Macy's character in State and Main half a row away from us loudly explained how he intended to murder a particular referee's family.) So when Cleveland lets its Cavaliers hear it when the team trailed the Wizards -- the Wizards -- by 27 on Wednesday, boos were part of the hootin' and hollerin' and were probably warranted. You don't trail the Wizards by 27 by happenstance. You've got to be doing something wrong to get to that point.
But here's where Cleveland crossed the line, in my book:
The discontent remained, reappeared for many of the Cavaliers' 16 turnovers, and returned with gusto in the fourth quarter when 2013 No. 1 pick Anthony Bennett let sail a 3-pointer that missed everything - and dashed momentum after a 9-2 Cleveland run.
They booed a rookie three weeks into his career. They booed a No. 1 pick who has seen his debut month go horribly wrong via very ugly growing pains. The kid is 20 years old, a professional for the first time in his life and totally new to Cleveland. And they booed him for missing a three-pointer. Like he meant to miss it.
Fans have every right to be upset at Cavaliers management if they feel Bennett was the wrong choice at No. 1 and GM Chris Grant's latest lottery folly. Fans have every right to be upset if they feel effort is lacking. But what do you think booing Bennett is actually going to do? You think that on his next big shot he's going to think, "Oh dang, better make this one!" ... as if he's not trying to make them all?
Do you think being abandoned by some members of his team's fan base, being embarrassed in prime time by angry Clevelanders will help his development?
It should be embarrassing to Cleveland that some of its basketball fans would be this impatient and uncaring.
As for what Bennett is doing to adjust to the NBA, Waiting For Next Year's Scott Sargent has an interesting look behind the scenes.