1) LeBron James – Yes he’s back and better than ever. Not only is he Cleveland’s best athlete, he’s one of the best athletes in the world. This isn’t a bad resume – 2 NBA Titles, 4 NBA MVP trophies, 2 NBA Finals MVP trophies, an 8-Time All NBA First Team selection, a 10-time All-Star and a 2-Time All-Star game MVP.
2) Kyrie Irving – “Uncle Drew” just picked up another MVP trophy, this time at the FIBA Basketball World Championship after leading Team USA to the gold medal. Plus he’s a two-time NBA All-Star and was last year’s All-Star game MVP. Oh yeah, he’s also a former NBA Rookie of the Year and a 3-point shootout champion and a rookie game MVP.
3) Joe Thomas – He plays one of the most important positions in football at left tackle, and is a 7-time Pro Bowler and a 4-time NFL All-Pro selection.
4) Kevin Love – He’s never played a game for the Cavs, but he will this season and hopefully for many more after that. The former Timberwolves power forward acquired this off-season in a three team trade is a double/double machine averaging 19.2ppg and 12.2rpg in his six year NBA career. He’s a 3-time All-Star, a 2-time All-NBA second teamer, led the NBA in rebounding in 2011 and was also voted the league’s most improved player that season, and like his new teammate Kyrie Irving, an NBA 3-point shootout champion in 2012. Oh yeah, last year in Minnesota he averaged 26.1ppg and 12.5rpg.
5) Joe Haden – He’s becoming one of the top cornerbacks in the NFL and was named to his first Pro Bowl last year, as well as 2nd team All-Pro. How important is he to the Browns? He’s missed 7 games since being drafted in the first round by Cleveland in 2010 and the Browns are (0-7) when he doesn’t play.
6) Michael Brantley – He may be the best “Player To Be Named Later” in any trade in Indians history. He was the “PTBNL” in the Brewers-Indians deal in 2008 for C.C. Sabathia. Since then he’s become the Tribe’s best all-around player and was named an All-Star for the first time this season when he hit .322 with 15 homers and 63 rbi’s in the first half of the 2014 season. He’s on pace for a .320-20hr-100rbi season.
7) Corey Kluber – He came to the Indians as a no-name player in the Jake Westbrook three team trade back in July of 2010. Since then he’s slowly climbed the ladder from a guy who had struggled to make the roster, to one of the best pitchers in the American League this season, and the undisputed ace of the Indians staff. After going 11-5 with a 3.85era last season, Kluber has followed that up with a 16-9 mark so far, with a 2.54 earned run average.
8) Karlos Dansby – The self-proclaimed best linebacker in the NFL has only played two games for the Browns but has made an immediate impact. He picked off Ben Roethlisbrger in the opener in Pittsburgh and then came up with defensive play of the game against the Saints, sacking Drew Brees late in the fourth quarter to force New Orleans to punt the ball which then that allowed Brian Hoyer to lead the Browns down the field for a game winning field goal. His play on the field so far has been outstanding and his leadership in the locker room with a young team may be even more important. With the Cardinals last season, he was an NFL 2nd team All-Pro selection.
9) Yan Gomes – Talk about coming out of nowhere! Well Toronto is somewhere, that’s where Gomes was acquired from in a trade in 2012. After spending time at Triple-A Columbus in 2013 to start the season, Gomes got called up a second time when back-up catcher Lou Marson went down with an injury and hasn’t been back since. In fact he’s become the Indians every day catcher because of his solid defensive skills, his ability to call a game and manage a pitching staff and his offense and power continue to improve with every at bat. Gomes is hitting .286 with 19 homers and 64 runs batted in so far this season.
10) Alex Mack – A 2-time Pro Bowler and an NFL 2nd team All-Pro selection last season, Mack anchors the Browns offensive line and hasn’t missed a game since being selected in the first round of the 2009 draft.
Josh Gordon, Donte Whitner, Dion Waiters, Carlos Santana, Shane Austin
I put together my list of 10 in no particular order before looking at yours
I had the first 7 on your list on mine. My other 3: Josh Gordon (if not suspended I would presume he is in the top half of yours as well, Dion- he was the 10th name I put on my list that I debated with Alex Mack, the 9th name I thought of and you don’t even have in your honorable mention- Jordan Cameron….that’s the only person curious to hear why? Because he isn’t a vocal media guy so we don’t hear from him much?
Great list. I did mine before looking at yours.
1. LeBron James
2. Josh Gordon
3. Cory Kluber
4. Joe Thomas
5. Kyrie Irving
6. Kevin Love
7. Michael Brantley
8. Joe Haden
9. Alex Mack
10. Dion Waiters