Cleveland Cavaliers Mount Rushmore: LeBron’s Team Forever
The Cavaliers joined the NBA in 1970 as an expansion team, and over many years, struggled to find success. That is, until a man named LeBron James came along, just as the team won the lottery and received the #1 Draft Pick. Today we take a look at the career of the man who transformed the franchise, his sidekick, and a couple of other players who round out the Cavaliers Mount Rushmore.
It all starts here. The man who single-handedly took the team from the bottom to the top of the NBA, left, came back, and finished his quest to give the franchise their first championship. James’ career shouldn’t be possible. From day one in the league he was an absolute star, and he now has a chance at this season’s scoring title 18 years later at age 37. He has transformed how we view the modern day athlete, never taking a day off in 19 years and putting the very best version of himself out there every day, whether it’s on or off the court. Although he was ultimately only able to deliver Cleveland one title, he will forever be the best the city has ever seen.
This may be a controversial pick, but the sidekick for the franchise’s only championship automatically has a great case to be included. LeBron had “the block”, and Kyrie had “the shot” that helped the team come back in 2016 from a 3-1 deficit to the Warriors, the greatest regular-season team of all-time. Irving only spent 6 seasons with the Cavaliers, but fans can partly attribute LeBron’s decision to come back to Irving’s rise as a player. Irving ranks inside the top 9 in Cavs history in points, assists, steals, field goals made, free-throws made, and 3-pointers made. While we’ve seen his off the court drama lose him some fans in recent years, he always rose in the biggest moments for the Cavs.
The last two spots for the Cavaliers Mount Rushmore were tough to choose from, but Daugherty was simply too dominant to leave off this list. After 8 great seasons, his career was cut short due to nagging back injuries. During those 8 years, he averaged 19.0 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 3.7 assists, making 5 All-Star teams. Despite the shortened career, Daugherty sits at third all-time in Cavs points, fourth all-time in Cavs rebounds, and third all-time in total win shares, showing just how dominant he truly was. Budding superstar big men Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley could certainly look at Daugherty’s game for tools on how to be a truly dominant all-around big man.
Rounding out the list is the player who had to be included on this list as the quintessential point guard. Price ranks second to only LeBron in Cavaliers all-time assists, steals, and win shares, and he comes in fifth place in points as well. The Cavs were a solid team with him leading the way, making the playoffs in 7 of the 9 seasons he was on the team for. Unfortunately, they could never make it to the NBA Finals, but don’t doubt Price’s impact on the team through his scoring and playmaking abilities. Add in his 50% field goal/40% 3-point/90% free throw ability, and Price has one of the best combinations of efficient scoring and smart passing that the game has ever seen, making him the final selection for the Cavaliers Mount Rushmore.