The perfect Cavaliers player for every Immaculate Grid pairing

Shaquille O'Neal, Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Shaquille O'Neal, Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /
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I don’t watch much baseball. As in, I’ve watched maybe a dozen innings in the past three years. When all of my friends started buzzing about this game called “Immaculate Grid” I was instantly intrigued, as I love games and puzzles. The problem? Immaculate Grid was only about baseball.

Thankfully, the basketball world caught on, and soon there were multiple options to choose from. Crossover Grid, Hoops Grids and, eventually, Immaculate Grid launched their own basketball versions. How do these games work, and what can we do here at King James Gospel to help you excel?

What is Immaculate Grid?

Immaculate Grid is quite simple, and likely familiar to many of us who solved “logic problems” in grade school. It’s a 3 x 3 grid, just like the start to a Tic Tac Toe game, with each row and column labeled with a category — usually an NBA team. To fill in the top-left square, you need to pick a player that fits both categories.

For example, if the top row is labeled “Cleveland Cavaliers” and the left column is “Los Angeles Lakers” then you would need a player who has played at least one regular season game for both teams. You could put LeBron James and keep on rolling.

The twist, however, is that your score is based on how “rare” your selection is. How many other people put LeBron as the answer? You’ll be rewarded for swapping him out for “Jordan Clarkson” or, more obscurely, “JaVale McGee” or even “Quinn Cook”. The more obscure your selections the better you will score.

Sports Reference recently purchased the Immaculate Grid game, which allows players to see all of the potential options for each space after completing the grid. Your trip down memory lane may now commence.

Is there a difference between Immaculate Grid and Crossover Grid?

While Immaculate Grid was still calling balls and strikes, Crossover Grid came out with grids for Basketball, Football, Hockey and Futbol / Soccer. The game is almost identical to Immaculate Grid: you get nine guesses to fill nine slots, you are scored according to the rarity of your picks, and you can easily share your results to social media. Here’s how we did this morning:

Crossover Grid #34
🏀 @CrossoverGrid 9 / 9:

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Is there a difference between Immaculate Grid and HoopGrids?

HoopGrids is the more unique of the grids, while still following the same basic format. HoopGrids leans into the unique categories more than the other two; for example, today’s grid included a college team and the special category of “Played for Exactly 1 Franchise” for an added wrinkle. You also aren’t penalized for multiple guesses, so you can feel free to toss out ideas without stressing about whether you’re going to ruin your entire grid with a wrong answer.

Who are the perfect players for Immaculate Grid?

Let’s go through all 29 team pairings and highlight the perfect pick for each one. Now, by “perfect” we don’t mean the mathematically perfect pick to maximize the rarity score; technically, some guy named Larry Robinson played one game for the Cavaliers and two games for the New York Knicks. No one is guessing Larry Robinson. But you also don’t know who Robinson is, nor do you need to (apologies to Mrs. Robinson if she’s reading this). If you want that competitive edge, you can comb through Basketball Reference before making your choice.

Instead, we’ve highlighted relevant players, names that Cavaliers and NBA fans have likely heard before, and linked them to teams you may not have realized they played for. You likely remember Channing Frye’s place on the Cavaliers’ title team; did you remember that he started his career with the Knicks? That’s the kind of players we are targeting. The goal is to have fun and remember players you haven’t thought about recently, so that’s what we’ll try to do here.

Let’s dive in and give you a player for each pairing. Feel free to bookmark this piece to help you with your grid-filling in the future. Here we go!