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Case Western Reserve University's independent student news source

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“Leftovers” out to prove they’re main dish

Departure: LeBron James, Shaquille O’Neal, Delonte West, Zydrunas Illgauskas

Arrival: Ramon Sessions, Joey Graham, Ryan Hollins


On Wednesday, Oct. 27, history was made. For the first time in seven years, the Cavaliers hit the floor without “The King”, and for one night, this squad of “left-overs” competed. Their opponent, the Boston Celtics, had the full squad playing: Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, and O’Neal. The Cavs, on the other hand, had starting point guard Mo Williams and small forward Antawn Jamison on the bench. When the game ended, the scoreboard read: Cavaliers 95, Celtics 87. For one night, the city of Cleveland didn’t miss or need LeBron.

The surrounding cast that once supported the “Chosen One” has now been thrust into the spotlight. Meet the starting lineup for the 2010-2011 Cleveland Cavaliers: point guard Mo Williams, shooting guard Daniel Gibson, small forward Antawn Jamison, power forward J.J. Hickson, and center Anderson Varejao. On the bench are point guards: Ramon Session and Christian Eyenga, shooting guards: Joey Graham and Anthony Parker, small forwards: Jawad Williams and Jamario Moon, power forwards: Leon Powe and Samardo Samuels and center Ryan Hollins.

No big names, no superstars, and nothing spectacular. The changes along with the huge hole left by James’ departure, means changes in roles for the core veterans on the squad. Jamison will have to go back to being the leading scorer like he was as a Washington Wizard. Varejao will move into the starting role rather than being the bolt of electricity off the bench. And Mo Williams will have to provide even more steady leadership and scoring at the point.

It’s not the say these can’t be done, but it’s going to take hard work. New head coach Byron Scott said, “Hard work is a habit, I want us to get into the habit of every day we’re going to work.” Coach Scott has a career 352 wins-to-355 losses record as the head coach of the New Jersey Nets and the New Orleans Hornets over the span of ten years. With four playoff appearances, two NBA Finals appearances, and one Coach of the Year award (2008), Scott has the experience to lead this Cavs team. Scott looks to use the run-and-gun offense that helped him succeed; however rather than Chris Paul, he’s got Mo Williams.

The team captain, Williams, averaged 15.8 points per game to go with 5.3 assists per game, said of all of the changes and challenges and new emotions for the Cavs, “We’ve got to come together as one. That’s not just the 15 players and the coaches and the organization, but every fan who was here when we were selling out. We’re gonna need them more than ever to carry us over those humps when we’re down and need that extra motivation.”

The Cavaliers may not repeat their success of the years with James, but they are definitely not going to surrender so easily. These group of players maybe known as the “leftovers” from the King James era and doubters may have written them off. But for Williams, Jamison, and the rest of the Cavaliers, this is simply going to motivate them more. Don’t be surprised if the Cavs find themselves fighting for a playoff spot come April.

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