The Cleveland Cavaliers have been the team to beat in the Eastern Conference ever since LeBron James decided to come back home after a brief and successful tenure with the Miami Heat, mostly because how stacked the team has been ever since.
LeBron fulfilled his promise and brought a Championship to the Q alongside Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, but his supporting cast has been far from impressive to say the least over this campaign, and he just beat the Pacers in the 1st round of the playoffs with none of his teammates scoring at least 20 points on any game of the series.
That obviously means this team’s on trouble, and if they need to have Bron going for 45-10-10 on a nightly basis, they’re not likely to be Championship bound. But, could you imagine how this team could’ve fared have they drafted properly instead of picking some of the busts they gone with over the last couple of years?
Today, we’re going to do a major ‘what if’; taking a look at the Cavaliers’ past couple of drafts in order to create the ultimate epic lineup. Note: for the purposes of this articles, we’re just going to pretend the Love for Wiggins trade never happened.
PG: Kyrie Irving
The Cleveland Cavaliers lost their starting point guard this season after Kyrie Irving forced a move out of the team, arguably tired of sharing touches and the spotlight with LeBron James after the couple led the team to a Championship a couple of seasons ago, with Kyrie’s epic shot in Game 7.
Kyrie was used to running the show at the Q before LeBron’s comeback and everybody here knows his ability to cross defenders and put them on skates with great ease, as well as being one of the clutchest, most versatile and talented scorers in the world.
SG: Klay Thompson (2011 NBA Draft)
Back in 2011, the Cleveland Cavaliers were entitled of the 4th overall pick, a pick they completely wasted in Tristan Thompson; a guy that never developed any kind of offensive skills; that completely lacks defensive unawareness and that doesn’t bring anything to the table beside his offensive rebounding skills.
Had they gone with Klay Thompson at 4th, they would’ve landed arguably the best pure shooter in all of the NBA, not to mention one of the most suffocating backcourt defenders due to his top-notch lateral quickness and great hands. Eventually, Klay would slip all the way to the 11th pick, a major mistake by most teams.
SF: Giannis Antetokounmpo (2013 NBA Draft)
The 2013 NBA Draft wasn’t pretty much loaded with talent, and other than Victor Oladipo; scouts weren’t really sure about finding a future superstar. Nonetheless, Cleveland’s decision to draft Anthony Bennett 1st overall was questionable to say the least, and most people believe their hand was kind of force in order not to pair Oladipo with the already controversial Dion Waiters.
Needless to say, Bennett winds up being one of the league’s biggest busts ever, while Giannis Antetokounmpo was drafted 15th overall by Milwaukee as an unknown kid out of Greece. It’s fair to say that pick definitely paid off for the Bucks, as Giannis is the kind of MVP caliber talent that comes once on a generation.
PF: LeBron James
This guy doesn’t need any kind of introductions. LeBron James IS Cleveland, he is the soul of the Cavs and by far the most important player in franchise history, not to mention the best small forward in the history of the game and one of the best to ever lace them up; and the lone reason why they’re still Championship contenders.
James has never had this kind of support cast next to him, although his Championship squads were always stacked. Still, it’s pretty crazy to wonder how far this team could go altogether, with James being known for his outstanding ability to make everybody around him better with his great basketball IQ.
C: Andre Drummond (2012 NBA Draft)
Andre Drummond is one of the most underrated talents in the league by a long shot, as besides being a major force in both ends of the glass and even a consistent scorer, he’s finally improving as one of the league’s top-notch rim protectors, and the kind of true big James has lacked for most of his career (other than Mozgov and Ilgauskas).
Drummond could’ve gone to the Cleveland Cavaliers with the 4th overall pick in 2012, but instead, he winds up slipping to the 9th spot while the Cavs would’ve gone with Dion Waiters. Even though Waiters is a solid talent, he was a ball-hogging stubborn and spoiled player that always thought of him as way better than he actually was.
6th Man: Andrew Wiggins (2014 NBA Draft)
And finally, Andrew Wiggins would’ve been the cherry on top of the sundae for this team as their offensive spark off the bench; and perhaps he would’ve actually reached his ceiling under LeBron James tutelage; especially in the defensive end of the floor where he’s looked lost and uncommitted through his entire career.
Wiggins is extremely talented but he’s nowhere near what was expected out of him, so having him off the bench for this team wouldn’t be crazy if you actually think about it. Moreover, with him learning from the best player in the world, he could eventually carry his torch and become one of the league’s greatest superstars.