The Cleveland Cavaliers had their first home game of the 2021-22 season on Friday against LaMelo Ball, Gordon Hayward and the Charlotte Hornets. It was a back-and-forth affair for three quarters, but eventually, not having Darius Garland (ankle) hurt, particularly in the fourth. Charlotte pulled away then, and kept getting out and running in transition.
Cleveland lost on Wednesday at the Memphis Grizzlies prior to that, and while the Cavaliers did claw their way back a few times throughout that one, and cut it to a one-point deficit with 1:53 left, but Ja Morant, De’Anthony Melton and company closed it out 132-121.
In any case, with the home opener in mind for a quick bit here, it was cool to see Cavs legend Brad Daugherty flash back to his first home opener as a rookie with Cleveland in 1986. Daugherty, whose #43 was rightfully retired by the Cavaliers, is likely the best center in team history, and this tweet I’m sure was awesome to see for countless Cavs fans.
Daugherty is so beloved by Cavs fans, and it’s always great when he engages with the team and its fans.
Daugherty, who has previously helped out on Cavs play-by-play here and there with now-Bally Sports Ohio announcers Austin Carr and John Michael, made his mark alongside Mark Price, Craig Ehlo, Ron Harper, Larry Nance Sr. and others. He was helping on the call on Friday as well.
Daugherty, Price and company were part of the Cavs 80’s and early 90’s teams that made plenty of postseason runs, and they played such a pleasing brand of basketball on the offensive end. Many seemingly believe that, had it not been for the greatness (or GOATness according to many) of Michael Jordan, that that Cavs squad may have won a championship, too.
Circling back, though, it’s always cool to see Daugherty, a Cavaliers legend through and through, continue to engage with the Wine and Gold fanbase. Daugherty was a pro’s pro in his playing days, and was a heck of a low-post scorer, roller/screener, mid-range threat and a productive rebounder.
It was unfortunate that injury woes would ultimately cut his career short, but he turned out to be a home run #1 selection by Cleveland in the 1986 NBA Draft, along with Harper and Price via trade, for one, as KJG’s own John Suchan previously highlighted.
In Daugherty’s case, he had 19.0 points, 9.5 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 0.8 blocks per contest with the Cavaliers, and was a five-time All-Star in his eight seasons, all of which he played for Cleveland. The former North Carolina Tar Heel was third in Cavs team history in points, fourth in rebounds, seventh in assists, ninth in blocks, third in win shares and fifth in win shares per-48 minutes.
It wasn’t great that the Cavs had an especially rough fourth quarter on Friday, however, it was neat to see Daugherty flash back to his rookie days with Cleveland, too.
He clearly is a former player that will always be a proud alum, and I’m sure he’s incredibly bullish on the likes of Evan Mobley, who was impressive even in his rookie debut, albeit in a loss at Memphis on Wednesday.