When King James announced he was leaving the Cavs and joining the Miami Heat, people burned his jersey and swore him off for life. Let’s take a look at those first 7 seasons from a personnel standpoint to better understand why the Cavs could never put anyone King James to be competitive for a title.
In 2003, The Cavs literally won the LeBron James lottery and finished his rookie season 35-47 earning the 10th overall pick in the 2004 NBA Draft. Luke Jackson, SF, Oregon. Al Jefferson was taken 15th. Jameer Nelson was taken 20th overall. The Cavs had just drafted the greatest small forward in the history of the NBA, seems if SF was such a need, to use a top 10 pick on the position, someone could have said “hey, how bout we try LeBron at SF and draft a PF/C or PG? Cleveland improved 5 games to 42-40, but did not have a 2005 first round pick (13th overall) because of a 1997 trade involving the 2005 first round pick (Wesley Person and Tony Dumas were acquired) … Decisions of the past start to haunt our beloved King James.
The 2005 NBA Season saw the Cavs go 50-32, make the playoffs for the first time in King James’ career, and earn the 25th overall pick in the 2006 NBA Draft. Shannon Brown was selected with Kyle Lowery going one pick prior at #24 overall. Wow, Lowry and King James together starting with the 2006 NBA Season. And, in 2005, the Cavs had a second round pick, 42nd overall … Daniel Gibson was selected. Paul Milsap was selected 5 picks later … so we can create this imaginary world of James/Al Jefferson/Kyle Lowry or James/Lowry/Milsap starting in 2006.
The 2006 season saw the Cavs go 50-32 with their first round choice in 2007 being traded in 2005 for Jiri Welsch. Who? Heading into LeBron’s 5th season, the 2007 season would be James’ first trip to the finals and first for the Cavs as a franchise … they didn’t pick in the first round twice and when the Cavs did pick in the first round from 2003-2007, they either just missed out (Lowry + Rondo) or missed (Luke Jackson, Shannon Brown).
The 2007 season saw the Cavs digress to 47-35 but thanks to James’ heroics, the Cavs made the finals and were promptly swept the San Antonio Spurs.