Cleveland Cavaliers

Top 20 Cleveland Cavaliers: #9 Lamond Murray

It’s a pretty big deal to make the Top 10 on LeBron James is Underrated’s 20 greatest Cavaliers of all-time.  Lamond Murray should feel honored.  He played only a few years for the Cavaliers, but his time was appreciated.

Lamond played his college basketball at the University of California, alongside Jason Kidd.  He was a solid scorer, great rebounder, and a physical presence for Cal.  Kidd and Murray made for an exciting Golden Bears team to watch, and they made two consecutive NCAA tournaments.  Lamond was somewhat overshadowed by phenom J-Kidd, but he was still a force and everyone knew he would be a 1st round draft pick.

Unfortunately, Murray’s career was screwed right off the bat. He had the unfortunate experience of being dafted by the Clippers with the 7th overall pick in the 1994 draft.  Nobody wants to play for the Clippers.  So, he was essentially in basketball purgatory until 1999, when they mercifully traded him to Cleveland.  The Cavaliers sent Derek Anderson and Johnny Newman to the Clippers.

Lamond came to the Cavaliers ready to make an impact, and he certainly did.  In the 1999-2000 season, he appeared in 74 games, averaging 16 points and 6 rebounds a game.  Pretty solid numbers when you consider he was playing alongside Bobby Sura, Earl Boykins,Wesley Person, and Shawn Kemp.  At 6 ft. 7″ and 235 lbs, he was big for the small forward position and presented match-up problems for other teams.  He often used his strength and tenacity to drive the lane and finish with a nasty dunk.  Not to mention he was a consistent jump shooter. 

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Unfortunately that year, Coach Randy Wittman led the Cavaliers to a 32-50 campaign and missed the playoffs.  Not exactly what Lamond had in mind when he came to a Cleveland team with a decent amount of talent.  During these tough times, I remember that Lamond Murray made the Cavs somewhat watchable.  I applaud him for that. 

The next year, nothing got better.  Even with the addition of Andre Miller, the team posted a 30-52 season.  Lamond and Miller were the two bright spots on what was otherwise a pretty terrible team.  So the Cavaliers solution the next season?  Fire Randy Wittman, hire John Lucas, and sign Ricky Davis.  Hmm.  It wasn’t really a surprise that the Cavaliers finished 29-53.  Lamond did lead the Cavaliers in scoring with 16.6 points per game, but this team and franchise were in shambles.

Lamond wanted out of Cleveland, and the front office granted him his wish.  You can’t really blame him.  He was upset that the Cavaliers traded Andre Miller for Darius Miles.  Fortunately, he didn’t have to take part in the miserable 17-65 season the year before we drafted LeBron.  He played two seasons in Toronto, and then another in New Jersey.  Lamond, we respect you for your time in Cleveland.  You made a terrible team fun to watch on occasion.  You even made wearing the mask fashionable.  Lamond Murray is Underrated

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