With the NBA Playoffs nearing their conclusion with the Conference Finals underway, I thought I’d take a look at each of the teams’ all-time starting lineups.
Highlighting the top players in each franchise’s history, the all-time lineup was created using players individual accolades as well as team success during each players’ stint. Beginning with this year’s non-playoff teams and finishing up with this season’s 16 postseason participants, here are the Cleveland Cavaliers all-time starters.
Guard: Kyrie Irving 2011-17
Despite a tumultuous exit, Irving made his mark during his six seasons in Cleveland, making three straight NBA Finals and helping the Cavs win the 2016 NBA Championship.
Irving broke onto the scene immediately at the start of his career, being named to the All-Rookie First Team and winning Rookie of the Year for the 2011-12 season. After two All-Star appearances, a 3-Point Shootout victory and the 2014 All-Star Game MVP Award, Irving got the chance to team up with LeBron James for the next three seasons.
In the next three years, Irving was named an All-Star in 2015 and 2017 and was named Third Team All-NBA in 2015, while winning the NBA championship in 2016, highlighted by the game-winning shot in Game 7 with under a minute remaining, giving the city of Cleveland its first pro sports title since 1964.
Guard: Mark Price 1986-95
During his nine-season run with the Cavs, Price led the way during the franchise’s first period of success, leading the team to seven playoff appearances that included a trip to conference finals in 1992.
During the 1988-89 season, Price made his first All-Star team, while being selected to the All-NBA Third Team and joining the rare 50-40-90 club. He made three more All-Star Games during the rest of his stint, being named to the All-NBA Third Team in 1992 and 1994 and the All-NBA First Team in 1993. Price was also one of the top three-point shooters in the game during his career, where he won the 3-Point Shootout twice. After his career, his No. 25 jersey was retired by Cleveland.
Forward: LeBron James 2003-10, 2014-18
Arguably the greatest player in NBA history, LeBron is the unquestioned all-time greatest player to put on a Cavs uniform.
During his first seven-year stint, James led the teams to five postseasons, reaching the team’s first NBA Finals in 2007. Not only did the team do well, but LeBron racked up the individual accolades as well, beginning with the NBA Rookie Rookie of the Year in 2004 and making six straight All-Star teams from 2005-10. James was also named the NBA All-Star Game MVP twice, to six All-NBA Teams, two All-Defensive Teams, won the 2008 scoring title and took home the NBA MVP in 2009 and 2010.
After a four-year run in Miami, LeBron returned to Cleveland, being named to four straight All-Star teams and four straight All-NBA First Teams, winning the 2018 NBA All-Star Game MVP and the 2016 NBA Finals MVP. During his second stint with the Cavs, James led the franchise to four consecutive NBA Finals (2015-18), winning the championship in 2016.
Forward: Larry Nance 1988-94
During six years in Cleveland, Nance helped lead the team to the 1992 Eastern Conference Finals and five postseasons in six years.
During his run, Nance was named an All-Star twice (1989, 1993), while making the All-Defensive First Team in 1989 and the Second Team in both the 1992 and 1993 campaigns. After his career, his No. 22 jersey was retired by the Cavs.
Center: Brad Daugherty 1986-94
Despite his career being cut short due to chronic back problems, Daugherty became one of the Cavaliers greatest players during his eight seasons with the team, while leading the team to the playoffs six times.
Daugherty was named to five All-Star teams in 1988, 1989 and 1991-93, and was also named to the All-Rookie First Team in 1987 and the All-NBA Third Team in 1992. After retirement, his No. 43 jersey was retired by the Cavaliers in 1997.