Cleveland Cavaliers: Assembling their all-time starting five

LeBron James, then of the Cleveland Cavaliers, reacts after a made basket in-game. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
LeBron James, then of the Cleveland Cavaliers, reacts after a made basket in-game. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /
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Ron Harper, Cleveland Cavaliers
Ron Harper, then of the Cleveland Cavaliers, handles the ball. (Photo by Dick Raphael/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The all-time Cavs starting SG: Ron Harper

For my all-time Cavs starting 2 guard, I’m going with Ron Harper here, who spent three-and-a-half seasons with Cleveland before eventually being traded to the then-Los Angeles Clippers (who are known as just the LA Clippers now) in exchange for then Danny Ferry and Reggie Williams. A 1990 first-round pick, 1991 second-round pick and 1992 first-rounder was included with Harper, as was h/t the News-Herald‘s David Glasier.

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At any rate, Harper, before a knee injury caused him to become a role player later on, was a much more high-flying guard that was a creative finisher near the rim, and with the Cavs and Clips, was a big-time slasher that thrived in transition, too.

With the Cavaliers, Harper averaged 19.4 points, 5.1 assists, 4.7 rebounds, 2.3 steals and even 1.0 blocks per game, which was so impressive for a guard, and Harper was a heck of a perimeter defender.

I believe he’d be able to guard plenty of NBA 3’s today, too, with his outstanding instincts, quickness, ability to contest and going the other way, he could really get downhill and was a good passer that could run offense as well, and at 6-foot-6, Harper could elevate well to get to shots off-the-bounce and coming off screens.

I’m not sure if Harper, a career 28.9 percent three-point shooter, would have that in his bag more so today, but he probably could hit spot-ups still fairly competently, and Harper’s game inside the arc puts him firmly here.

While theoretically, I was somewhat considering the ultra-smooth Bingo Smith, a tremendous defender to pair with Irving in Bobby Phills, along with Craig Ehlo here, who would probably be a rock solid three-and-D today, and I could put the rising Collin Sexton perhaps in this conversation down the road with his scoring ability, I’m going with Harper.

That’s in terms of the full capacity sense.

Harper and Irving would be as dynamic as it gets in terms of guards in Cavs history as a tandem at the 1/2, and Harper was a terrific defender on the perimeter that hounded shooters, had incredible timing as a helper and could lead teams in scoring in games while dishing to others. This seemed like a pretty clear one to me, and if only Harper had more time with the Cavaliers.