Ranking every No. 1 overall draft pick to play for the Cavaliers

Kyrie Irving and LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images
Kyrie Irving and LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images /
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Cleveland Cavaliers
Shaquille O’Neal, Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

No. 5: Shaquille O’Neal, 53 games

15 All-Star Games. 14 All-NBA selections. Four-time champion. Three-time Finals MVP. 2000 MVP of the league. 10th in career scoring, 9th in career blocks. Shaquille O’Neal racked up quite a list of accomplishments during his long career after being selected first overall by the Orlando Magic in the 1992 NBA Draft. Unfortunately, not much of it came for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Big Aristotle had already been through Orlando, Los Angeles, Miami and Phoenix before the Suns traded him to the Cleveland Cavaliers prior to the 2009-10 season. O’Neal started at center for LeBron James’ last Cavs team before taking his talents to South Beach.

Shaq averaged 12 points, 6.7 rebounds and shot 56.6 percent from he field, a strong mark but not the league-leaging efficiency he often boasted (he led the league in field goal percentage a whopping 10 times on four different teams). After that season ended ignominiously, the 38-year-old O’Neal signed with the Boston Celtics for one more season.

No. 4: Austin Carr, 635 games

The Cleveland Cavaliers went 15-67 in their first season in the NBA, lining them up for the first overall pick in the 1971 NBA Draft. They used the pick on 6’4″ scoring guard Austin Carr out of Notre Dame. The high-octane offensive force was named to the All-Rookie team and averaged 21.2 points per game right out of the gate.

Carr was an All-Star in his third season but otherwise was chucking up shots on poor teams; he played nine full seasons in Cleveland but made the playoffs just three times. He was the team’s first “star” and while he had some major holes in his skillset no one doubted his ability to score.