11 Cleveland Cavaliers On a team of explosive young talent, an old standby is the fuse

October 27, 2003

So who will mediate the madness in Gund Arena this season? Who
will negotiate the shot opportunities among the eager young guns
LeBron James, Ricky Davis, Dajuan Wagner and Darius Miles?

Kevin Ollie hopes it's him.

It probably will be. Or at least he'll be part of a point-guard-
by-committee scheme, as coach Paul Silas endeavors to pinpoint
just what role each member of his callow quartet will play,
each having been an occasional playmaker but none a true point.
If nothing else, Ollie, who is playing for his 10th team in
seven seasons, will provide leadership and defense. "They [Silas
and G.M. Jim Paxson] want me to give advice, talk about the
things I've gone through," says the 30-year-old Ollie, "because
I know those guys haven't been through what I've been through."
Indeed not. Ollie spent four years at Connecticut, then parts
of another four in the CBA. By contrast, the 67 combined games
played by Davis at Iowa and Wagner at Memphis represent the
collective college experience of Cleveland's Fab Four.

It will probably take a while to straighten out the quarterback
position. Silas would love to have the 6'8" James at the helm
eventually, but that might be a couple of years away. While the
coach spent much of the preseason grooming the 6'9" Miles for
that spot, the best solution might be a rotation of Ollie and
J.R. Bremer.

"The hardest thing about the position is that you have to be an
extension of the coach on the court," says Ollie. "When everybody
else is in disarray, you have to be in control." That style
generally goes unnoticed, so don't expect shouts of OL-LEE!
OL-LEE! to be reverberating through Gund this season. But if the
Cavs are to improve, this journeyman may have to take
charge. --J.M.

COLOR PHOTO: ALLEN EINSTEIN/NBAE/GETTY IMAGES Kevin Ollie

ENEMY LINES
An opposing team's scout sizes up the Cavaliers

"With such a young team, I'm surprised they didn't hire a recent
NBA player for their coaching staff. Paul Silas is a terrific
coach who won three championships as a player in the 1970s, but
even if he can relate to what these young guys are going through,
he's still the head coach, making hard decisions that wound their
egos on a daily basis. That's why you need someone like a Patrick
Ewing as an assistant to step in and say, 'The same thing
happened to me when I was young. I didn't like it at the time,
but looking back it all makes sense now.' ... I doubt that Ricky
Davis and Darius Miles will be able to co-exist with LeBron
James. They both have issues. Davis can put up numbers and he's
tough to guard, but he demands the ball too much. For Miles, it's
time to put up or shut up. His failure to develop a go-to move
after three years in the NBA makes me wonder how hard he works on
his game.... Coming straight out of high school, James already
shows more composure and maturity than Davis or Miles. Right away
James can average double-digit points, five to seven rebounds and
five assists. But he is not yet a go-to guy because good
defenders will be able to stop him. I'm surprised that I don't
see blow-by speed in him, though that may be because he's often
matched up against the quickest guys in the league at the guard
spot.... Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Kevin Ollie are the only players
in the rotation with a feel for the game, and they need to be the
guys in charge. If Ollie isn't playing 30 minutes a game, they're
going to struggle.... The go-to guy has to be Ilgauskas because
he's tough enough to force himself into good position on the
floor, he understands the game like a point guard, and if you
double him he'll pick you apart."

FAST FACT

Ricky Davis's jump in points per game--from 11.7 to 20.6--was the
best among players with at least 40 games in each of the last two
seasons.

PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP with 2002-03 statistics

Record: 17-65 (15th in East)
Points scored: 91.4 (25th in NBA)
Points allowed: 101.0 (28th)
Coach: Paul Silas
(first season with Cavaliers)

ZYDRUNAS ILGAUSKAS

POS. PVR PPG RPG APG
C 53 17.2 7.5 1.6

BPG SPG FG% FT%
1.88 0.69 44.1 78.1

LEBRON JAMES[1](R)

POS. PVR PPG RPG APG
SF 47 31.6 9.6 4.6

DARIUS MILES

POS. PVR PPG RPG APG
PG 87 9.2 5.4 2.6

SPG FG% 3FG% FT%
1.00 41.0 0.0 59.4

RICKY DAVIS

POS. PVR PPG RPG APG
SG 56 20.6 4.9 5.5

BPG SPG FG% 3FG%
0.46 1.58 41.0 36.3

CARLOS BOOZER

POS. PVR PPG RPG APG
PF 121 10.0 7.5 1.3

BPG SPG FG% FT%
0.62 0.73 53.6 77.1

BENCH PVR* 2002-03 KEY STATS

G J.R.
[1] BREMER 161 8.3 ppg 2.3 rpg 2.6 apg 0.59 spg 36.9 FG%
G KEVIN
[1] OLLIE 173 6.5 ppg 2.2 rpg 3.5 apg 0.84 spg 45.1 FG%
G DAJUAN
WAGNER 179 13.4 ppg 2.8 apg 0.81 spg 36.9 FG% 31.6 3FG%
F IRA
[1] NEWBLE 232 7.7 ppg 3.7 rpg 1.4 apg 0.68 spg 49.5 FG%
C DESAGANA
DIOP 330 1.5 ppg 2.7 rpg 1.01 bpg 35.1 FG% 36.7 FT%

NEW ACQUISITION[1]
(R) Rookie (statistics for final high school season)
*PVR: Player Value Ranking (explanation on page 94)

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)