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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Cleveland Cavaliers
LeBron James, then of the Cleveland Cavaliers, elevates and eventually blocks a shot in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

The all-time Cavs starting SF: LeBron James

WOW, this was a real shocker here, isn’t it? Obviously that’s sarcasm, as James is clearly the best player in Cleveland Cavaliers history.

James spent 11 seasons with the Cavs, which was two tenures, one of which resulted in James coming back after going to the Miami Heat via unrestricted free agency and more recently in the summer of 2018 him going to the Los Angeles Lakers via unrestricted free agency again, and of whom he’s on now, and the other was after he was drafted by Cleveland in 2003.

In terms of Cavs history, LeBron is Cleveland’s franchise leader in games, minutes played, points, assists, rebounds, steals, PER, win shares and box plus-minus, as indicated by Basketball Reference. Basically, it’s no secret as to why our site is called, still, King James Gospel.

James’ ability to do everything on the floor, even without him being nearly the same on-ball defender as he was earlier on in his career currently, and overall, being a point forward, on the wing, up top, and also as an historically elite playmaker out of the mid-post shows just how much of a passing wizard and unique basketball mind LeBron’s been in terms of the history of the game.

His key career statistics with the Cavs speak for themselves, and for this exercise, I’m putting him at the 3, where he’s been on most occasions in his career, though he’s been as interchangeable as it gets. In 11 seasons with Cleveland, James averaged 27.2 points, 7.3 rebounds, 7.3 assists, 1.6 steals and 0.8 blocks per outing.

He also made 10 All-Star teams as a Cav, and has made the All-Star Game 16 times out of 17 seasons thus far, and has been on All-NBA defense six times, has been All-NBA 15 times, and is a four-time league MVP.

Additionally, James was the driving force when the Cavaliers made four straight NBA Finals from 2015-2018, where they took home the team’s only championship in 2016, but it was not LeBron’s doing really that the Cavs went 1-3 against the Dubs.

In that 2016 Finals victory, James also led both teams in points, assists, rebounds, steals and blocks per game, and made the most iconic block in NBA Finals history on Andre Iguodala in transition, and frankly, I don’t think I need to say much more about his warranted place on this list.

Bron is the starting 3 on the all-time starting five to me and everyone else, and with his passing wizardry, slashing, power, athleticism, and improved post-up game and jump shot throughout the years, the offense would funnel through James, arguably the best player in NBA history, the vast majority of the time.

James has always been a great defensive communicator and free safety-type helper and defensive rebounder as well, and that’s allowed his teams to push it or control the tempo throughout games, usually however has been more sensible at given times.