I am privileged to introduce something big today. Recently, eighteen of your favorite Cavs bloggers, plus another writer, combined forces to rank the best Cavaliers in franchise history. We’re calling it #CavsRank. The guidelines were that the rankings should only consider the players’ time spent in Cleveland. Each writer had the freedom to prioritize whatever criterion they wished: short runs of brilliance; many years of solid play; critical impact to the franchise’s winningest teams; or awesome hair.
Each blogger submitted a list of his top twenty Cavaliers, with 20 points awarded for a #1 ranking, down to one point awarded for the player ranked 20th. All the numbers were tallied and a composite Top 20 list was derived.
- Mallory, Robert, Tom and me from Cavs:the Blog
- Carter Rodriguez and Josh Lockwood from realcavsfans.com
- Ryan Mourton, David Zavac, Patrick Elder and Justin Rowan from fearthesword.com
- Andrew Schnitkey, Scott Sargent, Jacob Rosen, Ben Cox, and Kirk Lammers of waitingfornextyear.com
- Cleveland Jackson of stepienrules.com
- Amin Vafa and Eric Maroun of hardwoodparoxysm.com, and
- Scott Raab, writer of The Whore of Akron and a contributor to Esquire.
Over the next month, articles will rotate amongst the sites, counting down from #20 to #1. We are all excited, whether it is reliving the Zydrunas Ilgauskas teams of the 2000’s; remembering the Price – Daugherty – Nance squads of the late 80’s and early 90’s; basking in the glow of individual stars like World B Free, Shawn Kemp and Terrell Brandon; or even talking about guys from the 1970’s that most of us never witnessed. Fortunately, several of those early greats continue to make an impact on Cavalier basketball, including Mr. Cavalier himself, Austin Carr.
The top twenty will start tomorrow, but first, a look at the “others receiving votes”.
#30 – Wesley Person – A couple lists included him near the bottom. He played five seasons in Cleveland, but on teams that only experienced one playoff series. Ranking fourth in franchise history for made three pointers, he also sits 2nd in three point field goal percentage and effective field goal percentage.
#29 – Mike Mitchell - Suiting up for the Cavs in the late 70’s and early 80’s, he was a high-scoring small forward, providing the fifth most points per game in team history and making the 1981 All-Star team. Of course, he also averaged one assist per game on teams that never made the playoffs, finishing 20th, 14th and 19th for defense (of 22 teams). Four guys found a place for Mr. Mitchell near the end of their rankings.
#28 – Danny Ferry - Ranking second in franchise history in games played, fifth in 3-pointers made, and fourth in personal fouls, two #CavsRankers put Ferry on their list, with one of those considering him 16th best (Crazy Tom Pestak). Presumably that was extra credit for time spent as GM.
#27 – Jim Brewer - Three of us placed this defensive stopper in our top twenty, with one #16 ranking and one #17 ranking. Actually, I ranked him highest. Making two all-defensive second teams, he helped anchor the fourth ranked defense for the 1976 Eastern Conference Finalist team. Leading the team in rebounds during that playoff run, he sits eighth all-time for the Cavs in that category.
#26 – John Johnson - This man received one vote for #Cavsrank, but that was seventh place (David Zavac). The very first Cavalier, drafted seventh in 1970, he played in two All-Star games. In three seasons in Cleveland, he averaged 16 points and 7 rebounds per game for the expansion Cavaliers.
#25 – Daniel “Boobie” Gibson - Six #CavsRankers put Boobie in the top twenty, peaking with Patrick Elder at #13. He played nearly 400 regular season games in the Wine & Gold, and also 50 in the playoffs. His efforts in the 2007 run to the NBA Finals were awesome, and he drained the third most three pointers in Cavalier history.
#24 – Delonte West - Only four guys found room for Redz, but strong advocates existed with two #14 rankings. Delonte started for the 66-win 2009 team and was universally loved for his defense, gritty effort, and love of donuts & KFC.
#23 – Tyrone Hill - Eric Maroun placed this 1995 All-Star at #15, leading seven #Cavsrankers. Hill played for a series of teams in the mid-1990’s that finished with 42 wins or more for four straight seasons, including three playoff berths. In his All-Star season, he averaged 14 & 11, finishing second in the NBA for rebounding rate.
#22 – Brevin Knight - Five of us slotted this 1998 first-team all Rookie into our lists, highlighted by Josh Lockwood at 12th. Knight lead the NBA in steals his rookie season, peaking early with 9 points, 8 assists, and 2.5 thefts for a playoff team including Z, Shawn Kemp and Wesley Person. After three seasons in Cleveland, he was dealt for Jim Jackson.
Tomorrow, with a tie at #20, #CavsRank gets into the elite of the elite. Keep tabs on the various #CavsRankers on twitter, because this next month will be a roller coaster of fond memories and incredulous disbelief. I know the suspense is killing you.