Cleveland Cavaliers – The Cavaliers joined the NBA as an expansion team in 1970 and, as most new teams do, they suffered through some difficult early years.
Cleveland never won more than 40 games in a season between 1970 and 1975 and it also failed to make the post season during that five year span. The 1975-76 proved to be a breakthrough year for the club, though, as it amassed a 49-33 record and reached the Eastern Conference Finals.
The Cavaliers turned a corner as a franchise in 1987 with head coach Lenny Wilkens leading a roster that included Mark Price, Larry Nance and Brad Daugherty to the team’s fifth playoff berth.
Cleveland would never reach the NBA Finals under Wilkens, but the club did amass 316 wins and five playoff appearances on his watch. Mike Fratello took over for Wilkens in 1993 and he too established the Cavs as a consistent postseason presence with the team qualifying for the playoffs in 1994, 1995, 1996 and 1998.
Following Fratello’s ouster in 1998, Cleveland would not see the playoffs again until LeBron James’ third season in the league.
The Cavaliers averaged 54.4 wins per season between 2005 and 2010 and James would led the franchise to the Eastern Conference Finals twice as well as its first NBA Finals appearance in 2007 before bolting for the Miami Heat after the 2010-2011 season.
James, of course, returned to Cleveland for the 2014-2015 campaign. The team ended a four-year playoff drought as a result and also made its second ever NBA Finals showing, losing in six games to the Golden State Warriors.
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