The arrival of Mo Williams (above) at the point allows the do-it-all LeBron James to play off the ball more and save his energy for attacking the basket.
The Cavaliers pulled down a league-high 13.3 offensive boards per game last season and turned those rebounds into 15.3 second-chance points, the highest average in the NBA in three years.
Record: 45-37 (4th in East) Points scored: 96.4 (24th in NBA) Points allowed: 96.7 (9th)
LeBron James finally gets a top playmaker, and his team is one step closer to the Finals
It was pouring rain in Key West on Aug. 30, but Mo Williamsdidn't mind. "They say it's good luck when it storms on your wedding day," saysthe 25-year-old point guard, who tied the knot with the former Kesha Thompson17 days after the Bucks traded him to the Cavaliers in a three-team,six-player deal.
The Cleveland front office is confident that Williams won't need luck tosucceed at his new address. He averaged more than 17 points and six assistsin each of the last two seasons, and his ability to run an offense is expectedto alleviate some of the ball-handling pressure on LeBron James. "[Mo] gives usa true position of strength," says general manager Danny Ferry. "Now we have agroup that can push the tempo and play a little faster. I don't think that'salways been a strength of ours." Adds coach Mike Brown, "Mo's ability to playpick-and-roll basketball, and get downhill or turn a corner with the ball,forcing the defense to help, is uncanny."
Williams's challenge will come on D because, as he says, "I've been in asituation where there wasn't much emphasis put on it." That won't be the casewith the Cavs. Says Brown, "He has to make sure that he understands that he'sthe head of the snake when it comes to our defense."
With Williams, Cleveland has a chance to unseat the Celtics. His arrival mayalso make James think twice about leaving town when his contract expires after2009-10. "The great thing about Mo is that he's an established player but he'salso 25 years old," says Ferry. "Hopefully his best years are ahead ofhim." -- Elizabeth McGarr
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