Cleveland Cavaliers’ owner Dan Gilbert may have been a bit aberrant when predicting that his depleted Cavs could contend, and possibly outperform LeBron James and the Miami Heat.
After beginning the season at a respectable 4-3, the Cavs now sit nearly 20 games behind Central Division leader Chicago and the team has won only four games since their honorable November start.
With so few bright spots in Cleveland this season it’s far easier to point a finger at the players who haven’t performed up to expectations following the King’s departure.
Point guard and floor leader Mo Williams, a consensus top 50 player entering the ’10-’11 season, has fallen well short of filling LeBron’s gaping void.
Since being acquired from Milwaukee in 2008, Williams has presented himself as one of the league’s most dynamic point guards while proving to be an effective and reliable second option for the Cavaliers.
The ’10-’11 campaign has been a struggle now that the former Alabama Crimson Tide guard is expected to carry the weight of a diminished Cavaliers team and the burden of a downdraught basketball city.
Entering another week of play, Williams continues to post career lows shooting the ball from the field (38.7 FG percent) and posts career low free throw marks (82 percent) while heaving a grotesque 26.6 3PT percentage.
Mo’s struggles on the offensive end have had reverberating affects causing the 29-year-old to strain at the defensive end of the floor and thus struggle to rebound (2.8 RPG), his lowest rate since 2005.
Part of the blame for Williams' poor first half can be attributed to a nagging hip injury that forced him to leave a January 15th game against Denver after playing only five minutes. The Cavaliers have been cautious considering their paper-thin depth and their investment in Williams who has two years remaining on his $51 million contract.
The Cavaliers have seemingly hit rock-bottom and so has Williams.
A healthy second half would go a long way to returning some value on a Mo Williams investment—and thus some wins for a desperate team.
Considering his sustained track record and his ability to both score and distribute, Williams appears to be an ideal "buy low" candidate poised for an impressive spring.
Moving forward in Portland
Brandon Roy’s surgery on both knees last week queued the arrival of Wesley Matthews as the beneficiary of newly bequeathed playing time.