Cleveland Cavaliers: 15 greatest draft steals in franchise history

Zydrunas Ilgauskas of the Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images)
Zydrunas Ilgauskas of the Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Cedric Henderson, Cleveland Cavaliers
Cedric Henderson, Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo credit should read DAVID MAXWELL/AFP/Getty Images) /
  • Four seasons w/Cavaliers (1997-01)
  • NBA All-Rookie Second Team (1997-98)
  • 248 career games w/Cavaliers
  • 7.5 points, 3.0 rebounds, 1.7 assists per game w/Cavaliers

Cedric Henderson may have only had a five-year NBA career coming out of the University of Tennessee. That being said, most of his NBA success did end up with the team that drafted him No. 44 overall back in 1997 out of the SEC.

The Memphis native was very much a starter for the Cavaliers at small forward during his first two years in the league. He appeared in the maximum number of games in both seasons, 82 as a rookie in 1997-98 and 50 in the lockout-shortened 1998-99 campaign. Cleveland would even make the Eastern Conference Playoffs during his first year in the league.

Henderson made the NBA All-Rookie Second Team in 1997-98, as he averaged 10.1 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.2 steals per game, playing in all 82 contests and starting in 71 of them. Unfortunately, his rookie year in the league just so happened to be his best year in the NBA.

Despite starting 48 of 50 games as a sophomore in the league, Henderson never again averaged double figures scoring. In fact, his scoring averages decreased every year until he was out of the league in 2002-03 after being cut by the Milwaukee Bucks. After four years with the Cavaliers and the 2001-02 season with the Golden State Warriors, Henderson never appeared in another NBA regular season game.

In total, Henderson averaged 7.5 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game during his four years with the Cavaliers. These numbers are nothing to write home about, but to get that kind of production out of a former second-round pick on his rookie deal is a pretty solid return no doubt.

Henderson edges out a significantly better NBA player in Carlos Boozer for No. 14 on this all-time list, mostly due to him spending twice the amount of time in Cleveland. Both were All-Rookie Second Team players, but Henderson didn’t spurn the Cavaliers in free agency like Boozer did years later. Simply put, Henderson’s best years as a professional were obviously in Cleveland.