ESPN is doing an all-time starting five for all 30 NBA teams and some selections are mind-boggling, but at least they got the Cleveland Cavaliers right.
Kawhi Leonard is a starter for the Clippers after 50-odd games, but Luka Donicic isn’t for the Mavericks? Sometimes the logic with ESPN writers is just bat-crap insane. At least ESPN’s Dave McMenamin got the Cleveland Cavaliers starting five correct. That might be because the Cavs haven’t always had great teams and until the mid-80s the team was absolute garbage. In the ’80s, the Cavs started to find success and had become one of the more well-run organizations in the league. The team had success than in the ’90s, ’00s, and ’10’s but always with a small corp of guys who you could point to as the reason for their success.
Maybe that’s why it’s easy to pick a starting five because there are only a few obvious choices. That doesn’t mean there have only been five great players in Cavaliers’ history. There’s a debate to be had about who should be the 4 (power forward) and 5 (center), as Carlos Boozer and Zydrunas Ilgauskas were just as talented as Larry Nance and Brad Daughtery. That doesn’t mean anyone is going to be mad at Nance or Daughtery getting the slots, however.
"Cleveland CavaliersG: Mark PriceG: Kyrie IrvingF: LeBron JamesF: Larry NanceC: Brad Daugherty"
It seems obvious that LeBron James, Mark Price, and Kyrie Irving are locked for the starting spots. Price was the best 3-point shooter of his era. Made more impressive because at the time when the three-point shot was frowned upon within gameplans. Irving could score with the best of them just don’t ask him to do anything else. James is, well, James.
One could make an argument for Kevin Love over Nance, but it feels like Nance has the hometown support at the moment.
A bench squad would be a fun idea to do for a follow-up column. Heck, that might be something to do while we wait for sports to start back up. Just do an entire all-time starting lineup for all the Cleveland sports teams.
As far as the Cavs all-time starting unit goes, it’s hard to really say they got it wrong. Those are five of the greatest Cavaliers of all time in the minds of many fans.