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RIP: John "Hot Rod" Williams

Former NBA Power Forward, John “Hot Rod” Williams passed away today at the young age of 53 after losing a battle with prostate cancer. 

Williams, while never an All Star, was a popular player with the Cleveland Cavaliers but had to endure trials (literally) and tribulations to get there.

While playing at Tulane, Williams was not exactly an honor student and was labeled as a troublemaker in some circles.  Most notably, he would be charged with point shaving in three games.  Williams went to trial twice, the first resulting in a mistrial, the second being found not guilty, but as he was going through the judicial system, he was not able to suit up for the Cleveland Cavaliers who had selected him 45th overall in the draft.

Williams would play for Cleveland for nine seasons beginning in the 1986/87 season and would average over 10 Points per Game every season.  Overall, his Cavalier numbers were very good, as over 661 Games he averaged 31.5 Minutes, 12.9 Points, 7.1 Rebounds and 1.8 Blocks per Game with a PER of 16.4. 

“Hot Rod” would play another four seasons in the NBA, with the Phoenix Suns and Dallas Mavericks.

While he was perceived by some as a problem in college, his Cavaliers teammates praised him for personality and devotion to his team. 

We here at would like to extend our condolences to the friends and family of John Williams at this time.

RIP: Nate Thurmond

It was announced today by the Golden State Warriors that their former Center, Nate Thurmond died at the age of 74 after a bout with leukemia.

Thurmond, a member of the NBA’s 50 Greatest Players list, played collegiately at Bowling Green before being drafted third overall in 1963 by the Warriors.   Thurmond was an All Star by his sophomore season and made the mid-season festivity seven times.  Thurmond was not known for his offense, a little surprising considering he exceeded 20 Points per Game per season.  Rather, he was known for his rebounding prowess finishing in the top five in boards per game six times.

Thurmond would be traded to the Chicago Bulls however thirteen games later he would be moved to the Cleveland Cavaliers, close to his hometown of Akron, Ohio.  The big man was a vital part of the Cavs miracle run to the Eastern Championship.

His number would be retired by both the Warriors and the Cavaliers.

We here at would like to extend our condolences to the friends and family of Nate Thurmond at this time. 

7. Shawn Kemp

Shawn Kemp was one of the most popular and productive players of the 90’s.  He came straight out of high school with the body of a Greek God, and was considered one of the best pure athletes in the NBA.  At first, he was a highlight film dunker but he soon became a key part of some very good Seattle teams, with a complete all around game. 15,000 points, 9,000 rebounds and six All-Star trips are nothing to sneeze at and though his legacy has been a bit tarnished of late, Shawn Kemp was a true superstar in his day.

24. Mark Price

Mark Price was an All-American at Georgia Tech, but he still left questions in scouts mouths who thought he was too small and too slow to play at the next level.  He proved them wrong and then some.  Drafted by the Mavericks late in the 1st round in 1986, a trade to the Cavaliers on draft day was just what he needed.  Price helped turn the Cavaliers into contenders and if it wasn’t for one Michael Jordan he might have a title or two.  He became one of the best point guards in the league with his ability to pass and hit long range jumpers.  Price was also adept at splitting double teams and was the second member of the 50-40-90 club after Larry Bird for players who shot 50 percent from the floor, 40 percent from behind the arc and 90 percent from the free throw line. 

44. Larry Nance

Larry Nance was a very solid forward in the NBA who is most known for winning the first All-Star game slam dunk competition in a huge upset.  At 6 foot 11, Nance was a player that could flat get up in the air, but he was much more than just a dunker. 

52. Brad Daugherty

Brad Daugherty was an All-American at North Carolina and the number one overall pick of the 1986 draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers just ahead of Len Bias.  Along with fellow rookies John Hot Rod Williams, Mark Price and Ron Harper, Daugherty ushered in the highest competitive run in Cavalier history.  The Cavs were title contenders in the Eastern Conference for the next decade and if it wasn’t for the great Bulls teams, they may have won a few titles.  Daugherty averaged 19 points and 10 boards over those ten years and was a five time All-Star. Daugherty had the size (seven feet and 245 pounds) to dominate the middle and as you can see by his stats he was very productive. 

71. Austin Carr

One of the great shooters of all time, Austin Carr’s college run overshadows a very good pro career that was lost in the obscurity of playing in Cleveland.  However, shouldn’t the all time NCAA tournament scoring average leader be considered?  He scored sixty-one once in an NCAA tourney game, showcasing his legendary shooting.  Considering all the nonsense the Cavs have had to deal with recently, Carr, who is Mr. Cavalier, would give the city a nice boost with an induction.  Of course his induction in the College Hall of Fame in 2007 really hurts his chances of getting in the version in Springfield.

77. Zydrunas Ilgauskas

A longtime member of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Zydrunas Ilgauskas brought his tall frame from Lithuania and became one of the top offensive rebounders in the league. He was also adept at blocking and at his prime pumped in a 15 point plus average and was often considered the top part of LeBron James’ supporting cast. The Lithuanian likely won’t make the Hall of Fame, but had Cleveland won the Finals, would he be in the conversation?
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