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.
Archive for the ‘#CavsRank’ Category
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).
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.
If there’s one thing that’s become clear in this majestic quilting circle that is #CavsRank, it’s how much we rankers are beholden to memory, whether we are willing to admit to it or not. Sure, we have the stats-spray in our utility belt when we really need to argue for one particular player’s value over another and we can even concede the bump one of the cogs on the Miracle of Richfield team a couple of notches higher than was our first impulse just to prove to ourselves that we are, after all, objective – that we don’t believe that professional basketball in Cleveland was invented in 1985. Or 1997. Or 2003.
But it’s just… so… difficult. We all have the memories of when NBA basketball started to matter to us – when we popped the poison pill of Cavaliers fandom that cast everything after that in its soft-focus haze. Ultimately, we will remember Zydrunas Ilagauskas the way we remember Big Z, we’ll remember Larry Nance the way we remember Larry Nance and we will remember Mike Mitchell the way we remember Mike Mitchell – or, just as possibly, the way we do not. We can learn about players from different eras, but the very fact that we have been passionate about this team at some point makes any complete washing away of the players that incited that passion an extremely difficult exercise, but not one that doesn’t tell us a thing or two about ourselves.
Which brings us to Shawn Kemp.
No player in this ranking has so benefited from our collective memory as Kemp and, the kicker of it all is this: we continue to remember Kemp so powerfully because we remember two completely different versions of the same player. Our ranking is supposed to focus solely on a player’s time as a Cavalier, but it’s impossible to separate what Kemp’s time as a Cavalier was from what he was before and the promise that brought to Cleveland. He was his era’s Blake Griffin: a physical marvel and adept posterizer of defenders who, along with Gary Payton, led the charge for the Seattle Supersonics during their reign (yes, pun intended) as one of the most entertaining teams of the 1990s.
#CavsRank marches on. Today at Fear the Sword, Ryan Mourton interviews Jim Chones, the center and defensive anchor of the Cavs teams from the mid-70’s. Chones ranks 6th in franchise history for rebounds and 5th for blocked shots.
To me, putting Chones 14th is the first place we #CavsRankers really got it wrong. I placed him 8th, due to production, durability, and a prominent place on a series of Playoff teams.
As per Mr. Chones, he doesn’t particularly care where he’s ranked though…he’s got a Ring.
The nice thing about #CavRank is that instead of pondering the issues of today’s team, we can instead reminisce about better days.
A couple of the initial top-20 Cavaliers of all time were veterans ending hall-of-fame careers; Nate Thurmond and Lenny Wilkens spent a memorable period in Cleveland as their time as players drew to a close. The guy at #16 is the opposite of that. Today in #CavsRank, Ben Cox at WFNY discusses Ron Harper, who began his career with the Cavs, averaging 19, 5 and 4 for the early incarnations of the Price-Daugherty teams. Alas, Harper was packaged in one of the worst trades in franchise history, dealt with two first round draft picks, for Danny Ferry. Harper went on to win five NBA championships with the Bulls and Lakers.
Hey, wait a second…#CavsRank was supposed to be fun. This one just stings. Thanks for nothing, history!
Editor’s Note: Today’s post is a guest contribution from Scott Raab, offering a look back at one of the foundation pieces of the early Cavs teams.
The world was young once, and so was I — 18 years old when the Cavs were born in the autumn of 1970, so long ago that the Browns still had a glorious musk, and the Tribe — well, the Tribe sucked, but a general admission ticket cost $2 and you had the joint pretty much to yourself. Cleveland was another city then — bigger, richer, prouder. No one spoke of a curse, because none of that horrid shit had happened yet.
“He was the franchise’s first superstar, well before the days of Brad Daugherty or LeBron James or Kyrie Irving. He averaged 20.5 points, 8.4 assists and 4.6 rebounds in year one with the team. He made his trademark running hooks and scoop shots and racked up the assists. At 35 years old. He only missed one other game the rest of the season season after his early season protest. He earned his incredible ninth All-Star bid.”
It seems completely appropriate that Craig Ehlo’s place in #CavsRank would fall on NBA Trade Deadline day. Ehlo played 500 regular season games for Cleveland and 40 more in the playoffs. He scored 5100 points, grabbed 2300 rebounds, and doled out 1800 assists while with the Cavs. He ranks fourth in franchise history for steals. But he is basically a footnote, remembered primarily as part of a Michael Jordan highlight. Now, his place in #Cavsrank will be forgotten as we instead ponder myriad trade rumors.
Thanks to David Zavac for offering today’s addition to #CavsRank. Give it a read, then resume discussions of what will surely be a new addition to #CavsRank 2018: Spencer Hawes.