“I’m coming home.”
That’s what LeBron James said, via Sports Illustrated’s Lee Jenkins, to announce he was signing with the Cleveland Cavaliers in the summer of 2014. From there, it was on the Cavs’ front office to build a contending team around one of the greatest athletes to ever live.
The results speak for themselves: four-straight Eastern Conference crowns and a championship in 2016, the first ever for the franchise and one of the only titles in Ohio professional sports history. Players such as Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love and J.R. Smith started alongside LeBron and helped bring four years of success to The Land.
Not every starter was a star for the Cavaliers
Not every starter was pulling equal weight, however. It’s hard work to build a consistent contender, and often times paying three stars means finding bargains elsewhere, be that for bench depth or even in the starting lineup. Sometimes those bargains work out, and sometimes they’re a disaster. Some of the players who started during LeBron’s second run in Cleveland were a couple of levels down the ladder, if not even further.
Let’s walk through those players, the worst starters that Cleveland trotted out during that four-year stretch. We’re looking at players who started for at least 14 games; an injury fill-in or the guy who started Game 82 while the rotation rested isn’t on this list. We’re looking specifically at players who started between 2014-15 and 2017-18.
We’ll rank them from best to worst, starting with some beloved role-players but low-end starters, and ending with players who were truly weak links during their time in the starting lineup.
Who were the 13 worst starters of the LeBron James return era?