The 2016 Cleveland Cavaliers are ranked No. 20 in SLAM’s TOP 75 NBA Teams of All Time.
The 2015-2016 Cleveland Cavaliers won the franchise’s only NBA Championship in team history. To say it’s probably, easily, the best single-season team in the team’s history isn’t a hard argument. The job is to win titles, and that team won titles.
They won all three meaningful team awards that year; their division title (Central), the NBA Eastern Conference title, and of course, the NBA Championship. That makes them, easily, the best team in Cavs history. Yet, are they among the elite of the elite in NBA teams in league history?
One would argue, that yes, if the best team of the year is the NBA Champions, and there have been 74 NBA champions heading into the 2022 NBA Finals, then yes, the Cavs championship title should put that team among the 75 best teams in NBA history.
Yet, SLAM put the Cavs at No. 20., but should they be?
The 2015-2016 Cleveland Cavaliers have a case but it’s not a lock
I’m no fan of LeBron James or Kyrie Irving, and I say that for a reason. As much as I dislike those two, you have to admit, personal bias’ aside, that the 2016 NBA Finals may be the best, most competitive finals series ever. If not the best, then at least among the best.
Does that mean the Cavs could’ve been the Tim Duncan-led Spurs or the Bad Boy Pistons? Or even Jordan’s Bulls? Probably not, but who knows. The rules have changed so much from those eras to now that it’s pointless to debate.
That said, if you’re the best team, in a year where the two best teams made it to the finals and your finals is considered one of the greatest seven-game series ever; I think that’s enough to get you into a conversation for a Top 20 team.