3. 2016 Cleveland Cavaliers
If LeBron James never wins another championship, this is the team history will associate him with the most.
In winning the Cavaliers their first title in franchise history, James helped end Cleveland’s 52-year drought without a major sports championship.
While it wasn’t the best the roster, James willed the Cavaliers to the series win and created a highlight you’ll see for the rest of your life on “The Block” of Andre Iguodala.
This squad was great offensively, led by the Big 3 of James, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving as it cruised to 57 wins and the No. 1 seed. These Cavs ranked third in the NBA in offensive rating (110.8). They weren’t known as a defensive powerhouse but still finished 10th among NBA teams in defensive rating.
The Cavs cruised to their second-straight Finals appearance, without facing little resistance along the way. In total, the Cavs lost two games before reaching the Finals, with two losses coming against the Raptors in the Eastern Conference Finals.
In the Finals, Irving wasn’t impressive early on, and Kevin Love showed why the Warriors would be a match-up nightmare. Love later was sidelined with a concussion and fans openly wondered if the Cavs would be better off starting Richard Jefferson in his place after he returned.
The fun part about this squad was that help came from unexpected places. Unexpected contributions came from Dahntay Jones and Mo Williams throughout different parts of the series and their performances were vital to the ultimate result: winning the title.
Love and Irving eventually came around in Game 7 when Love focused on rebounding and defense. The Cavs were +19 with him on the floor. Irving hit the biggest shot in Cleveland sports history, and perhaps NBA Finals history.
The Warriors seemed destined to roll through the Cavs while putting the jewel on top of title as the best team ever thanks to their 73-win regular season. Everything indicated Golden State would win, yet The James Gang persevered.