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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Cavs Are "Mo" Better

The Boston Celtics and L.A. Lakers have understandably received a lot of attention this season. After all, last year's NBA Finalists are both on pace to equal or surpass the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls' remarkable 72-10 won-loss record. However, right behind the Celtics and Lakers are the Cleveland Cavaliers, a team that has the defensive mindset, tenacity on the glass and superstar leader (LeBron James) necessary to be a championship contender.

The Cavs made it to the NBA Finals in 2007 and since that time Danny Ferry has almost completely turned over the roster, making upgrades at several positions and adding quality depth--but the biggest change may be the smallest player he acquired: point guard Mo Williams.

You can read more about Cleveland's improvement--and why Mo Williams has been so important to the team--in my newest article for CavsNews:

Cavs are "Mo" Better

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posted by David Friedman @ 6:26 PM



At Sunday, December 21, 2008 3:45:00 PM, Blogger Bhel Atlantic said...

"Completely turned over the roster" may be a bit of an exaggeration. Among rotation regulars, LBJ, Ilgauskas, Varejao, Pavlovic, and Gibson are still on the team. The new rotation regulars are Ben Wallace, Delonte West, Wally S., and Mo Williams. 3 of those guys came in a single trade last February whereby Hughes and Gooden were shipped out. Ferry also traded Damon Jones and Joe Smith for Mo Williams, which was certainly a good deal. Anyway, Ferry has only made those two moves in the last 18 months.

At Sunday, December 21, 2008 3:58:00 PM, Blogger Bhel Atlantic said...

Another thought I have in relation this post is: Obviously Hughes, Gooden, and Damon Jones are not known for being Rodman-like defenders. Do you think West, Williams, and Wally have been able to turn up their defensive intensity since joining the Cavs? We all know that Ben Wallace is a beast in the paint.

At Sunday, December 21, 2008 8:39:00 PM, Blogger David Friedman said...

Bhel Atlantic:

I wrote that Ferry has "almost completely turned over the roster." Of the 11 players who dressed for the Cavs on opening night of the 2007-08 season, eight are no longer with the team (Varejao and Pavlovic were holding out at the time). Considering that the Cavs made the Finals in 2007 and are clearly a viable threat to make the Finals in 2009, that certainly qualifies not only as "almost completely" changing the roster but a very remarkable upgrade. The number of moves that Ferry made are irrelevant; what I am referring to is the total composition of the 15 man roster.

Contrary to what you suggest, Hughes is a very good defender (when healthy). Gooden is a solid defensive player and a good rebounder. Damon Jones, obviously, is purely a spot up shooter.

Delonte West is a player who is solid in just about all areas--including defense--but does not stand out in any one particular area. Mo Williams was not previously known as a good defender but he is a young player and he has bought into Coach Brown's system. I would not say that Wally has "turned up" his "defensive intensity"; his job is to make open shots but whenever he is in the game it is obvious that the other team goes right at him when they have the ball. As long as Wally is making his shots the Cavs can afford to have him on the court because the other players can cover up for his defensive shortcomings.


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