After Cleveland beat Indy last night to claim the NBA’s best regular season record and claim home court advantage through the playoffs, CavsBlog’s John Krolik asks, “coming into this season, how could you think this was an elite-level team based on the talent on the roster?” I don’t even think Mike Brown has his hands up, but as Krolik is quick to stress, much of team’s improvement in ’08-09 can be credited to one key addition (“here™s a fun game; go through the top 4 teams in each conference, and, at the beginning of the season, count all the players you would have considered better than Mo Williams.”)
I can™t tell you how long I™ve waited to see what would happen if you ever paired LeBron with a truly fantastic point guard. For a long time, everyone thought that LeBron just needed to be surrounded with shooters, but that doesn™t cover it at all-he needed a guy to make plays for everyone else, to take the pressure off of him with scoring, keep the floor stretched, allow him to work off the ball, and so many other things.
And it goes far beyond just being a good spot-up shooter to play with LeBron-if that were the case, Boobie Gibson and his 44% from deep last year would have lit the world on fire playing with LeBron. You have to be quick and smart enough to know how to get to the open spot when LeBron™s driving and be there for the kick-out, and have the quick release and confidence to get it up before the defense can react. Mo™s been absolutely perfect at that.
And he™s done wonders as a penetrator, too, initiating the offense for the first three quarters, bringing ball movement to a once-stagnant offense, and allowing LeBron to work off the ball, where he™s as good as they come. Case in point-the two dunks LeBron had after Mo went baseline and found LeBron cutting down the middle from the three-point line and where Mo hypnotized the defense and found LeBron cutting backdoor for a resounding flush. And he™s been absolutely nails about hitting the big shot. He™s even provided a desperately needed scoring punch off the bench.
Mo™s not nearly the player that Pau Gasol is, and isn™t the type who could ever be the best player on a playoff team. But as a beta dog, he has been absolutely perfect.