Welcome to the tenth installment of 30 Teams, 30 Years, 30 Drafts featuring the Cleveland Cavaliers. This series takes you through each of the teams’ draft picks from 1978-2008 and evaluates how they fared. The Cavaliers are one of the more middling teams we have seen so far. Check out the notes below to find out more about draft picks such as Ron Harper, Vitaly Potapenko and many more.
Total Score: 3.176
View the previous teams and their scores here:
Boston Celtics – 3.885
Philadelphia 76ers – 2.561
Toronto Raptors – 2.659
Orlando Magic – 2.861
Charlotte Bobcats – 2.225
New York Knicks – 2.471
New Jersey Nets – 2.49
Atlanta Hawks – 1.258
Miami Heat – 2.743
Milwaukee Bucks – 3.616
Chicago Bulls – 2.93
Let us know in the comments below who you think their best and worst draft picks were.
To see how the score was calculated, check out the intro post here.
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1- Mike Mitchell is one of the lost players of the 80’s. He finished in the top 10 in scoring 4 times and his career scoring average of 19.8 is actually good for 57th on the all time list. However this was done on some brutally bad Cavs and Spurs team and he was only able to crack one All Star Team. He died in 2011 of cancer. After his career ended he served as a counselor for at-risk kids in San Antonio, so he seemed to be an All-Star in life as well. Last year he died of cancer. RIP, Mike.
2- Stewart was picked with a compensation pick the Cavs received because their owner Ted Stepien had traded away so many first round picks for crappy players for many years (one of those became James Worthy). That’s right, the Cavs owner was so bad they got an extra first round pick for it. Clearly this is the gold standard Charles Dolan and Isiah Thomas were trying to live up to. Sadly the pick didn’t do much good for the Cavs, as you can see by the score he received.
3- Drafted over Alvin Robertson.
4- Keith was originally drafted by the Bulls. The Cavs originally drafted Charles Oakley then traded him on draft night for Keith Lee. Keith went on to play 182 games in 3 seasons. Charles Oakley went on to become the NBAs version of Shaft while playing in 19 seasons. Bad trade by Cleveland, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t punish them some how. They lose two points here.
5- John averaged 18.2 ppg in the 89-90 season. However this was done in only 18 games, as injury cut his season short. Due to this I couldn’t give him credit for a 16ppg season in regards to scoring. John’s pro career was also delayed due to him being on trial for point shaving. After being found not guilty in his second trial (the first ended in a mistrial), he joined the Cavs and was named to the All Rookie Team.
6- Yes, Ron is a 5 time NBA Champion. Yes, he made the All Rookie Team. However the highlight of Ron Harper’s career was clearly his appearance on the iconic Keenan and Kel show. Years from now nobody will remember who the point guard for the 96-98 Bulls was, but they will always remember who the athlete who hurt himself by slipping on Kel’s beloved orange soda was.
7- You may remember Chris from one of the greatest NBA bloopers of all time. In a 1999 game against the Dallas Mavericks, Mills attempted to score on the wrong basket immediately after the opening tip. Amazingly enough, his shot attempt on the wrong basket was blocked by Samaki Walker.
8- It took over 15 years and 25 picks for the Cavs to draft someone who never made it to the NBA. Unfortunately for the Cavs, this does not reflect in their score.
9- Drafted above Michael Finley.
10- Forget Sam Bowie, Vitaly Potapenko should be on a short list of the worst picks of all time. Sorry Vitaly, it’s true. The three picks immediately after Vitaly were Kobe Bryant, Peja Stojakovic and Steve Nash. OUCH! That’s two Hall of Fame players and an All Star. But here’s the kicker. If they liked Vitaly better than those three studs that they drafted him over, why in God’s name would they use their next pick on ANOTHER center! That’s right, the Cavs drafted the Big Z just 8 picks later.
11- When Kapono attempted his 250th three pointer he qualified himself for the 3pt% record and immediately moved into first place on the list. However he has since fallen behind Steve Kerr and others.
12- And you thought Ilgauskaus was a tough name. Martynas suffered a serious brain injury when punched in the head by D-League teammate Awvee Storey. It was thought that he would never play again. While he never returned to the NBA (where he only played six games previously), he did go on to have a career in Europe, which is still going on today.
13- Shannon has 315 games played so far. Odds are he will get to 400 by the time his career is over.
14- Daniel Gibson has 74 starts, only needing 26 more to reach 100.
15- Couple of fun Sasha Kaun facts. Before his rights were traded later that night to the Cavs he was the final pick in SuperSonics history. You may also remember him from the Olympic Tournament these past few weeks. He played for Russia and inspired me to tweet, “Reason #4,124 I could not be an announcer. I totally would have been calling Sasha Kaun, Chaka Khan all tournament.” I decided to give Sasha an N/A as he has not yet attempted to come over from Europe and there is still plenty of time at 27.
16- It was requested that I give a score for the Cavs with LBJ and without LBJ. With LBJ the Cavs score comes to 3.17(St. Patrick’s Day!), which is a well above average score. Without LBJ it falls among the average with a 2.78.