The Cleveland Cavaliers Supporting Cast Is Underrated!!!

Brian HayesContributor IDecember 9, 2008

No one player has ever dominated the NBA without a nice supporting cast.

The Cleveland Cavaliers may not have the best bench in the NBA, but Mike Brown has done a great job so far. Brown continues incorporating his subs into an offense that is primarily run through (the most dominant player in the league in my opinion); LeBron James (26.5 points, 2 steals, 7 rebounds, 6.5 assists per game).

At 17-3, the second best team in the Eastern Conference can attribute much of its success to its high-energy bench. Role players like Daniel Gibson, Anderson Varejao, Wally Szczerbiak, Aleksandar Pavlovic, and even rookie J.J. Hickson are receiving more minutes on the court than they probably ever expected simply because of the new and improved starting five for the Cavs.

The Cavs have one of the greatest players in the game today in King James surrounded by two solid big men in Ben Wallace and Zydrunas Ilgauskas, not to mention two solid ball handlers and shooters in the backcourt in Delonte West and Mo Williams.

It is no surprise that the Cavs are making so many shots, when they are stacked with shooters and have three of the best rebounders on both ends of the floor (James, Wallace, Ilgauskas).

When Gibson, Szczerbiak, and Pavlovic get an opportunity to play, they are able to get many open looks at the basket because teams are too concerned with double-teaming James. All three of these guys can shoot the lights out of the ball.

And what happens if the guys are having an off night? Well, Varejao is a huge energetic presence off the bench too. Not only is he working hard on the glass, averaging almost seven boards a game off the bench, but he has also developed into an offensive threat. Varejao’s mid-range shot continues to improve as he matures.

The Cavs also have a developing young rookie in J.J. Hickson. James’ leadership, presence, and desire to win have definitely rubbed off on his teammates. In turn, this has increased the benches confidence so much that James is been able to rest during the fourth period of play while watch has his team coast to multiple victories. 

It is safe to say that Mike Brown has done an excellent job with this squad thus far. The Cavs bench is outscoring and shooting a better percentage (and three-point percentage) than the benches for teams like the Celtics and the Magic.

The Boston Celtics can attribute most of their success to the “Big Three” and their team defense. The Magic can attribute most of their success to the inside domination of Dwight Howard and their great three-point shooting.

Cleveland, on the other hand, is a unique team in that the contributions of the Cavs’ bench are underrated. King James may be the most dominate player in the league, but the accomplishments of his supporting cast must not be downplayed when talking about the success of the Cleveland Cavaliers organization. Just check the stats!

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