Cleveland Rocks: Mo Williams, JJ Hickson and Co. Will Be Better Than Expected

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Cleveland Rocks: Mo Williams, JJ Hickson and Co. Will Be Better Than Expected
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Jamario Moon getting some high fives from the crowd.

The Cleveland Cavaliers won't contend for a championship or be the top seed in the East this year. That's pretty much a given.

But the players left over after LeBron's departure aren't all that bad. In fact, they may even be able to make a run at the eighth seed.

We all know LeBron is one of, if not the most hyped player in sports history. Since Sports Illustrated put him on their cover in his junior year of high school and ESPN2 aired a game from his senior season, he's been a focal point of most sports coverage.

The media wanted to anoint a more likable heir apparent than Kobe, and LeBron appeared to fill that role quite well. Of course, that was until he decided to leave for Miami.

What got lost in all the hoopla regarding LeBron were his teammates. With the general consensus being that LeBron was a basketball god and he was single-handedly carrying his team to victories.

And certainly there was some truth to that. After all, the offense was heavily reliant his play-making ability and he led his team in most statistical categories.

Oftentimes he would take over in games, making it seem like his teammates could have been college players and it wouldn't have mattered.

But the fact that LeBron was such a major part of the offense made it difficult for his teammates to show off their talents.

For example, the Cavaliers are a great shooting team. The trio of Anthony Parker, Daniel Gibson and Mo Williams all shot over 40 percent from 3-point range last season.

They also have players who can create their own shots in Williams, Antawn Jamison and J.J Hickson (who looks to be a star in the making in only his third season, especially after scoring 21 on 8-of-11 shooting in their win against Boston).

And their defense is pretty good too, with a pesky Anderson Varejao leading the way. 

Even though most critics are writing the Cavs off as a lottery team, I don't think it's unreasonable to think they could win 35 to 40 games. They have a great coach in Byron Scott, they're unselfish, there are no real weak spots on their roster and most importantly, they're playing with something to prove.

If their 95-87 win against Boston on opening night was any indication, they should be just fine.  

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