Archive for the ‘#CavsRank’ Category

#CavsRank – Number 3: Brad Daugherty (and Brad’s Bacon-Cheddar Special!)

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

I used the above video as header for the last piece I wrote that mentioned Brad Daugherty. Likely, I will use it somewhere in every piece I write about Daugherty.

More than his five All-Star trips in eight seasons wearing the only pro uniform he ever would — the orange “Cavs” or “Cleveland” as short a distance over his number 43 as the basketball rim was over Daugherty’s own head — more than his 10,389 career points (a club best when he retired and still good for third best now), more than his distinctive drawl and a hairline that, at times, was practically Boozerian in its encroachment (Carlos Boozer’s, of course, attacked from below, from his upper chest, while Daugherty’s threatened to cover his lower brow as thoroughly as Batman’s cowl), more than all of that, memories of Daugherty — for me, anyway — endure because he had his own card and sandwich.

bdaugherty93topps1 Beyond Brad’s Bacon-Cheddar Special, my own relationship with Daugherty the player (not the pitch man), involved decidedly less salivation.  I came to the Cavs at a time when those Lenny Wilkens-coached teams were still in their prime. But it was a post-“The Shot” world and our eventual narrative — that it was a time when a fine collection of Cleveland players just never could get over the number 23-shaped hump that was Michael Jordan — was already sketched out, if not yet fully inked in. So, the baby steps of my first rabid sports team attachment were not made in awe of how good this team was (and just how difficult it is to find players that good and make a team work that well) but, rather, in abject dissatisfaction that my chosen team was made of the stuff that breaks hearts. My dissatisfaction centered, unfairly so, on my team’s center, on Daugherty and the “soft” label that clung to him like an early-90s mock turtleneck.


#CavsRank: Number 4 – Larry Nance!

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014


Larry Nance won’t make the Hall of Fame.

You won’t hear his name first off most people’s lips when talking about the best, most talented players of the mid-80s/early-90s. He wasn’t even, the truly unindoctrinated might argue, the most memorable player on his own teams whose most enduring legacy is their disadvantage of playing at the same time as a force of nature took hold in Chicago, their coming up short.

He never led the Cavs in scoring or rebounding and his personality came across as professional and subdued on a team known (perhaps unfairly so) for its overall lack of spit.

So, why even bring up the Hall? Why bring up the era’s greats when Nance wasn’t even the best player on his team?

Because, the thing is, the best player on a consistent playoff and championship contender may be exactly the player that Larry Nance was.


#CavsRank! At number 7, it’s Terrell Brandon

Monday, March 17th, 2014

Brandon SI Cover

Ben Cox of WFNY gives us a wonderful profile of one of the most underrated players in Cleveland history.

“Brandon (and his era of Cleveland basketball) is routinely overlooked. In fact, how little people knew of Brandon was one of the main takeaways from the famous Sports Illustrated piece.



#20: Mo Williams & Nate Thurmond by Carter Rodriguez, Real Cavs Fans.
#19: Craig Ehlo by David Zavac, Fear the Sword.
#18: Lenny Wilkens by Jacob Rosen, WFNY.
#17: Bingo Smith by Scott Raab.
#16: Ron Harper by Ben Cox, WFNY.
#15: Andre Miller by Kirk Lammers, WFNY.
#14: Jim Chones by Ryan Mourton, Fear the Sword.
#13: Campy Russell by Ryan Mourton, Fear the Sword.
#12: Shawn Kemp by Robert Attenweiler, Cavs: The Blog.
#11: Hot Rod Williams by Kevin Hetrick, Cavs: The Blog.
#10: World B. Free by Scott Sargent, WFNY.
#9:  Anderson Varejao by Andrew Schnitkey, WFNY.
#8:  Kyrie Irving, Mallory Factor, Cavs: The Blog.
#7:  Terrell Brandon, Ben Cox, WFNY.
#6:  Austin Carr, Cleveland Jackson, Stepien Rules.
#5:  Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Kirk Lammers, WFNY. Nate Smith, Cavs: The Blog. Tom Pestak, Cavs: The Bog.
#4:  Larry Nance, Robert Attenweiler, Cavs:The Blog.
#3:  ???
#2:  ???
#1:  ???

Get ready for it! At number eight in #CavsRank, it’s Kyrie Irving!

Monday, March 10th, 2014

I’m in a tough spot: on the one hand, there’s no question we all know just about everything there is to know about the amazing Kyrie.  We’ve all seen him play. We’re acutely aware of his elite skills (and, in the case of his defense, deficiencies), and we can all probably remember at least one spectacular thing Kyrie has done.  On the other hand, how can one possibly summarize a player who has just begun to scratch the surface of his career?  Therein lies exactly what makes Kyrie so special to Cavs fans; while the tenure has been largely awesome, sometimes average, and at times truly awful, the story has barely been written on what is generally expected to be a special career.  A career that, if all goes accordingly, will be one for the Cleveland ages.


#CavsRank – No. 5 Zydrunas Ilgauskus

Friday, March 7th, 2014

Editor’s note: in honor of the retirement of Big Z’s jersey this weekend, we’re going out of order. In addition, all the sites involved in #CavsRank, will be doing a profile on Ilgauskas. Here is WFNY’s profile,. While Kirk focused on the basketball side of Z’s contributions, I chose to focus on what a unique individual Z was, and his more ethereal contributions and history with the Cavaliers. Tom Pestak also contributed significantly to this article and will be posting more on Z tomorrow.

Zydrunas Ilgauskas was born in Kaunus, Lithuania, then a part of the USSR, on June 5th, 1975, when Leonid Brezhnev was the Soviet Premier. Ilgauskas watched the collapse of the Soviet Union during his early teens, and when he was 14, Z’s country became the first republic to declare its independence from the USSR. Ilgauskas talked about that moment, and the corresponding Soviet invasion with Mary Schmitt Boyer in 2012, when the film, The Other Dream Team, about the 1992 Lithuanian Bronze Medal team, was released.

He [Ilgauskas] was 15 in January, 1991, when his father woke him up in the middle of the night to tell him the Russians had invaded their hometown of Vilnius, Lithuania. With air-raid sirens and car horns blaring, the family gathered around the television to watch the news. There were soldiers and tanks everywhere. One of the armored vehicles even ran over a young girl.

I was at a game during the holidays some years back, and they interviewed everyone and asked them what their favorite memory was, and Z’s answer was, “the first year we were allowed to have a Christmas tree.”  Z’s career represents a bridge not just from the 90’s Mike Fratello led Cavs to the LeBron James years, but Z is also a bridge to the end of the Cold War and the first wave of basketball players from the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc to play in the NBA.


In honor of Zydrunas, an early roll-out of #5 in #CavsRank!

Friday, March 7th, 2014


On account of his jersey retirement tomorrow, today several of the sites involved in #CavsRank are publishing articles about Zydrunas Ilgauskas.  Keep an eye out for each throughout the day, including Nate Smith later at Cavs: the Blog.  Here is Kirk Lammers at WaitingforNextYear discussing the 5th greatest Cavalier of all-Time.

Drumroll, please…At 9 in #CavsRank, it’s Anderson Varejao!!

Thursday, March 6th, 2014


This is when #CavsRank really gets fun.  Moving into the top ten, today at Waiting for Next Year, Andrew Schnitkey offers a fantastic look at the everyone’s favorite Cavalier, Anderson Varejao.

Get well soon, Andy.  A return for Z’s jersey retirement would be epic.

#CavsRank Marches On…Into the Top Ten! At 10, it’s World B Free!

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014


Today at Waiting for Next Year, Scott Sargent moves #CavsRank into the Top Ten.  World B. Free served up high scoring for the Cavs from the early to mid-198o’s.

#Cavsrank – At 13 It’s Campy Russell!

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

Apologies to Ryan Mourton over at Fear the Sword. We are a little late linking to his piece on Campy Russell, this afternoon, and due to some scheduling conflicts, Campy appears slightly out of order in the #Cavsrank countdown. It seems indicative of Campy’s career: greatness combined with unfortunate timing (through no fault of his own).

#CavsRank – At 11, It’s Hot Rod Williams!

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014


Compared to the other #CavsRankers,  my criteria skewed towards players who did the “dirty work”.  I ranked Jim Brewer 16th, higher than anyone else.  I tabbed Andy as 7th, of whom only two people were more fond.  And I placed John Williams as the sixth best Cavalier of all-time, the highest such spot that “Hot Rod” received.  Maybe I was giving bonus points for great hair, too.  Varejao and Williams certainly qualify.