The Cleveland Cavaliers are easily the most misunderstood franchise in in the NBA.
Since 1971, the Cavs have dealt with misfortune, crappy owners that drop softballs from the highest building in the city — and most notably, heartbreak. But as of recent, the franchise has bounced back. The Cavaliers are currently the defending champions of the NBA, and show no signs of slowing down.
So without further ado, here are the seven best Cleveland Cavaliers of all time.
7. Zydrunas Illgauskas
More known as “Big Z” Zydrunas was a fan-favorite for Cleveland fans. He averaged 13.8 points in his 12-year career with the Cavs. He played 843 games in his stint with Cleveland, and was a wingman to Lebron James. A two time all star, Z had his number retired in 2014. He currently works in the Cleveland Cavaliers Franchise.
6. Kyrie Irving
Some might argue that Kyrie Irving is too young to be on this list. But overall, the reason he is on this list is simply due to the game 7 NBA finals. With less than a minute to play, The Cavs were tied with the then defending champion Golden State Warriors, Kyrie hit the biggest shot of his career. Not only was the shot over the current MVP Stephen Curry, it also gave them their first NBA championship in Cleveland’s 52-year title drought. With that shot, Kyrie finally answered all of his critics and haters.
Just remember, without Kyrie Irving the Cavs probably wouldn’t be the defending champions. While he still has a lot of basketball left to play, Kyrie Irving shows no signs of letting up. And when the time comes, he should be seeing his number raised to the rafters.
5. Austin Carr
Known as the color commentator for the Cavaliers brocasting team, Carr averaged 16.2 points in his 9 seasons professionally with Cleveland. Carr was the first overall pick in the 1971 draft. During his rookie season, he averaged 21 points a game.
While he’s known now for his catchphrases, Carr will always be known for his speed and shooting. An All-Star, Carr has his number in the rafters.
4. Larry Nance
A former dunk contest champion, Nance was a 2 time all star with the Cavaliers. In his 7 seasons with the Cavs, he averaged 16 points and 8 rebounds per game. Nance, as well as Mark Price and Brad Daugherty were the original “big three” in Cleveland. They all had an incredible chemistry but could never eclipse Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls.
As well as five other players on this list, Nance has his number in the rafters as well. His son Larry Nance Jr, is currently on the Los Angeles Lakers.
3. Brad Daugherty
Daugherty was a five-time NBA All-Star, and a one-time All-NBA recipient in the 1991-1992 season. He averaged 19 points and 9 rebounds a game in his career. Daugherty was one of the best big men in the game, and an unstoppable force on the boards.
While an unfortunate knee injury ended his career, Daugherty’s 43 is retired.
2. Mark Price
One of the most loved Cavaliers of all time, Mark Price had a style like no other. His ability to split the pick and roll was remarkable, and his three point shooting was incredible. He averaged 16 points and 7 assists a game in his 9 seasons with the Cavs. A four-time All-Star and a four time All-NBA, Price will always be remembered for his three point shooting.
His number 25 is embedded in Cleveland’s history, as it hangs in the rafters.
1. Lebron James
This is no surprise. Yes, Bron Bron is still playing, but he deserves this spot. He left Cleveland for Miami but then came back and gave us the first championship in our long and miserable history. The king is one of the greatest players in NBA history, and his relentless effort and work ethic is unreal. Remember the block on Andre in game seven? Of course you do, Warriors fans.