Terrell Brandon was selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers with the 11th pick out of the University of Oregon in the summer of 1991. He went on to play six seasons in Cleveland, but wasn't handed the basketball as the team's official lead guard until four years later. He averaged 9.5 points and 4.2 assists per game, playing just over 22 minutes per night, as a back-up to Mark Price prior to the 1995 season.
During the 1995-96 season, Brandon would be handed the full-time duties as the Cavaliers starting PG and exploded onto the NBA scene immediately. He averaged 19.4 points, 6.5 assists, and 3.5 rebounds over a course of 153 games during the next two regular seasons, and was named an All Star twice. He led a Cavs team to the playoffs during the 1995-96 season that featured Chris Mills as the team's second leading scorer, Danny Ferry as the fourth, and brought guys like John Crotty and Harold "Baby Jordan" Miner off the bench. Depsite that, Brandon had the Cavaliers going a respectable 89-75 during that stretch; a moment in NBA history where Terrell Brandon was considered the best PG in the Association.
The Terrell Brandon chapter is often forgotten, when paging through the history of Cavaliers lore, even though he was awesome. He wasn't really part of those Mark Price teams (even though he was a solid back-up) and he wasn't part of the LeBron James years either. In fact, when Brandon was playing for the Cavaliers, LeBron came to his basketball camp as a 7th grader. If the galaxies could have realigned somehow, and Brandon could've replaced Jeff McInnis, Eric Snow, Damon Jones, Larry Hughes, or even Mo Williams for one season or even two with James...oh well.
The truth is, I'm as guilty as anybody else of actually forgetting how good Brandon was as a member of the Cavaliers too. I didn't really start thinking about it again until I interviewed Chauncey Billups for an article I wrote for SLAM Online a few weeks ago. In a conversation about the Knicks 17th pick overall this past June, Iman Shumpert, Billups told me this about the type of pro that Terrell Brandon was: