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The Most Talented Cavalier Roster In History

What an exciting few weeks it has been for the Cleveland Cavaliers. With recent news showing that Kevin Love has just been acquired by Cleveland, the Cavaliers have not only improved their roster from what it was last year, Cleveland may have created a roster that is better than any other team that has suited up for the Wine and Gold in their franchise history.

How this team will play together on the court is yet to be determined, however talent wise, the 2014-2015 Cavaliers roster could be the strongest to ever take the court. To determine accurately if a historic season is in the making for Cleveland, it is necessary to compare this roster to that of some of the best seasons the Cavaliers have ever had. Two of the most successful seasons in Cleveland were the 1991-1992 season and the 2006-2007 season. In both seasons, the Cavaliers experienced much success and were able to make deep playoff runs. However, how do the rosters of these teams compare to the upcoming roster of the 2014-2015 Cavaliers?

In 1991-1992, the Cavs had quite the season. They finished the season with a record of 57-25, which abled the Cavs to become second in the Eastern Conference. In the post season that year, the Cleveland Cavaliers made it past the New Jersey Nets and the Boston Celtics before losing to Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. Lead by Brad Daugherty, Larry Nance, and Mark Price, the Cavs were able to many games. The 91-92 Cavaliers were a tremendous team, however it is unknown if their team was better or worse than the team in Cleveland today. Having put their best against the 2015 roster, who would appear more dominant?

First on the list would be big man Brad Daughtery, standing at seven feet tall. Daughtery, a former number one draft pick, had a great season in 1991. He led his team in scoring and averaged 22 points a game. Brad was also great at bringing down rebounds during that season; his average was over ten a game. Due to his height and his constant demand for the ball, if Brad Daughtery were to play against today’s Cavaliers, Anderson Varejao would be covering him. Varejao comes very close to matching Daughtery’s height; however he is a tad shorter at 6’11. Since Brad is taller than Anderson, he has a longer reach and therefore would be better at rebounding. As far as Brad being a dominant scorer, Anderson would be able to limit Daughtery’s numbers. Vajerao is a great low post defender and has a knack for not letting players he is covering score in the paint, the place in which most of Daughtery’s points came from.

Next on the list of the stars on the 1991-1992 Cavaliers would be Larry Nance. Nance was the team’s starting power forward and was great at what he did. During the remarkable season, Nance was another scoring threat and put up about 17 points per game. Similarly to Brad Daughtery, Nance was very good at rebounding and averaged more than eight a game. Larry Nance is another big man who stands at 6’10; however he is relatively light for his size and weighed only 205 in his prime. The player to match up against him on the Cavaliers squad today would be Kevin Love. Love is an All-Star power forward and would have no problem shutting down Larry Nance. Kevin is the exact same height as Larry Nance was at 6’10, and actually weighs almost forty more pounds. Since he far outweighs Nance, Love would be able to post him up and put up points inside the paint. Love would also have much success with outside shooting because Nance would more than likely not be as adept to defending an outside shot as power forwards back in the day were mainly guys who stayed down low.

Third on the list of the major threats the 1991-1992 Cavs posed would be starting point guard Mark Price. Compared to the NBA players of today, Price would be considered short since he is only six feet tall and weighs in at only 170. During the 1991-1992 season, Price was able to generate solid numbers. He was amongst the top of the scoring threats of the Cavs and averaged 17 points a game. Another one of Price’s strong points was his ability to dish the ball and get a ton of assists. Mark Price was the kind of player that made players around him better. Price would more than likely play against Kyrie Irving. Kyrie is 6’3 and 193 pounds, much larger in size than Price and therefore would defensively dominate Price. Irving has the same style as Price in the fact that he is a great scorer as well as a great passer. Kyrie is a quick athlete and would be able to cover Mark Price step for step.

To sum up both teams, the 1991-1992 Cavs against todays Cavs, today’s team would take the game. Out of the three players talked about above, it appears that Brad Daughtery would win the match up against Varejao, however Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving would win each of their respected matchups. Along with some obvious help from LeBron James who is a nightmare for anyone to cover, the 2014-2015 Cavaliers would be able to beat the Cavaliers of 1991-1992.

With the analysis that the Cavs today are better than the Cavs in the 90’s, it is almost safe to say that the 2015 Cavs will be the greatest Cavaliers team ever to take the court. However, another comparison to a Cleveland team of the past still needs to be made. During LeBron’s first stint with the Cavaliers, the team had incredible success during one season in particular. During that 2006-2007 season, the Cavaliers went deeper in the playoffs than they ever had before. Cleveland made it all the way to the NBA Finals until losing to Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs in four games. During the 2006-2007 season the Cavs were led by a young LeBron James who at the time was only twenty two years old. Along with LeBron, the best players on the team were Larry Hughes, Zydrunas Illgauskas, and Drew Gooden. Since LeBron is on both rosters, to see who is truly the better team, we will have to look at the King’s supporting cast in both years.

{adinserter 2} It would only be right to start off with the big man himself Big Z, Zydrunas Illgauskas, whose jersey the Cavaliers retired last year. In a matchup against the 2014-2015 Cavaliers, Big Z would match up against his long time back up Anderson Varejao. In 2006-2007, Anderson Varejao was still playing in Cleveland; however he was not a starter and was not the same player he is today. In 2006-2007, Illgauskas was phenomenal at scoring points in the paint and averaged 12 points a game. Big Z’s strongest part of his game was his defense; he was a threat to whoever he covered and was endowed when it came to his rebound game. In a head to head matchup against Varejao, we would have to take Zydrunas Illgauskas due to the fact that he is so much taller than Anderson. Big Z got his name due to his large stature as he is 7’3. That is considerably taller than Anderson Varejao, and because of this height advantage, Anderson would have a tough time matching up against Zydrunas on both offense and defense end.

Next on the list of the best players on the 2006 Cavs would be Larry Hughes. Larry was the Cavaliers starting Point Guard and therefore would matchup against Kyrie Irving. Hughes stands at 6’5 and 185 pounds. Kyrie is even with Larry as far as height and weight; however when it comes to talent, Kyrie is much better. Kyrie has talent that not many others possess. From outside shooting to driving in and scoring, Kyrie can really score in every way possible. Although Larry Hughes was quite the player during the 2006-2007 season and averaged 15 baskets, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists, Kyrie would still dominate him on the court.

Last on the list of Cavs players in 2006-2007 would be Drew Gooden. Gooden was the Cavaliers Power Forward. Like LeBron, Drew Gooden was very young in 2006; today he still plays in the league and is on the Washington Wizards. The year the Cavs made it to the finals, Drew Gooden had some pretty decent stats and averaged 11 buckets along with over 8 rebounds throughout the regular season. In a matchup with today’s Cavaliers, Gooden would match up against Kevin Love. Love is an All-Star and would easily handle Gooden. Kevin is a more dominant scorer, rebounder, and an all-around bigger asset to his team. Kevin Love can score from anywhere on the court; he has the size to play down low and score from in the paint, but he also has a jump shot and is capable of making threes. Both Kevin Love and Drew Gooden are around the same height at 6’10 and both weigh close to 250 pounds; however, Love has more athleticism and is much more talented.

It may be unknown how this upcoming Cavaliers team will play together or how long it will take them to jell and play as a team, however as far as how the team looks on paper it appears that this Cavaliers team is the best that we’ve ever had here in Cleveland. For the first time in a very long time, the Cleveland Cavaliers have not one, not two, but three former All-Stars in LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love. The future is shining brighter than ever before in Cleveland and all of Ohio should be looking for immediate success from this Cavalier roster.

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