Hoops Manifesto‘s project continues: this time, it’s my selections for the top 5 Cleveland Cavaliers of all time.
Whilst Cleveland’s recently been a franchise with contention, I don’t think there’s any discussion on the top few Cavs. Well… at least not the top 4.
5. World B. Free – Is there any doubt that this is the coolest name to ever grace an NBA player? There were other players I could have gone with: Austin Carr, Ron Harper… or even Big Z – but how could I overlook Free (born Lloyd B. Free)? That was the tipping point for me.
A phenomenal scorer with a penchant for being ostentatious (no… really?), the “Prince of Midair” scored at least 22 per for 4 seasons.
4. Larry Donnell Nance – NBA’s first ever dunk contest winner, the “Ayatolla of Slamola” was a double threat at the 4 slot, a killer inside with a good shot at mid-range. Nance was no slouch at the other end either – a good rebounder and a great shot blocker. He still holds the team record of 243 regular season blocks (and still has the record for the most blocks by a non-center).
3. Brad Lee Daugherty – 5 time All Star, Daugherty/Price were one of the best tandems in the NBA. Averaging 19/10 for his career at Cleveland, his time there was cut short by back troubles, that forced him to retire from pro ball at the age of 28. Huge NASCAR fan, Daugherty chose #43 to honor Richard Petty… and Cleveland honored him by retiring the number in 1997.
2. William Mark Price – Most remember Price as a player with an amazingly sweet shot, and his free throws (all time NBA leader for FT% for both regular season and playoffs – .904/.944), but Price was damn good at distribution as well. The aforementioned Brad Daugherty was often on the end of a 7.2 assist average whilst a Cav. Price is one of only 5 players in the history of the NBA to be in the 50/40/90 club – 50+% FG, 40+% 3s; 90+% FTs.
1. LeBron Raymone James – Amazing, huh… given how many Cleveland fans despise him now. But there’s no doubting that LeBron James is the greatest player to ever don the wine and gold. Maybe in time Cleveland fans will remember him for what he was (clip below), rather than this.