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With No Mo and No Delonte, Who's Going to Play Point?

With Mo Williams and Delonte West both injured for the foreseeable future, the Cleveland Cavaliers are getting creative with the point guard position. On Saturday's game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, they relied heavily on Daniel Gibson and LeBron James to run the offense, with mixed results.

The Cavs know that Daniel Gibson is not a good point guard. They experimented with him in the position early in his career, hoping for him to develop into an effective sidekick to LeBron. The result was countless wasted possessions and ugly turnovers. Gibson has always had trouble creating shots off the dribble and finding holes in opposing teams defenses. He works best as a spot up shooter instead of a play maker. On Saturday, Gibson had trouble adapting to his new role, recording no assists in over thirty minutes of play.

LeBron James, on the other hand, has plenty of experience running the offense. Until the arrival of Mo Williams two years ago, James was the Cavs best play maker on top of being their primary offensive option. However, LeBron works best when he drives to the basket and forces defenders to collapse on the hoop, leaving to open looks for other shooters. When he runs the offense, he usually either dumps the ball down to the post or goes one on one, which often leads to long threes and contested jumpers. More jumpers for LeBron means less drives to the basket. In fact, LeBron only took four shots inside the paint on Saturday, making only one.

However, LeBron's game plan worked on Saturday night. He had a stellar shooting night, making six three point shots and three of his five mid-range jumpers. Shaquille O'Neal also had an excellent night. With LeBron feeding him the ball all night, Shaq scored a season high twenty two points. The Cavs' defense also managed to stifle the Thunder's offense in the fourth quarter, holding them to 5 for 19 in the final period of play. LeBron, in particular, made a monster block on a potential game tying shot by Kevin Durant in the final second of the game, sealing the win for the Cavs.

While the Cavs were able to beat the Thunder on Saturday, LeBron won't shoot spectacularly every night, nor will Shaq make eighty percent of his shots from the post. However, the Cavs' greatest strength this year is finding ways to overcome adversity and win big games. And with their two top point guards down for the next few weeks, they'll need that skill more than ever.

Christian Hoffer


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