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80s All-Decade Team
August 21, 2014
Cavaliers '80s All-Decade Team - G - World B. Free: Often (and accurately) credited as the man who saved pro basketball in Northeast Ohio, World averaged 24.2, 22.3, 22.5 and 23.4 ppg in his four years with the Cavaliers. In Cleveland’s thrilling four-game playoff series against the Celtics in 1986, Free averaged 26.3 ppg.
Cavaliers '80s All-Decade Team - G - World B. Free: In 1978, Free was traded from Philly to the Clippers for a future first-rounder (which turned out to be Charles Barkley). He spent two successful seasons in L.A., averaging 30.2 ppg in his second season and placing second in the scoring title to George Gervin both years. He was dealt to Golden State before making his way to Cleveland in December, 1982 in a straight-up trade for Jim Brewer.
Cavaliers '80s All-Decade Team - G - World B. Free: Free – who was honored by the Cavaliers at The Q in 2005 – played until 1987, finishing with the Houston Rockets and a career scoring average of 20.3 ppg. He was unique enough without the name-change. The receding hairline and muttonchops. The way he curled the jumper behind his head or the jab-step he’d taunt opponents with before unleashing it were World’s trademarks.
Cavaliers '80s All-Decade Team - G - Ron Harper: Appeared in 228 games into his Cavaliers career – after being taken with the 8th overall pick in 1986 – fans almost forget how good Ron Harper actually was with Cleveland – averaging 19.4 ppg in the regular season (good for third-best in Cavs history) and 18.8 ppg in the playoffs.
Cavaliers '80s All-Decade Team - G - Ron Harper: Harper, who was traded seven games into his fourth season with the Cavs, played in all 82 games in two of his three seasons in Cleveland and never averaged less than 15.4 ppg. He was part of the Cavaliers’ 1986 Draft class that included Brad Daugherty and Mark Price.
Cavaliers '80s All-Decade Team - G - Ron Harper: Harper had a notable first season with the Cavaliers after being drafted out of Miami (OH). He was the runner-up for NBA Rookie of the Year (finishing behind Indy’s Chuck Person) and setting single-season franchise records for most turnovers (345) and steals (209) – both of which stand to this day.
Cavaliers '80s All-Decade Team - F - Phil Hubbard: In eight campaigns with the Cavaliers, Hubbard averaged double-figures in five of them, including a standout season in 1984-85 in which he tallied a career-high 15.8 points per contest.
Cavaliers '80s All-Decade Team - F - Phil Hubbard: Phil Hubbard starred at Canton McKinley High School before moving on to Michigan, where he led the Wolverines to the NCAA Championship game against Indiana in 1976. He was drafted by Detroit with the 15th overall pick before being traded to the Cavaliers – along with Paul Mokeski and a 1982 first rounder (who turned out to be John Bagley) for Kenny Carr and Bill Laimbeer.
Cavaliers '80s All-Decade Team - F - Phil Hubbard: Hubbard still ranks among the Cavaliers all-time Top 10 in several categories, including free throws attempted and made. He was ranked 10th all-time in games played heading into this past season before he was eclipsed by Anderson Varejao.
Cavaliers '80s All-Decade Team - F - Mike Mitchell: Drafted out of Auburn with the 15th overall pick of the 1978 Draft, Mitchell played four seasons with the Wine and Gold, averaging 19.3 ppg over that span – fourth all-time in franchise history. The soft-spoken star averaged 22.2 ppg during his sophomore season and 24.5 ppg the following year – good enough to earn a spot on the Eastern Conference All-Star squad.
Cavaliers '80s All-Decade Team - F - Mike Mitchell: Mitchell represented the Cavaliers in the 1981 All-Star Game, which was played at the Richfield Coliseum. Mitchell didn’t disappoint the hometown crowd, who watched Mitchell go 6-for-12 from the floor for 14 points, adding four boards, two assists and a steal in just 15 minutes of action – helping lead the East to the 123-120 win.
Cavaliers '80s All-Decade Team - F - Mike Mitchell: Mitchell, who was traded to the Spurs for Ron Brewer, had six more successful seasons in San Antonio. His 1980-81 season is still one for the books; the 24.5 ppg average is good for the 7th-best single-season scoring mark (LeBron James owns the top six). That campaign also saw Mitchell attempt and make the second-most field goals in a season in Cavs history. (LeBron, in 2005-06, leads that category too.)
Cavaliers '80s All-Decade Team - C - Brad Daugherty: With a draft pick obtained from the Sixers (who obtained it from the Clippers in exchange for Kobe Bryant’s father), the Cavaliers dealt Roy Hinson and cash considerations to Philly for the No. 1 overall pick – North Carolina center Brad Daugherty. Daugherty would go on to play eight seasons for Cleveland, earning five All-Star appearances in the process.
Cavaliers '80s All-Decade Team - C - Brad Daugherty: An avid NASCAR fan, Daugherty famously chose No. 43 because of Richard Petty. The Black Mountain, NC native averaged 17.7 ppg during his first three regular seasons and 13.4 ppg in his first two playoff appearances in the ‘80s. His career was just getting warmed up, and it ended with that No. 43 being raised to the rafters of The Q on March 1, 1997.
Cavaliers '80s All-Decade Team - C - Brad Daugherty: Daugherty’s name is ubiquitous throughout the Cavaliers all-time record books. Among his many career marks, he’s currently tied with LeBron James in 7th place for games played at 548 and he’s one of only four players in team history to top the 10,000-point plateau.
Cavaliers '80s All-Decade Team - Head Coach - Lenny Wilkens: Lenny Wilkens spent two solid seasons with the Wine and Gold near the end of his Hall of Fame (playing) career – averaging 18.5 ppg, leading the team in assists both years and representing the Cavaliers in the 1973 All-Star Game.
Cavaliers '80s All-Decade Team - Head Coach - Lenny Wilkens: In Wilkens’ first three years on the job as the Cavaliers coach – taking over for Gene Littles who took over for George Karl – the team went from 31 wins to 42 wins to 57 wins.
Cavaliers '80s All-Decade Team - Head Coach - Lenny Wilkens: With 316 career victories as the Cavaliers head coach, Wilkens is the franchise’s all-time leader, finishing with a .551 winning percentage in seven prolific seasons on Cleveland’s bench. The Brooklyn, NY native is a three-time inductee in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame – as a player, a coach and an assistant with the 1992 U.S.A. “Dream Team.”
Cavaliers '80s All-Decade Team - Sixth Man - Hot Rod Williams: In his nine-year career with the Cavs, Hot Rod Williams – seen here in a rare pre-flattop photo – never failed to average double-digits with the Cavaliers. In the 80s, his first three seasons in the league, the lanky big man from Tulane averaged 12.4 points and 6.7 boards per game.
Cavaliers '80s All-Decade Team - Sixth Man - Hot Rod Williams: In the team’s history, Hot Rod is second all-time in both blocked shots and offensive rebounds. The durable, consistent Williams averaged 80 games per season in his first three years, most of which he spent coming off the Cavs bench.
Cavaliers '80s All-Decade Team - Honorable Mention - Mark Price: The ultimate overachiever, Price – who the Mavericks tabbed with the 25th overall pick in 1986 and traded to Cleveland – spent one season playing behind Bagley, but took over as a sophomore and never looked back. In the 80s, his scoring average climbed from 6.9 to 16.0 to 18.9 in 1988-89. He was named to the All-Star team that season, but the best was yet to come for the scrappy guard from Georgia Tech.
Cavaliers '80s All-Decade Team - Honorable Mention - Larry Nance: Nance already had a successful six-and-a-half year run with the Suns before being dealt to the Cavaliers midway through the 1987-88 season. In his seven seasons with the Cavaliers, Nance – the model of consistency – averaged 16.8 ppg during the regular season and 16.9 in the playoffs. He joined teammates, Price and Daugherty, on the 1989 Eastern Conference All-Star squad.
Cavaliers '80s All-Decade Team - Honorable Mention - Roy Hinson: Trading Roy Hinson for the top pick in the 1986 Draft (Brad Daugherty) seems like a steal now, but the uber-athletic forward was on a serious ascension at the time of that trade. In his first three seasons after begin taken 20th overall out of Rutgers in 1983, Hinson averaged 5.5, 15.8 and 19.6 ppg in the regular season and 16.8 ppg in the playoffs. He was also the first player to represent the Cavs in the Slam Dunk Contest – finishing 7th.
Cavaliers '80s All-Decade Team - Honorable Mention - John Bagley: Bagley wasn’t a high-scoring (or high-flying) point guard, but he did spend some solid seasons in Cleveland, averaging 9.4 points and 6.1 assists per game in the regular season and 12.8 points and 10.0 assists in the playoffs during his five-year run. He’s ranked 3rd all-time in total assists (2,311) and had the second- and third-best assist single seasons in franchise history.