Top 50 Cleveland Cavaliers

Cleveland has long been a suffering sports city and the Cavaliers seemed destined to never win a championship.

Beginning in 1970, the Cavs struggled like most expansion teams do, and it wasn’t until 1976 that they had their first winning season and made the playoffs for the first time.  They would surprisingly advance to the Eastern Conference Finals due to the “Miracle at Richfield” win over the Washington Bullets.  They would make the playoffs the next two years but went into a six-year drought before there rebuild took place in the late 80’s.  With a team led by Mark Price, Brad Daugherty, Ron Harper and Larry Nance they were a top team in the East and again made the Eastern Conference Finals in 1989 but they never could make the Finals and went back to the bottom of the pack for years.

Then everything changed with two words: LeBron James.

The native of Akron, Ohio was projected to be the next big thing and the Cavaliers landed the number one pick of the 2003 Draft, who chose him.  The franchise’s fortune changed.  Cleveland was a playoff team again and they would make the Finals for the first time in history in 2007.  They did not win and James would famously take his talents to South Beach, and with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh would win two titles for the Heat.  All was not lost, as Cleveland again won the draft lottery and selected another game changer in Kyrie Irving.

James would return and with the signing of Kevin Love, the Cavs would make four straight Finals (2015-2018), winning the 2016 Championship earning Cleveland their first championship and redeeming LeBron James in the eyes of Ohio.


Note: Basketball lists are based on an amalgamation of tenure, traditional statistics, advanced statistics, playoff statistics and post-season accolades.

Wesley Person would play five of his ten seasons in the NBA with the Cleveland Cavilers, where he would be his most productive.  Person’s first season (1997/98) with Cleveland would see him jack up the most threes, and lead the NBA in Three-Point Field Goals made or attempted.  It was one of the best years of his career, with career highs in VORP (5.2) and he averaged 13.7 Points per Game, but he regressed the…
Not very much was expected from Clarence “Foots” Walker as he was a 3rd Round Pick from Vincennes University, but he would make the Cavs team as a back-up Point Guard and slowly work his way to becoming their starter in his fourth season with the team.  Walker would play six years for Cleveland and would make history as the first Cavalier to score a triple-double.  
After having a great career at Duke where he was the Naismith Player of the Year in 1989 he was drafted by the Los Angeles Clippers second overall which was a mess of a franchise and Ferry elected to play pro in Italy rather play for L.A.'s red-headed stepchild.  The Clippers traded him to Cleveland, and while Danny Ferry was far from the star he was at Duke he was an excellent role player with…
Standing at 6’ 11”, Jim Chones gave up his final year at Marquette to join the New York Nets of the ABA.  He would then play a season with the Carolina Cougars before joining the Cleveland Cavaliers of the NBA in 1974, who had his rights after they traded for it from the Los Angeles Lakers.  Chones put up very consistent numbers in his five seasons in Cleveland; he averaged between 12.9 to 15.8 Points…
Playing his first four seasons of his career with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Chris Mills would average at least 12 Points per Game in the last three of those four years.  Starting at Small Forward in those three seasons, Mills peaked at 15.1 Points per Game in 1995/96 and was considered stable (though not necessarily spectacular) at both ends of the court.  He would overall average 12.6 Points per Game in his 319 Games as a…
Is this rank too low for the “Reign Man” Shawn Kemp is correctly most identified as a member of the Seattle SuperSonics but he played three seasons with the Cleveland Cavaliers for three seasons where he put up some excellent numbers.
Jim Brewer played his first five and a half seasons in the NBA with the Cleveland Cavaliers where the former Minnesota Golden Gopher (and teammate of future Baseball Hall of Famer, Dave Winfield) and second overall pick of the 1973 Draft would display his defensive prowess. 
Mike Mitchell would play his first three and a half seasons in the NBA for the Cleveland Cavaliers where he was named an All-Star in 1981.  Mitchell played 271 Games for the Cavs where he had his biggest scoring season with a 24.5 PPG, which was good enough for eighth overall.  The scorer would post a 19.3 PPG over his career for Cleveland.
After a rookie season with the Los Angeles Lakers, Jim Cleamons was traded to Cleveland where he would play for five years and would have three consecutive years where he would average over 10 Points and 5 Assists per Game (1974-75 to 1976-77).  Cleamons was an above-average defensive player, and in 1975/76 he was a Second Team All-NBA Defensive Selection.
Already an eight-time All-Star before he was traded from Seattle, Wilkens would be named to his ninth All-Star Game as he would average 20.5 Points per Game, the second-highest of his career.  He was second overall in Assists per Game with an 8.2 Average, and he would also have a career-high of 20.3 in PER.  Age would catch up with Wilkens the following year as he dropped to 16.4 Points and 7.1 Assists per Game…
Mo Williams played with LeBron James and was one of the best beneficiaries of being a teammate of one of the greatest basketball players of all-time.
A Gold Medalist for Team U.S.A. in 1976, Phil Hubbard began his professional basketball career with the Detroit Pistons.  The Small Forward would play for the Cleveland Cavaliers for eight years and would peak at 15.8 Points per Game in the 1984/85 season.  Overall in his 469 Games Played for Cleveland, he would average 10.6 Points per Game.
Bobby Phills was drafted in the 2nd Round of the Milwaukee Bucks in 1991, but he never made it to the NBA with them.  He would eventually latch on to Cleveland and worked his way into a permanent roster spot with the Cavs where he would be known for his ferocious defensive ability.  Phills (who Michael Jordan once called one of the toughest men to defend him) was a Second Team All-Defensive Selection in 1995/96,…
Carlos Boozer would turn out to be a nice surprise as the 35th Overall Pick of the 2002 Draft had a nice rookie season averaging an even 10 Points per Game with a 17.0 PER while earning Second Team All-Rookie honors.  Boozer was poised to be the next great Power Forward in the NBA as in his second season he elevated his PER to 20.8 (16th overall) and averaged a double-double with 15.5 Points and…
Roy Hinson played his first three years in the NBA with the Cleveland Cavaliers where the former Atlantic 10 Player of the Year would have his best year in the NBA.  That was 1985/86, his third season where he averaged 19.6 Points per Game and a 17.6 PER, both career highs.  In the two seasons before, Hinson finished sixth in Blocks per Game.  The Forward’s overall average in Cleveland showed him average 13.6 Points, 7.2…
John Johnson made history as the first Cleveland Cavalier to be named to the All-Star Game, which he did as a rookie in 1970/71.  Repeating his All-Star Game appearance the next season, Johnson would put up a career-high 17.0 Points per Game and overall in his three years in Cleveland he averaged 15.9 Points and 7.1 Rebounds per Game.  While Johnson was a two-time All-Star, he probably wasn't All-Star worthy, but he did represent the…
Brevin Knight would have the career of a journeyman in the NBA, but the first of his nine teams was Cleveland where he was a First Team All-Rookie averaging 9.0 Points per Game.  That year, Knight would lead the NBA in Steals per Game, so there was a lot of hope that this would be the start of greatness.  It wasn't, as he never had theft numbers like that again and he never reached double…
Dick Snyder played four seasons with Cleveland where the Shooting Guard where in his first season after arriving in a trade from Seattle, would finish ninth in Field Goal Percentage.  Snyder's play would diminish after but his first two years would still see him average over 10 Points per Game.  As a Cavalier, he averaged 10.6 Points per Game, and he would win a championship with Seattle in what would be his last year in…
Arriving midway through the 2014/15 season, the enigmatic J.R. Smith came to become a part of LeBron's court, and for the most part, he understood his role on the team.  Smith would be at his best in the 2016 playoffs where he helped Cleveland win their first NBA Championship as their starting Shooting Guard averaging 11.5 Points per Game in the playoffs.  Sadly, Smith will be remembered for his bonehead move in Game 1 of…
A member of the Cleveland Cavaliers for two and a half seasons, Cliff Robinson would put his best career rebounding metrics of his career while playing there.  In Robinson's two full seasons in Cleveland, he would average 11.1 and 10.3 boards respectively, both of which would land him in the top ten in that metric.  Robinson would also average 17.7 Points per Game in his 180 Games for the team.