Top five Cleveland Cavaliers role players of all-time

Tristan Thompson, Cleveland Cavaliers. Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images
Tristan Thompson, Cleveland Cavaliers. Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images /
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Cleveland Cavaliers
Tristan Thompson, Indiana Pacers. Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images /

No. 3: Tristan Thompson

Drafted fourth by the Cavs in the 2011 Draft, Thompson soon emerged as one of the top offensive rebounders and switching centers in the league. In his first five seasons, he missed just 22 games. At one point, he suited up for 447 straight nights without an absence until he injured his thumb in 2017.

He was a lob threat and solid screener, too, offensively, who earned generational wealth mainly off keeping possessions for James alive.

In the first quarter of Game 6 of the 2016 Finals, Thompson picked up nine rebounds as the Cavaliers raced out to a 20-point lead over the defending champions. In Game 7 at the Oracle, he blocked a lob to Festus Ezeli and then victimized him, rejecting his dunk on a rim roll two-and-a-half minutes later.

Thompson led the 2015 and 2016 Finals in offensive rebounds. He also finished third in Playoff minutes for the team behind James and Smith and first in offensive rebounding.

No. 2: Craig Ehlo

Ehlo was a 6-foot-6 shooting guard who succeeded in Cleveland, his second NBA stop. He is infamously remembered by most young people who have seen the tape of Michael Jordan’s game-winner against the Cavaliers on May 7, 1989, but Ehlo had 24 points on nine of 15 shots that night. And fun fact: the two players he mentioned when asked who he hated guarding the most were Larry Bird and Clyde Drexler.

He was a good rotation player, assisting on 17.5% of his teammates’ field goals in Cleveland, per Basketball Reference. Mr. Everything (Ehlo) was a tough shot-maker and was decent on defense as well, being able to guard multiple positions.

In seven seasons with Cleveland, Ehlo played at least 80 games four times and completed three full campaigns. Ehlo is 10th in regular season Cavalier assists and 12th in made triples.