Mo Williams: The Prince of Cleveland
Mo Williams is more than the 66 wins. More than the 17.8 points per game on 47% shooting from the field and 44% from three-point range. More than the ability to fake tears on camera. More than the number two on his jersey, which accurately represents his role on this Cleveland Cavaliers team.
Mo Williams is the ultimate role player. And that is the most insulting way to put it. He is the second star on a team, where no one has a chance in hell of usurping the man on top.
In game two of the first round of the NBA Playoffs, against the Detroit Pistons, Mo Williams showed the world the fine china he brings to the table.
Williams took turns, with Delonte West, guarding Pistons point guards Rodney Stuckey and Will Bynum. And while Williams averaged just under one steal per game in the regular season, he is an excellent defender.
He rarely gets beat off the dribble by his man or lost in help coverage. Against the Pistons on Tuesday, Williams forced Stuckey into taking tough shots when driving to the basket, and was able to force contested jump shots when recovering to his man from help defense.
He also displayed the passing ability that allows him to run the point for a Cavaliers team that earned the NBA's best regular season record by hitting a cutting Zydrunas Ilgauskas in the first quarter for a layup in transition, while falling out of bounds.
On the very next possession, Williams again found Ilgauskas for a basket when he caught Big Z with a nice wraparound pass off the pick-and-roll for a 15-foot jump shot.
Midway through the third quarter, Williams drove baseline and was stopped by a couple of Pistons, but left a bounce pass in the middle of the lane for LeBron James to hammer home with illegal force.
More than creating for others, Williams is better at finishing for them. He is one of the best open shooters in the NBA. Williams shot an effective field goal percentage of 55% during the regular season. Playing with James, Mo gets his fair share of open looks on the perimeter and knocks them down consistently.
But his best attribute offensively may be his understanding of spacing. Watching the Cavaliers, you rarely find Mo Williams out of position on offense, a blessing when the opportunity to double-team LeBron James runs high on teams' to-do lists. That spacing, coupled with the passing skills of James, is a major reason Williams is able to get so many open shots.
Mo Williams is only 26 years old and entering the prime of his career. LeBron James is 24 years old and no one knows what the hell the prime of his career will look like.
For the first time in his career, James has an All-Star, number two to carry the team when he's out of the game and compliment him when he's in it.
In their first year together, they led the Cavs to the NBA's best record and are expected to represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals. The skies are looking very blue in Cleveland, and the championship contender the city has been missing is making itself right at home.
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