Forward: Austin Carr
If you are a current fan of the Cavaliers, you might know Austin Carr as a TV analyst for the team now. But before his media days, he was a fantastic player for the former Cleveland teams of the 1970s. He was drafted in 1971 as the No. 1 pick and it was the first year for the Cavaliers as an actual franchise. Carr helped get the team literally off the ground.
The former Notre Dame collegiate player played nine years for Cleveland and helped get them to the playoffs three times. “The Miracle at Richfield happened in 1976 when the team shocked the Washington Bullets in the Eastern Conference Semifinals and won the series 4-3 to move on to play the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Carr was an All-Star back in 1973 and made it on the All-Rookie team in 1972. He ended up averaging just over 16 points a game in an era that didn’t have the three-point shot yet. He liked to shoot the ball and averaged 15 shots when he played with the team.
Before all of the fanfare that would happen later in franchise history like with the signing of LeBron, there were players like Carr who gave this team an identity from the start.
Forward: LeBron James
That takes us to the greatest player in franchise history, the one and only LeBron James. He was drafted by the team in 2004 and made the Cavaliers instant contenders for NBA titles every season. The team got to their first Finals in 2007 and then went back to them four more timesbetween 2015-2018. The team won the title in 2016, which to this day is the franchise’s only championship in history.
James was everything to this team when he played here. He played for the Cavs in different time frames. He played from that initial 2004 season through the 2010 season but then wanted to escape to paradise and joined the Miami Heat in 2011. He won two championships with the Heat in 2012 and 2013 and then shocked the world again by returning to Cleveland.
James has been a human highlight reel his whole career and now plays for the Los Angeles Lakers. While he played for the Cavs he averaged 27 points, 7 assists, 7.5 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 1 block. He is a 19-time All-Star, won four NBA Finals, and been named NBA MVP multiple years. He has too many other awards to name here or we’d be here until Christmas recounting every other individual award of his.
He will go down as the Cavs greatest player of all time and will contend for the all-time greatest player in NBA history. It sure is nice for Cavalier fans to have watched LeBron James play for their teams over 11 seasons.
I’d take this starting five of the Cavs over any other all-time greats on other NBA squads. I think LeBron James, Austin Carr, Mark Price, Brad Daugherty and Kyrie Irving would be a treat to watch take the court together while they were in their prime.