The Cleveland Cavaliers, a seasoned professional basketball team that has graced the NBA since 1970, boasts an illustrious history of top-tier talent. From high-flying dunkers to sharp-shooting guards, the Cavaliers’ roster has been graced by a remarkable array of basketball phenoms.
The following are some of the most influential and skilled players who have donned the Cavalier jersey, leaving an indelible mark on the franchise’s history with their undeniable talent, heart, and steadfast dedication to the game.
LeBron James, a Small Forward, emerged as a transcendent talent from the moment he was selected as the No. 1 overall pick by the Cavaliers in 2003, straight out of St. Vincent-St. Mary High School in Akron, Ohio.
Over his seven-year tenure with the Cavaliers (2003-2010), James posted astounding career stats per game, averaging 27.6 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 6.9 assists. His exceptional performance led the Cavaliers to the playoffs five times, culminating in the NBA Finals in 2007.
James’ monumental contributions were recognized as he was named the NBA MVP in both the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons, the first Cavalier to ever clinch the prestigious award. Today, he holds numerous franchise records, including total points, field goals made, scoring average, and steals. There is no denying that LeBron James’ talent, athleticism, and unmatched basketball IQ have firmly etched his name in the annals of the Cavaliers’ history.
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Mark Price, a Point Guard known for his flawless free-throw shooting, was a linchpin for the Cavaliers from 1986 to 1995. Throughout his tenure with the team, Price posted impressive career stats per game, averaging 15.2 points, 6.7 assists, and 1.2 steals. He was renowned for his strategic thinking on the court and his sharpshooting skills, factors that earned him a spot in the All-Star game four times.
The peak of his career was arguably the 1992-93 season when he made the All-NBA first team. Under his leadership, the Cavs made it to the playoffs seven times, reinforcing their status as formidable contenders in the NBA. For a long time, Price was considered the best player in Cavalier history, a testament to his stellar performance and undeniable influence on the team.
Brad Daugherty, a Center, was the first overall pick in the 1986 NBA draft. Daugherty, with his towering seven-foot frame and extensive reach, was a dominant presence on the court, starting all but two of his 548 games with the Cavaliers. Over his eight-season tenure with the team from 1986 to 1994, Daugherty averaged an impressive 19.0 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 3.7 assists per game.
Michael Jordan and Brad Daugherty last met in the playoffs in May 1993, when the Bulls beat the Cavs in the NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals
Jordan and Daugherty meet again in the NASCAR playoffs 30 years later pic.twitter.com/Fpws5ElC5O
— nascarman (@nascarman_rr) August 28, 2023
He made a unique mark in the Cavalier’s history as the team’s all-time leader in defensive rebounds and holding the second spot in total points. Notably, Daugherty was a talented passer for a big man, never averaging less than 3.2 assists in any of his professional seasons. His career, sadly cut short by a back injury, was one that could, without a doubt, have led to a Hall of Fame induction.
Larry Nance, a Power Forward known for his exceptional leaping ability, made a significant impact on the Cavaliers’ history during his tenure from 1988 to 1994. While Nance began his career with the Phoenix Suns, his stint with the Cavaliers is where he truly left his mark. Known for his defensive prowess, Nance was the anchor on several formidable Cavalier teams.
His career stats per game are impressive, averaging 17.1 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 2.2 blocks. He ranks third in team history with a total of 1,087 blocked shots. An illustrious part of his career saw him named an All-Star twice during his time in Cleveland.
Furthermore, he made the NBA All-Defensive team for three seasons. His record-breaking performance of 243 blocked shots in a season remains unmatched in the Cavaliers’ franchise to this day.
While the Cleveland Cavaliers have a rich history of talented players, these four individuals stand out as some of the best to ever grace the team. From LeBron James’ unparalleled athleticism to Larry Nance’s dominant defense, these players have contributed immensely to the Cleveland Cavaliers odds and will forever be remembered in franchise history.