When Mo Williams‘ agent called David Griffin on Monday and told him that Williams would be retiring, the Cleveland Cavaliers point guard position got jumbled rather quickly. Williams was slated to be the backup to Kyrie Irving, and that leaves 21-year-old Kay Felder as the only other point guard on the roster.
Williams “was in debate on what [he] was going to choose to do,” according to Griffin, and a source close to Joe Vardon of cleveland.com said that the team had contacted three free agents during the summer: Mario Chalmers, Norris Cole, and Kirk Hinrich.
Fortunately for Cleveland, Felder isn’t a scrub. The 54th overall pick had a spectacular career at Oakland and gave the organization reasons to be optimistic after his performance during the Summer League. His playmaking skills were at the top of this draft class and, despite being a small guard, he displays a fearlessness and aggression that wears down defenses. Imagine a poor man’s Isaiah Thomas.
Felder’s play must’ve left a good feeling with the front office because Vardon noted that Griffin is “comfortable” with their point guard position and is in no hurry to sign any of the guys listed above.
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None of them are game changers, but any of them would be a solid backup for Cleveland, especially since LeBron James facilitates the offense more than anyone else.
2015-16 Stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference:
Both Chalmers and Cole were teammates of James on the Miami Heat, and the trio was together when Miami won back-to-back Finals in 2012 and 2013; Chalmers was the starting point guard for those teams and started every playoff game those two seasons.
Although Hinrich’s career is beyond its peak, the 35-year-old combo guard is tenured enough to run a team effectively and won’t command a huge role offensively. Chalmers and Cole are also very similar in that regard, except the former has a more polished offensive game and developed a reputation for being a knockdown shooter when James was a member of the Heat.
What makes this situation trickier than it should be is Irving’s constant battle with injuries. He’s a great player when he’s out there, and it’s not always his fault that he gets hurt, but in three of his five seasons, Irving’s played less than 60 games.
Regardless of who Coach Lue throws out there, LeBron will do everything in his power to make them look great. He’ll alleviate a ton of the pressure off the offense, and as long as his teammates are knocking down open jump shots, there aren’t many ways defenses can stop them.
Data courtesy of Basketball-Reference