Seven Things the Cavaliers-Magic Series Has Taught Us About Cleveland

Ed CohenCorrespondent IMay 28, 2009

ORLANDO, FL - MAY 26:  Mo Williams #2 of the Cleveland Cavaliers talks with Head Coach Mike Brown while playing against the Orlando Magic in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at the Amway Arena on May 26, 2009 in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

1. Mo Williams may be an all-star, but he's not an elite point guard. At least not yet.

In the Orlando series he's shooting 32 percent from the field, 22 percent on threes.

With the Cavs' often-stagnant offense, he, Delonte West and Zydrunas Ilgauskas spend half their time camped out in the corner waiting for LeBron to drive and dish for a wide-open look. They've gotten the looks, lots of them. They keep missing.

Williams has missed the most.

2. LeBron James is the league's best all-around player.

It isn't even close.

Dwight Howard is a star but should not be mentioned in the same breath as James.

Shooting, driving, passing, rebounding, blocking, stealing—LeBron does it all. It's staggering. In this series he's averaging over 42 points, (on 51 percent shooting) and over seven rebounds and seven assists.

If he only had a supporting cast. 

3. Ilgauskas has no inside game against quality centers.

Nearly all his scoring in this series has come on uncontested, flat-footed set shots. You're 7'3" and you can't stuff a rebound once in a while?

He's also too slow afoot to defend quicker big men.

4. Mike Brown is a one-dimensional coach.

It's defense, defense, defense. But basketball is a game of offense. Sometimes you just can't stop the other team, no matter how hard you try.

That's been the case against the Magic, who are averaging more than 104 points in this series on nearly 50 percent shooting. During the regular season, Cavs opponents averaged only 87 points a game on 43 percent shooting.

The Cavs can't stop the Magic. Four games prove that. They should try the alternative: outscoring the opponent. But Brown and company either have no imagination or they can't stand the idea of going on the offensive.

Maybe it's both.

5. GM Danny Ferry should have pulled the trigger on a trade at the deadline for a big man who can score.

Everyone was worried that the Cavs needed help at the four or five spot to win in the playoffs. Everyone was right.

The rumor was that Shaq could be had for Sasha Pavlovich, who has rarely left the bench this postseason. Maybe that deal was a fantasy of the media. But it's clear the Cavs needed someone athletic who would score and defend in the low post.

They still need that.

6. The regular season is not an illusion. 

The Cavs had the league's best record but struggled against the best teams: 1-2 against the Magic, 0-2 against the Lakers, 2-2 against the Celtics.

The coaching staff insisted that the regular season and postseason weren't comparable.

This series has proved them wrong.

After watching Cavs-Magic, how many people believe the Cavs would win a series against the Lakers or Nuggets?

7. The Cavs must find another star to be LeBron's sidekick. Ideally someone tall.

The experts showered praise on Ferry for getting Mo Williams for the equivalent of the clownish Damon Jones, who thinks himself the greatest shooter in the NBA but averaged less than two points a game this year for lousy Milwaukee.

The Williams trade was a steal.

Now Ferry must do it again.

Of the Cavs' top four big men, three (Ilgauskas, Ben Wallace and Joe Smith) are near or already in the twilight of their careers. Anderson Varejao should be the first big off the bench, not a starter.

The Cavs have two promising rookies, but they need help right away with James looking at free agency after the 2010 season.

James wants to win multiple championships.

Ferry has one last chance to prove he can surround the king with the talent to make that happen.


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