Around the NBA: Williams will boost Cavs' offense
It’s too early to say how much better the Cavs have made themselves this summer.
But the addition of point guard Mo Williams certainly should make Cleveland a better offensive team. Williams has put up averages of 17 points and six assists the last two seasons. No Cavalier, aside from LeBron James, has averaged both of those figures in James’ five seasons.
“I think he can be a traditional point guard for us but also with the ability to score,” Cavs General Manager Danny Ferry said. “He sets himself up and other players up. ... He is a very good pick-and-roll player.”
The Cavs had hoped to get that type of play from Larry Hughes, but he never found his comfort zone with James. Williams doesn’t think that will be a problem for him, even if he has the ball in his hands less than he did in Milwaukee.
“I’m more than comfortable playing off the ball,” he said. “That’s one of my strengths. I really get to use that strength right now so I’m very excited about that. ... In Milwaukee, they were looking for something different, a kind of distributor. That really didn’t play to my strength because it took away from my aggressiveness.”
Not only is Williams eager to play with James, but he also thinks he will fit in well with the team’s other lead guards Daniel Gibson and Delonte West. West remains unsigned, but he’s spent time this summer working out at Cleveland Clinic Courts.
“We have three guys that can really get it done at any time,” Williams said.
What about the D?
Williams comes to the Cavs looking to restore his defensive image. The Bucks were not a good defensive team, and he was a factor in that. Williams admitted he’d “gotten away from” having a strong defensive mindset, something he wants to reverse. The Cavs are confident he will do that.
“We’ve watched tapes and tapes on him, countless tapes of him in Utah (as a rookie), Milwaukee (the last four years),” Ferry said. “He’s capable of being a very good defender. He’s shown it at times. With our system and our culture, he’ll improve and grow in that area. With his quickness, his nose for the ball, he can be effective for us defensively.”
Speaking of D
James has played tremendous defense in leading Team USA to a 4-0 start at the Olympics, including destructions of medal contenders Greece and Spain.
He’s been a menace when on the perimeter (four steals vs. Spain) and morphed into an intimidating presence in the paint when the U.S. goes small (three blocks vs. Greece).
For the tournament, he has a team-leading seven blocks (the rest of the team has 12) and is second with 10 steals. He also is averaging 15.3 points, 5.5 assists and 4.8 rebounds in 24.8 minutes. In the 40.4 minutes per game he played for the Cavs last season, those figures become 24.9 points, 9.0 assists and 7.8 rebounds.
Team USA players have been quite visible supporting other American Olympians, including swimmer Michael Phelps.
Kobe Bryant told the Washington Post that Phelps is “so far ahead of everybody else, it was almost laughable.
“To be honest with you, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything more spectacular than the performance (the Americans) put on in the pool. That’s what the Olympics are about for me -- going out and watching greatness. It’s fun.”
And wherever they go, the U.S. players instantly become the biggest celebrities.
“I heard my mom took a picture with LeBron,” Phelps said to the Washington Post. “Having those guys here is pretty special. You can kind of hear them starting cheers and getting everybody going. It’s pretty neat.”
Who’s cousin Eddie?
U.S. men’s basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski was one of several players and coaches to visit the Great Wall last week. He had his entire family with him -- wife, three daughters, their husbands and five grandchildren – prompting him to reference the National Lampoon “Vacation” movies starring Chevy Chase.
“To be on the Great Wall of China with the Griswolds was great,” he joked to the Washington Post. “I’m glad we didn’t hurt anything.”
- Williams has been in Vancouver working out with a variety of players, including new teammate Zydrunas Ilgauskas. “He’s got to buy me dinner one day up here,” Williams said of Z.
- Chris Bosh is making the most of his time with Team USA. He’s become an invaluable defender, especially as a big man who can be disruptive on the perimeter. “I know I’m digging a hole for myself with the Raptors because the expectations are going to be there (defensively),” Bosh said. “But I can play defense, and I can play a different role. I think that’s hard for some guys to accept sometimes, but I just want to win.”
Reach Chris Beaven at (330) 580-8345 or e-mail email@example.com