Sports

The Best Cleveland Cavaliers First-Round Picks In The NBA Draft  

Ranker NBA
211 votes 15 voters 39 items

List Rules Vote based only on career success with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Only picks made since the NBA/ABA merger (since 1977).

Cleveland Cavaliers first-round draft picks have shaped the franchise and been primarily responsible for the only championship in team history. It helps to have drafted one of the best basketball players of all time, LeBron James, but players like Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson also helped make the franchise what it is.

Not every Cavaliers draft pick has been a hit, though, with players like Anthony Bennett, DeSagana Diop, and Dajuan Wagner ranking among the biggest NBA draft busts in history.

So which of these players had the greatest impact on the Cavaliers? The stats below reflect only the players' time spent with Cleveland, and that's what you should base your vote on. Did this Cavaliers first-round draft pick help the franchise improve?

list ordered by
1
LeBron James is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Cleveland Cavaliers First-Round Picks In The NBA Draft

Draft selection: 1 (2003)

Stats
849 games played, 27.2 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 7.3 apg, 1.6 spg

Achievements
NBA champion (2016)
NBA Finals MVP (2016)
NBA Most Valuable Player (2009, 2010)
10× NBA All-Star (2005–2010, 2015-2018)
3× NBA All-Star Game MVP (2006, 2008, 2018)
8× All-NBA First Team (2006, 2008–2010, 2015-2018)
2× All-NBA Second Team (2005, 2007)
2× NBA All-Defensive First Team (2009, 2010)
NBA Rookie of the Year (2004)

2
Kyrie Irving is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Cleveland Cavaliers First-Round Picks In The NBA Draft

Draft selection: 1 (2011)

Stats
381 games played, 21.6 ppg, 5.5 apg, 3.4 rpg

Achievements
NBA champion (2016)
4× NBA All-Star (2013–2015, 2017)
NBA All-Star Game MVP (2014)
All-NBA Third Team (2015)
NBA Rookie of the Year (2012)
NBA All-Rookie First Team (2012)

3
Žydrūnas Ilgauskas is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Cleveland Cavaliers First-Round Picks In The NBA Draft

Draft selection: 20 (1996)

Stats
771 games played, 13.8 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 1.6 bpg

Achievements
2× NBA All-Star (2003, 2005)
NBA All-Rookie First Team (1998)

4
Ron Harper is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Cleveland Cavaliers First-Round Picks In The NBA Draft

Draft selection: 8 (1986)

Stats
228 games played, 19.4 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 4.7 apg

Achievements
NBA All-Rookie First Team (1987)

5
Brad Daugherty is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Cleveland Cavaliers First-Round Picks In The NBA Draft

Draft selection: 1 (1986)

Stats
548 games played, 19.0 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 3.7 apg

Achievements
5× NBA All-Star (1988, 1989, 1991–1993)
All-NBA Third Team (1992)
NBA All-Rookie First Team (1987)

6
Tristan Thompson is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Cleveland Cavaliers First-Round Picks In The NBA Draft

Draft selection: 4 (2011)

Stats
562 games played, 9.2 ppg, 8.6 rpg

Achievements
NBA champion (2016)
NBA All-Rookie Second Team (2012)

7
Collin Sexton is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Cleveland Cavaliers First-Round Picks In The NBA Draft

Draft selection: 8 (2018)

Stats
82 games played, 16.7 ppg, 3.0 apg, 2.9 rpg

8
Terrell Brandon is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Cleveland Cavaliers First-Round Picks In The NBA Draft

Draft selection: 11 (1991)

Stats
457 games played, 12.7 ppg, 4.9 apg, 1.4 spg

Achievements
2× NBA All-Star (1996, 1997)
NBA All-Rookie Second Team (1992)

9
JJ Hickson is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Cleveland Cavaliers First-Round Picks In The NBA Draft

Draft selection: 19 (2008)

Stats
223 games played, 9.1 ppg, 5.7 rpg

10
Andre Miller is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Cleveland Cavaliers First-Round Picks In The NBA Draft

Draft selection: 11 (1999)

Stats
255 games played, 14.5 ppg, 8.2 apg, 4.2 rpg

Achievements
NBA All-Rookie First Team (2000)

11
Kevin Johnson is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Cleveland Cavaliers First-Round Picks In The NBA Draft

Draft selection: 7 (1987)

Stats
52 games played, 7.3 ppg

12
Dion Waiters is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Cleveland Cavaliers First-Round Picks In The NBA Draft

Draft selection: 4 (2012)

Stats
164 games played, 14.3 ppg, 2.8 apg, 2.4 rpg

Achievements
NBA All-Rookie First Team (2013)

13
Derek Anderson is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Cleveland Cavaliers First-Round Picks In The NBA Draft

Draft selection: 13 (1997)
Stats
104 games played, 11.3 ppg, 3.6 apg

Achievements
NBA All-Rookie Second Team (1998)

14
Jamal Crawford is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Cleveland Cavaliers First-Round Picks In The NBA Draft

Draft selection: 8 (2000)

Stats
Never played for Cavaliers

15
Brevin Knight is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Cleveland Cavaliers First-Round Picks In The NBA Draft

Selection: 16 (1997)

Stats
190 games played, 9.0 ppg, 7.6 apg, 2.0 spg

Achievements
NBA All-Rookie First Team (1998)

16
Dajuan Wagner is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Cleveland Cavaliers First-Round Picks In The NBA Draft

Draft selection: 6 (2002)

Stats
102 games played, 9.4 ppg

17
Chris Mills is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Cleveland Cavaliers First-Round Picks In The NBA Draft

Draft selection: 22 (1993)

Stats
319 games played, 12.6 ppg, 5.4 rpg

18
Sergey Karasev is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Cleveland Cavaliers First-Round Picks In The NBA Draft
Sergey Karasev

Draft selection: 19 (2013)

Stats
22 games played, 1.7 ppg

19
Mike Mitchell is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Cleveland Cavaliers First-Round Picks In The NBA Draft

Draft selection: 15 (1978)

Stats
271 games played, 19.3 ppg, 5.8 rpg

Achievements
NBA All-Star (1981)

20
Vitaly Potapenko is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Cleveland Cavaliers First-Round Picks In The NBA Draft

Draft selection: 12 (1996)

Stats
177 games played, 6.7 ppg

21
Bob Sura is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Cleveland Cavaliers First-Round Picks In The NBA Draft

Draft selection: 17 (1995)

Stats
330 games played, 8.1 ppg, 3.7 apg

22
Brendan Haywood is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Cleveland Cavaliers First-Round Picks In The NBA Draft

Draft selection: 20 (2001)

Stats
22 games played, 1.6 ppg

23
Chad Kinch is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Cleveland Cavaliers First-Round Picks In The NBA Draft

Draft selection: 22 (1980)

Stats
29 games played, 2.8 ppg

24
Stewart Granger is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Cleveland Cavaliers First-Round Picks In The NBA Draft
Stewart Granger

Draft selection: 24 (1983)

Stats
56 games played, 4.5 ppg

25
Roy Hinson is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Cleveland Cavaliers First-Round Picks In The NBA Draft

Draft selection: 20 (1983)

Stats
238 games played, 13.6 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 1.8 bpg