How the Cavs and Warriors rated as high school prospects

LeBron the muscle of another Cavs' Finals run (1:11)

LeBron James did amazing things to get Cleveland to the NBA Finals and is ready to compete for another title. (1:11)

Stephen Curry and LeBron James have six NBA Most Valuable Player Awards between them, but they were viewed in vastly different terms at the start of their careers.

Curry had a successful high school career in the Charlotte, North Carolina, area but was unranked by every recruiting service and was only offered a walk-on spot at Virginia Tech, his father's alma mater. He instead went to Davidson, where he developed into a first-round pick and a two-time NBA MVP.

James was hyped as a once-in-a-generation prospect coming out of high school. He skipped college and became the best basketball player since Michael Jordan.

How were the rest of the players on the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers rated as prospects? There are seven former top-10 recruits playing in the 2018 NBA Finals, eight former unranked prospects, four international players and everything in between.

ESPN's recruiting database only goes back to 2007, so we used the Recruiting Services Consensus Index as a guide. It compiles up to six different services in a given year, offering a wider snapshot of a certain year's rankings.

Here is a player-by-player look at how each player in this year's NBA Finals got to where he is today.

LeBron James (No. 1 in Class of 2003)

After being arguably the most highly touted high school basketball player of his generation, James has lived up to the hype -- and probably exceeded it. He was a dominant high school player and drew Magic Johnson comparisons due to his size and passing ability. Such lofty comparisons usually look laughable; but for James, it ended up being an understatement.

Kevin Durant (No. 2 in Class of 2006)

Consistently slotted in at No. 2, Durant was one spot behind Greg Oden in the 2006 class and one spot behind Oden in the 2007 NBA draft -- and Durant has been behind James for most of his NBA career. Durant was considered a unicorn type of player as far back as high school, due to his 6-foot-9 size and ability to make outside shots and go off the bounce. There are still very few players in the league like him.

Shaun Livingston (No. 2 in Class of 2004)

At the time of his high school career, Livingston was something of an anomaly. He was 6-foot-7 and played point guard. He was destined to be a superstar. Edged out for the No. 1 spot in 2004 by Dwight Howard, Livingston signed with Duke but decided to enter the NBA draft instead. He suffered a brutal leg injury in 2007 and never played more than 75 games in a season until 2013-14. Although he hasn't lived up to his high school hype, Livingston still shows flashes and is a key piece off the Warriors' bench.

Kevin Love (No. 2 in Class of 2007)

No. 2 in the RSCI but No. 1 in ESPN's rankings, Love has transformed his game since high school. Even early in his NBA career, Love was seen as an old-school big man: an elite rebounder and outlet passer. He shot 19 3-pointers his rookie season. Now, Love is essentially a stretch-4 who takes almost half of his shots from beyond the arc.

Kendrick Perkins (No. 6 in Class of 2003)

Perkins skipped college to go straight to the NBA. He was a dominant low-post player with several effective back-to-the-basket moves and was one of the best shot-blockers in his high school class. Despite never developing into a go-to option in the league, Perkins has been a valuable role player on several successful teams -- although he hasn't actually appeared in a playoff game since 2015.

JR Smith (No. 8 in Class of 2004)

Smith -- who broke out at the 2002 ABCD Camp -- originally signed with North Carolina out of high school but decided to skip college after earning MVP honors at the McDonald's All American Game. He was always a big-time scorer, and the knocks on him haven't changed since high school. When he's on, there are still not many guys who can catch fire like Smith.

Kevon Looney (No. 10 in Class of 2014)

Looney had one of the most surprising finishes to his recruitment in recent years. Heading into decision day, it appeared that Florida and Duke were in the best position, with Tennessee a sleeper. Then suddenly, on decision day, he committed to UCLA. The Bruins had been involved but were not looked at as the leader. Looney has provided some size and versatility up front for Golden State.

Tristan Thompson (No. 12 in Class of 2010)

Thompson was a touted player to watch, starting as a sophomore in high school. His potential was apparent early on, with his ability to score inside and out and handle the ball for his size, and with his nonstop motor. That motor changed somewhat as his high school career progressed, as he needed to play more aggressive more consistently. Thompson played at Texas for one season before heading to the NBA.

Rodney Hood (No. 26 in Class of 2011)

The lefty wing was a terrific scorer and playmaker on offense at the high school level, scoring from the perimeter and effectively in the midrange. After a decent first season at Mississippi State, Hood transferred to Duke, where he developed into a first-round pick. Hood has been a solid scorer in the NBA, although his numbers have taken a hit with the Cavs.

Andre Iguodala (No. 28 in Class of 2002)

Iguodala had a huge summer before his junior season, starring on the Illinois Warriors AAU program. He was known for being a versatile athlete who could do a little bit of everything on the floor. Now a 14-year NBA veteran, Iguodala is still doing just that (when he's healthy and on the court, of course). He's a versatile defender who is excellent in transition.

Quinn Cook (No. 29 in Class of 2011)

Duke was a logical destination early on for Cook. He was close friends with his AAU teammate Tyler Thornton, who picked the Blue Devils a year earlier, and also was close with former Duke guard Nolan Smith. After playing limited minutes as a freshman, Cook took the reins at point guard for the next three years for the Blue Devils, showing off the scoring ability he possessed as a high schooler.

Okaro White (No. 51 in Class of 2010)

White always intrigued at the high school level due to his length and defensive versatility. Most scouting reports noted his need to put on weight, especially after undergoing a growth spurt and moving to more of a power forward position. He is now up to 215 pounds and has played spot minutes during the first two seasons of his NBA career.

Klay Thompson (No. 61 in Class of 2008)

Thompson was slotted behind DeMar DeRozan when it came to wings on the West Coast in the 2008 class, and he had a terrific senior season after signing with Washington State. His shooting and offensive ability were his strength early, but his defense -- a potential weakness in high school -- has dramatically improved.

Jordan Bell (No. 75 in Class of 2013)

Bell's strength was apparent early on: shot-blocking and rebounding. Despite standing 6-foot-7 and weighing less than 200 pounds, Bell was a dominant defensive player. With a couple of more inches and about 30 more pounds, Bell has only become better on that side of the floor, ranking among the league's best in blocked shots per 48 minutes.

Nick Young (No. 89 in Class of 2004)

Young was not considered a Pac-12-caliber player for much of his high school career, with Wyoming among the schools that had made him an early priority. He had a huge pre-senior summer, though, committing to USC shortly after the Trojans offered. He was considered a talented wing scorer who could slash and shoot -- and Young has made his career in the NBA on the strength of his instant offense.

Damian Jones (No. 91 in Class of 2013)

Jones was overshadowed on his AAU team in high school, playing alongside Julius Randle for the Texas Titans. But his stock skyrocketed during the spring of his junior season, and he committed to Vanderbilt over plenty of high-major schools. His upside hasn't been fully realized yet in the NBA, but he is still only 22 and has played in eight playoff games in his two NBA seasons.

Draymond Green (No. 95 in Class of 2008)

ESPN was significantly higher on Green coming out of high school than the consensus rankings, slotting him in at No. 36. His versatility stood out then, and it's much the same now. There was some question about his position at the next level, so it makes sense that Green is now the symbol for the positionless basketball trend.

Jeff Green (No. 112 in Class of 2004)

An under-the-radar prospect in the Washington, D.C., area, Green decided to stay home for college after earning All-Met first-team honors. He broke out at Georgetown, showing a versatile game that was perfect for the Princeton style under John Thompson III. Green has been a consistent offensive piece in the NBA.

Patrick McCaw (No. 222 in Class of 2014)

McCaw didn't really break onto the high-major map until his junior and senior years of high school, but a big final campaign brought interest from the likes of Virginia Tech, Missouri and others. But he committed to UNLV and was immediately intriguing due to his size and shooting ability. McCaw has been a solid role player in his first two NBA seasons.

Stephen Curry (not ranked in Class of 2006)

Curry has become the poster child for how recruiting rankings can look very foolish in hindsight. Coming out of high school, Curry was even skinnier than he is now -- and most recruiting analysts rarely had a chance to see him. A dominant college career at Davidson turned Curry into a first-round pick, and the rest is history.

JaVale McGee (NR in Class of 2006)

McGee bounced around to three different high schools in the Midwest, but he ended up at the University of Nevada and intrigued scouts with his massive potential. The biggest question with him was maturity; that appeared to be prescient. That said, McGee has proved himself as a rim protector who can finish around the basket.

Jordan Clarkson (NR in Class of 2010)

Clarkson played for a small AAU program in high school, the San Antonio Rohawks, and had his breakout during the spring and summer of 2009, namely at the Reebok All-American Camp in Philadelphia. His length and playmaking ability with the ball in his hands was notable. That translated to college, where he put up impressive scoring numbers at both Tulsa and Missouri.

David West (NR in Class of 1999)

The veteran big man claimed last June he was the 88th-ranked player in the state of North Carolina in high school. He has been slightly better than that. The two-time NBA All-Star was a dominant college player at Xavier, winning Atlantic 10 Player of the Year honors in his final three seasons with the Musketeers. At 37 years old, West has played in 87 regular season and postseason games in 2017-18.

Chris Boucher (NR in Class of 2013)

Born in Saint Lucia and raised in Canada, Boucher was a touted junior college prospect out of Northwest College in Wyoming. He chose Oregon during an official visit and became a useful player for Dana Altman, knocking down 3s and blocking shots at a high clip. He has played one career NBA game.

Larry Nance Jr. (NR in Class of 2011)

Nance was mostly a mid-major recruit in high school, visiting Central Michigan and being watched briefly by Michigan. But Wyoming won out, and after Nance underwent a significant growth spurt in high school, the Cowboys got a sleeper. He turned out to be a dynamic athlete who contributed at both ends and turned into a first-round pick.

Kyle Korver (NR in Class of 1999)

Korver was always going to play basketball. Essentially his entire family played at the college level. Fun fact found while researching his high school career: Korver started shooting jumpers left-handed when he was young. Good thing he switched: He's one of the most prolific 3-point shooters to ever play the game.

George Hill (NR in Class of 2004)

The Indianapolis native didn't register in recruiting circles, but from the moment he stepped on campus at IUPUI, he put himself on the map. He averaged double figures in scoring as a freshman, broke out as a sophomore and then earned Summit Player of the Year honors after averaging 21.5 points per game in 2007-08.


Zaza Pachulia (2003)

The Georgian made a name for himself with the Turkish club team Ulkerspor and was drafted in the second round by the Orlando Magic in 2003. The scouting report on him hasn't changed too much since his early days in the league: plays almost exclusively around the rim, excellent rebounder, physical presence.

Jose Calderon (2005)

Calderon turned down NBA offers to continue playing in Spain and didn't come over to the NBA until 2005 with the Toronto Raptors. He was considered more of a scorer than a true point guard, but that changed quickly. Calderon averaged more than eight assists per game in four of his first seven seasons.

Ante Zizic (2016)

Zizic was a name to watch as a teenager in Croatia, and his size, motor and terrific rebounding ability made him a first-round pick in 2016. His player efficiency rating was tops among U-22 players in Europe in 2016. In his first NBA season, Zizic has shown the same rebounding ability, albeit in limited minutes. He's still only 21.

Cedi Osman (2015)

The first pick of the second round in the 2015 draft, Osman was a mainstay in the Turkish national team system going back to 2011. Scouts were impressed by his size for his position and aggressiveness at both ends of the floor. He didn't play an NBA game until this season, but he has played spot minutes in the postseason.