NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers' All-Time Starting 5
The Cleveland Cavaliers started in the NBA as an expansion team in 1970 along with the Portland Trail Blazers and Buffalo Braves, which became the Los Angeles Clippers. The Cavaliers were bad in the first five years in the league as expected from an expansion team. However, they made the playoffs the next three years before suffering another slump, making the playoffs once in nine seasons.
Their fortunes changed in the 1990s wherein they made the post-season five straight times from 1992 to 1996. The Cavaliers would suffer another drought until the arrival of LeBron James, who became the savior of the franchise. He might have left Cleveland in 2010 but returned in 2014 to bring a championship to the city in 2016.
Despite their reputation as not being a top destination for superstars, the Cavaliers have produced a lot of great players including James. Here are the five players from the Cavaliers who made their all-time starting five.
Center – Brad Daugherty
Brad Daugherty played his entire NBA career with the Cavaliers becoming a team legend in the process. Daugherty was a five-time All-Star in Cleveland as he led the team to five playoff appearances. He helped the Cavaliers reach the Eastern Conference Finals in 1992 but they failed to the mighty Chicago Bulls.
Daugherty’s NBA career was cut short after eight seasons due to recurring back problems. He retired in 1994 but he is still on the Cavaliers’ all-time leaderboards for most of the categories. He ranks third in points and rebounds, and seventh in assists and blocks. His No. 43 jersey is also hanging in the rafters of the Quicken Loans Arena.
Honorable Mention: Center – Zydrunas Ilgauskas
If he only played his entire NBA career in Cleveland, Zydrunas Ilgauskas would have made it over Brad Daugherty. Ilgauskas is a two-time All-Star with the Cavaliers and his No. 11 jersey was retired by the team. He ranks second in all-time points and rebounds for the franchise, and number one in total blocks.