Outside of LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, can you name six other players that were on the roster of that Cleveland Cavaliers championship team in 2016? Odds are if you’re not from Cleveland or a LeBron fanboy, you would have a hard time naming another four players, much less six.
It’s not like 2016 was so long ago. Adding to that was the fact that it was quite a memorable title run. First off it was Cleveland’s first ever NBA championship. Secondly they beat a Warriors team that was coming off the best regular season record in NBA history with 73 wins and only nine losses. Last but not least, the Cavs came back to win three straight games after being down 3-1 to the Warriors.
All things considered, coming back from a 3 – 1 deficit was the most-impressive accomplishment. No one would have ever believed that the Cavs would have come back to win the series against the dominant Warriors. Why? Up to that point, no team had ever come back from a 3-1 hole in NBA Finals history. Game 5 and Game 7 were also being played in Oracle Arena, so the odds that Cleveland would come back were even lower at local sportsbooks in Ohio.
For all the fans that don’t know if it is legal to gamble in Ohio or not, let the state of OH sports betting explained @ sportslens give you all the information in regards to local and state laws with respect to casinos and sports betting. With that said, if you were a diehard Cavs fan, you could have made some money betting on LeBron, Kyrie, and the roster of that Cleveland team.
2016 Cleveland Cavs championship roster
So why is it so hard for non-Buckeyes to recall all the names on that championship squad? We’re not sure either, but we’re here to go over each name in the order you *should* remember them. And we’re going to start with the most-obvious player that even my mom would get.
- LeBron James was born in Akron, Ohio and was drafted by the Cavs with the #1 overall pick in 2003. After a championship stint with the Miami Heat, LeBron brought his talents back to Cleveland with the objective of bringing a trophy to the Land. And he was successful in 2016 leading the Cavs to their one and only NBA championship.
- Kyrie Irving It’s weird to think of everything that’s happened in the last five years with Irving. His talent was never in question, but Irving’s choice of words and questionable decisions have certainly sullied his reputation. Even so, no one can ever take the clutch three-pointer he hit over Steph Curry in Game 7 to seal the championship.
- Kevin Love The only Cav from that 2016 squad is still in Cleveland with a little more gray hair.
- J.R. Smith has since moved on going back to college and took up golfing at North Carolina A&T.
- Richard Jefferson part of the reason why RJ is so high up on the list is because he’s so visible as an anchor and analyst for ESPN.
- Tristan Thompson provided invaluable toughness (and offensive rebounding) in the middle for an otherwise small Cavs team
- Matt Dellavedova did his best to annoy his opponents and the physical Aussie wasn’t afraid to dive on the floor endearing him to the Cleveland faithful
- Iman Shumpert has been a defensive specialist and energy guy since he came into the league in 2011. His role was no different with the 2016 Cavs.
- Channing Frye may have been seven feet tall, but you wouldn’t find him in the paint. Frye provided that stretch big that LeBron loves playing with.
- Timofey Mozgov actually started the majority of the regular season, but matchups saw the Russian big man limited to 6 minutes per game in the playoffs
- Dahntay Jones had seen better playing days, but they still brought Jones into 15 of the 21 playoff games to knock players around and get under the opponent’s skin.
- Mo Williams would play his last season after the 2016 run. It was an appropriate sendoff as Williams had his highest-scoring season in Cleveland in 2008-09. He would leave Cleveland after three good seasons four seasons later for the 2016 run.
- James Jones was one of LeBron’s favorite teammates, so though he didn’t get much court time, he brought leadership and work ethic behind the scenes.
- Jordan McRae was a 6-5 G-League scoring machine who joined the Cavs with 25 games left in the regular season; playing in 15 of those games.
- Sasha Kaun was inactive during the 2016 playoffs, making him the only player on the 15-person roster that didn’t log any playoff minutes. Still the former Kansas Jayhawk center was there throughout the Cavs entire season, so though us fans didn’t see the work he put in, he more than deserves the championship ring he got that season.
No offense to Kaun, but I doubt anyone outside of Cleveland remembered him. And according to basketball reference, players like Joe Harris, Anderson Varejão and Jared Cunningham were also on the Cavs roster at some point or another, but didn’t make it to the eventual championship roster. So how many players were you able to name from that championship Cavs roster? Here’s that full roster again:
|0||Kevin Love||UCLA Bruins||27|
|1||James Jones||Miami Hurricanes||35|
|2||Kyrie Irving||Duke Blue Devils||24|
|4||Iman Shumpert||Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets||25|
|5||J.R. Smith||Saint Benedict's Preparatory School (NJ)||30|
|8||Matt Dellavedova||Saint Mary's||25|
|9||Channing Frye||Arizona Wildcats||32|
|12||Jordan McRae||Tennessee Volunteers||25|
|13||Tristan Thompson||Texas Longhorns||25|
|14||Sasha Kaun||Kansas Jayhawks||30|
|20||Timofey Mozgov||Khimki (Russia)||29|
|23||LeBron James||St. Vincent St. Mary High School (OH)||31|
|24||Richard Jefferson||Arizona Wildcats||35|
|30||Dahntay Jones||Duke Blue Devils||35|
|52||Mo Williams||Alabama Crimson Tide||33|