The Cava-List: Top Second-Rounders
In just over two weeks, the Wine and Gold will have a pair of second-rounders to go with their two firsts – including the top overall pick. Over the course of the franchise’s history, they’ve struck gold in the second round. (Or let another team find gold and cut a great deal that brought them here.)
The Cavaliers have hit on some picks beyond the second round, but it’s been few and far between. In the third round, they tabbed Foots Walker in 1974, Winston Bennett in 1988 and Bill Laimbeer in 1979 – although the Pistons reaped the fruits of Cleveland’s labor on the latter.
In today’s Cava-List, we present arguably the 10 first-best second-rounders in franchise history …
10. Eddie Jordan – Eddie Jordan only played 22 games with the Wine and Gold after being taken with the 33rd overall pick in the 1977 Draft. He was released on Dec. 12, of his rookie year, picked up by the Nets and went on to average 8.1 points, 3.8 assists in a seven-year playing career. He was part of the trade that brought former Cavs coach Byron Scott to the Lakers, but is best known to Cavs fans as the coach of his hometown Wizards, Cleveland’s playoff nemesis in three straight postseasons. In his nine-year NBA coaching career, Jordan was 257-343 and was recently hired to helm his alma mater’s beleaguered squad at Rutgers.
9. Jason Kapono – Ok, this is one that kinda got away. He was the 31st pick of the 2003 Draft out of UCLA – coming to Camp as the guy taken in the second round of the LeBron Draft. Kapono went to the Bobcats in the expansion Draft after a nondescript rookie season. He eventually went on to win the Three-Point Shootout twice, led the league in three-point shooting in consecutive seasons and win a Championship with the Heat in 2006. Kapono was drafted one selection before Luke Walton in 2003 and, in the end, was part of the deal that brought Walton to the Cavs in 2011. He was waived three days later.
8. Johnny Newman – Newman was selected with the 29th pick in arguably the best Draft class in team history, and that wound up getting him out of Cleveland. It wasn’t that he wasn’t valuable; Newman went on to play for 1,159 games and score 12740 points over a 15-year career. But in 1988, he was stuck behind the guy drafted No. 8 overall – Ron Harper.7. Chucky Brown – Chucky Brown was drafted 43rd overall out of North Carolina State – 18 picks after that year’s top pick, John Morton. Morton wound up logging 109 games. Brown played in 151 games in two seasons with the Cavs and went on to play for 13 teams in his NBA career, bouncing around so many times that Cleveland was his second-last stop, signing a pair of 10-day contracts in 2000-01.
6. Cedric Henderson – After getting drafted No. 45 overall out of Memphis, Henderson was one of four Cavs (Brevin Knight, Derek Anderson and Zydrunas Ilgauskas, picked the year before) to appear in the All-Rookie game at All-Star Weekend in New York. He played in all 82 games as a rookie and four seasons with Cleveland. But after averaging 10.1 points as a rookie, his scoring numbers went down each year. Henderson lost a pregame shooting contest to Cavaliers radio producer and play-by-play voice of the Canton Charge, Scott Zurilla, and was traded to Philly – along with Matt Harping and the late Tractor Traylor for Tyrone Hill and Jumaine Jones. His playing career ended in 2002.
5. Carlos Boozer – Despite a prolific college career in which he and his Duke Blue Devils won the 2001 National Championship, Boozer lasted until the 35th overall pick. He played in 156 games for the Cavs and turned in some monster games in his sophomore season, a blue-collar sidekick to rookie, LeBron James. Boozer averaged 12.6 points and 9.3 boards with Cleveland before bolting under ignominious circumstances.
4. Daniel Gibson – The 42nd overall pick of the 2006 Draft, Boobie Gibson just completed his seventh season with the Wine and Gold. Gibson’s rookie season featured one of the greatest playoff performances in franchise history – scoring 31 points to send Cleveland to their first finals appearance – netting 19 in the fourth quarter, going 5-of-5 from beyond the arc. The next year, he hit 11 three-pointers in the Rookie Challenge, winning MVP honors despite not starting the game for the sophomores. He was in the Three-Point Shootout twice – finishing 2nd behind Kapono in 2008. Boobie is currently third on the Cavs all-time three-pointers-made list with 578. He married R&B singer Keyshia Cole in 2011, and both star in the BET reality TV series “Keyshia and Daniel: Family First.”
3. Anderson Varejao – In the wake of Boozer’s bad breakup, GM Jim Paxson engineered one of the great deals in team history, sending Tony Battie and a pair of second-rounders to Orlando for Drew Gooden, Stephen Hunter and the No. 30 overall pick in the 2004 Draft, Anderson Varejao. In his rookie year, he earned the nickname – the Wild Thing – for his reckless, relentless style of play. In 2009-10, Andy was named to the All-Defensive Second Team. He’s been hurt in the second half of the past three seasons, but was vastly improved each season before the injury bug bit. Last year, he was the league’s leading rebounder – at 14.4 rpg – before being sidelined. In Cavaliers team history, he ranks 10th in games played (tied with Phil Hubbard at 469), 9th in blocked shots and 8th in total rebounds (3,544).
2. Hot Rod Williams – Taken 45th overall – in the same Draft that Cavaliers chose Charles Oakley but traded him for Keith Lee – Hot Rod had to spend the 1985-86 season in the USBL after being implicated in a point-shaving scandal at Tulane. But the next season, he made the All-Rookie team alongside Brad Daugherty and Ron Harper. Hot Rod would go on to play nine seasons with Cleveland, reaching the postseason in six of them. Hot Rod is second in team history in offensive boards (1620) and averaged 12.9 points in his nine campaigns. Hot Rod was dealt for Dan Majerle in 1995 and played three seasons with Suns, wrapping up with Dallas after the 1998-99 season.
1. Mark Price – The first-year player from the 1986 Draft that didn’t make the All-Rookie Team with Daugherty and Harper is the No. 1 guy on our list.
Arguably the greatest Draft day steal in Cavaliers history – coincidentally in the same year as the second-best steal: trading Roy Hinson and cash for the rights to select Brad Daugherty – Cleveland made a deal with Dallas, who took a too-short, too-slow point guard from Georgia Teach with the 25th pick. The Cavs sent a 1989 second-rounder (Jeff Hodge) to the Mavericks for Price, who had to wait one season before unseating the incumbent John Bagley.
Other than in 1991-92, in which he tore his ACL, the Cavs made the playoffs and won no less than 42 games in each year that Price was a starter. He was a four-time All-Star – in 1989, ‘92, ‘93, and ’94 – and named All-NBA in 1988-89, 1991-92, 1992-93, and 1993-94, including All-NBA First Team in 1992-93. Price even won the Three-Point Shootout in back-to-back seasons, in 1993 and 1994.
For his career, the sleepy-eyed Price ranked first in team history in three point field goals made, free throw percentage and assists. He ranks in the top 10 in steals (2nd), points scored (5th), free throws made (5th), three-point FG percentage (6th), field goals made (6th), games played (6th), minutes played (7th), free throws attempted (7th).
And because of all that, the 25th player taken in the 1986 Draft had his uniform number – 25 retired into the rafters of The Q on November 13, 1999.