The Cleveland Cavaliers, affectionately known as “The Cavs,” are a professional American basketball team, based in Cleveland, Ohio. The team currently plays in the Central Division in the Eastern Conference of the National Basketball Association. The Cavaliers play their home games at the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse Arena in Cleveland.
The Cavaliers’ inaugural season was 1970 and they didn’t get off to the best of starts. Their first season began with fifteen losses in a row – and their first few years were difficult – managing no better than sixth place in the Eastern Conference in their first five seasons in the NBA.
However, they started to see improvements after that. They made a breakthrough when they won their first-ever regular-season division title in 1978 – which was also the year they made their first appearance in the playoffs. That season, Cleveland managed to make it all the way through to the Eastern Conference finals.
Ted Stepien bought the Cavaliers in 1980. This marked the start of many coaching changes along with controversial trades and questionable draft choices. It all contributed to poor attendance and $15 million in financial losses. They appeared to be in a downward spiral as they endured a losing streak that lasted for 24 games through the 1981-82 and 1982-83 regular seasons.
Coming to the rescue in 1983 was George and Gordon Gund, who bought the franchise from Stepien. During the late 1980s and most of the 1990s, the Cavs regularly made the playoffs, boasting players such as Mark Price and Brad Daugherty.
They even managed to reach the Eastern Conference finals in 1992. However, after making the playoffs in 1998, the team failed to make it to the playoffs again for six consecutive seasons. Then, in 2003, they were awarded the number one first-round pick in the NBA draft lottery and, with that, they selected the legend that is LeBron James.
The combination of James and Zydrunas Ilgauskas saw them regain their place as regular playoff contenders – and in 2007 the Cavs won the Eastern Conference title for the first time in franchise history. Accordingly, they made their first appearance in the NBA Finals that season. However, this success was not repeated in the years to come. Lebron James moved to Miami to join the Heat in 2010, a dark event in the franchise’s history. This was devastating for the Cavaliers and they ended the 2010-11 regular season bottom of the Eastern Conference – having suffered a 26-game losing streak, which is the second-longest in the history of the NBA.
However, bad teams get high picks. When Kyrie Irving joined the Cavaliers, Cleveland had an excellent point guard helping them win. Maybe it was this that encouraged LeBron James to rejoin the team. Irving and James were effective together and the Cavaliers made the 2015 NBA Finals. Unfortunately, Irving suffered a season-ending injury in the finals but he hit a clutch shot in the 2016 NBA Finals that helped Cleveland win the title. This victory, which was over the Golden State Warriors, was made even sweeter as it was the first time in the history of NBA finals that a team went on to win after being behind three games to one.
Since entering the NBA, the Cleveland Cavaliers have been in the playoffs 23 times, including in the most-recent season. Cleveland has won the Central Division title seven times and the Eastern Conference five times.
One interesting fact with the Cleveland Cavaliers is that they have had the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft six times. With these picks, they have selected Austin Carr (1971), Brad Daugherty (1986), LeBron James (2003), Kyrie Irving (2011), Anthony Bennett (2013), and Andrew Wiggins (2014). Of these players, Bennett is the only one considered to be a so-called “draft bust” (ie. a touted player that gets picked high in a draft but has very minimal impact in his career).
Another interesting fact with the franchise has to do with their 2016 NBA championship. Prior to that title, the Cleveland Cavaliers were among a trio of major-league level sports franchises in the city that had gone decades without a championship title. The Cleveland Guardians (previously, the Cleveland Indians) have not won the World Series since 1948. Meanwhile, the Cleveland Browns have no league championship in gridiron football since 1964, before the Super Bowl era. When the Cavaliers won the NBA title in 2016, not only did they end a title drought for their own franchise but they ended a major title drought for the city they represent as a whole.
Cleveland Cavaliers: Management and Coaching
Owner: Dan Gilbert (majority owner)
CEO: Nic Barlage
President: Koby Altman
General Manager: Mike Gansey
Head Coach: JB Bickerstaff
Cleveland Cavaliers 2023 NBA Draft Picks
Last season, the Cleveland Cavaliers qualified for the 2022/23 NBA playoffs. However, they did not have a good series in the first round, losing to the New York Knicks in five games.
Cleveland was not a major player in the 2023 NBA Draft, which took place on June 22nd, 2023. However, with a second-round pick they selected Emoni Bates (49th pick overall). He is a 6’9″ and 19-year old guard out of Eastern Michigan.
Cleveland Cavaliers season preview
The Cleveland Cavaliers have four very talented players signed in Darius Garland, Donovan Mitchell, Jarrett Allen, and Evan Mobley. As of June 2023, these players were aged 22 to 26 years old, meaning they are still at a time in their careers where they are likely still improving. That said, these four players will need support.
Will Cleveland sign Caris LeVert, a player in his late 20s? Isaac Okoro saw a reduction in starts and minutes last season: what direction is he heading? Can 32-year old Ricky Rubio stay healthy? Is he a tradeable asset? What happened last season that contributed to the early-round exit after such a promising start?
There are many questions with Cleveland heading into 2022/23, perhaps even more than with most franchises. Considered a middle team in the upcoming season, a reasonable assessment of Cleveland has to factor in that their young players are bound to improve.
Current Cleveland Cavaliers Players Under Contract
Here’s a look at the key players that are under contract as of late June 2023.
- Darius Garland
- Donovan Mitchell
- Jarrett Allen
- Evan Mobley
- Cedi Osman
- Isaac Okoro
- Dean Wade
- Ricky Rubio
Cleveland Cavaliers Free Agency Players 2021
- Caris LeVert
Previous Cleveland Cavaliers Draft Selections Since 2000
Year Round Pick Player Pos Age Pre-Draft Team
2023 2 49 Emoni Bates G 19 Eastern Michigan
2022 1 14 Ochai Agbahi SG 22 Kansas
2021 1 3 Evan Mobley PF 20 USC
2020 1 5 Isaac Okoro SG 19 Auburn
2019 1 5 Darius Garland G 19 Vanderbilt
2019 1 26 Dylan Windler SF 22 Belmont
2018 1 8 Collin Sexton PG 19 Alabama
2015 1 24 Tyus Jones PG 19 Duke
2015 2 53 Dom Pointer SF 23 St Johns
2014 1 1 Andrew Wiggins F 19 Kansas
2014 2 33 Joe Harris SG 22 Virginia
2013 1 1 Anthony Bennett PF 20 UNLV
2013 1 19 Sergey Karasev SF 19 Zenit Sain Petersburg
2013 2 31 Allen Crabbe SG 21 California
2013 2 33 Carrick Felix SF 22 Arizona State
2012 1 4 Dion Waiters SG 20 Syracuse
2012 1 24 Jared Cunningham SG 21 Oregon State
2012 2 33 Bernard James PF 27 Florida State
2012 2 34 Jae Crowder SF 21 Marquette
2011 1 1 Kyrie Irving G 19 Duke
2011 1 4 Tristan Thompson F 20 Texas
2011 2 32 Justin Harper PF 21 Richmond
2011 2 54 Milan Macvan PF 21 KK Vrsac Swisslion
2009 1 30 Christian Eyenga GF 20 CB Prat (Spain)
2009 2 46 Danny Green SF 22 North Carolina
2008 1 19 J J Hickson PF 19 NC State
2006 1 25 shannon Brown G 20 Michigan State
2006 2 42 Daniel Gibson G 20 Texas
2006 2 55 Ejike Ugboaja F 21 Union Bank Lagos
2004 1 10 Luke Jackson SF 22 Oregon
2003 1 1 LeBron James F 18 St Vincent St Mary
2003 2 31 Jason Kapono SF 22 UCLA
2002 1 6 Dajuan Wagner G 19 Memphis
2002 2 34 Carlos Boozer PF 20 Duke
2001 1 8 Desagana Diop C 19 Oak Hill Academy
2001 1 20 Brendan Haywood C 21 North Carolina
2001 2 35 Jeff Trepagnier G 21 USC
2000 1 8 Jamal Crawford SG 20 Michigan