The Cleveland Cavaliers have promoted Greg Buckner to associate head coach, Cavaliers Head Coach J.B. Bickerstaff announced today from Cleveland Clinic Courts.
Buckner was hired as an assistant coach with the Cavaliers in September of 2020, after previously working on the staffs of the Memphis Grizzlies (2016-19) and Houston Rockets (2014-16) alongside Bickerstaff. Prior to being elevated to assistant coach with the Rockets, Buckner served three seasons as a player development coach (2011-14). This past season, he was part of a coaching staff that helped guide Cleveland to the NBA’s fifth-best defensive rating (108.9) and doubled their win total from a season ago with a 44-38 record. The Cavaliers also allowed just 105.7 points per game, the fifth-lowest in the NBA, and held teams under 100 points on 26 occasions.
As a player, Buckner was selected with the 53rd overall pick in the 1998 NBA Draft by the Dallas Mavericks, appearing in 570 games over 10 seasons with Dallas, Philadelphia, Denver, Minnesota and Memphis. In 2008, Buckner was traded from Minnesota to Memphis as part of a deal that sent Kevin Love to the Timberwolves.
A standout performer at Clemson University, Buckner became the first Tiger to ever lead his team in scoring over four straight seasons (1994-98) and guided the program to three NCAA Tournament bids. The Hopkinsville, Kentucky native started all 122 games of his career without missing a single contest, setting the school record for consecutive starts. Inducted into the Clemson Athletic Hall of Fame in 2005, Buckner remains the lone Tiger to ever win ACC Rookie of the Year (1994-95). Buckner’s number 21 jersey is one of 11 retired by the Clemson men’s basketball program, which also includes Cavaliers legend Larry Nance.