Skip to main content
Original Issue

3 Cleveland CAVALIERS

The coach wants more movement to help keep You-Know-Who in the flow

Befitting a manwho has a title in his sights, Cavaliers coach Mike Brown owns 22 pairs ofeyeglasses. "I've got them in black, silver, gray, red, brown," hesays. "My wife picks out a pair for every game, along with my suit, shirt,tie, socks and shoes."

Last year Brown,now 36, did more than look sharp on the sidelines, leading Cleveland to itsfirst playoff series win in 13 years. He was also the first rookie coach to win50 games since one of his mentors, Rick Carlisle, accomplished the feat withDetroit in 2001--02. But unlike the Pistons and the rest of the CentralDivision, Brown's Cavs made few off-season changes to their roster. His primarygoal will be to improve an offense that ranked 15th in scoring last season(97.6 points a game) but was often predictable, as players stood around waitingfor LeBron James to work his magic. "We're going to try to get a littlemore movement," says Brown, who has included more options offpick-and-rolls. "But make no mistake, the ball is still going to be inLeBron's hands."

As thesecond-youngest coach in the NBA and one of the few who didn't play in theleague, Brown had plenty of skeptics when G.M. Danny Ferry hired him in 2005.But he quieted the doubters by keeping the Cavs in contention after guard LarryHughes broke a finger on his shooting hand in midseason and missed 46 games.The Cavs beat the Wizards in the first round of the playoffs, then took thePistons to seven games.

"Last yearwas great, but our goal is to win the championship," Brown said. But evenwith a pair of rose-colored glasses, he's unlikely to see that this year.--Marty Burns

ProjectedStarting Lineup with 2005--06 statistics

Record: 50--32(3rd in East)
Points scored: 97.6 (15th in NBA)
Points allowed: 95.4 (10th)
Coach: Mike Brown
(second season with the Cavaliers)


PPG 15.6
RPG 7.6
APG 1.2
BPG 1.74
SPG 0.49
FG% 50.6
FT% 83.4

LeBron James

PPG 31.4
RPG 7.0
APG 6.6
BPG 0.84
SPG 1.56
FG% 48.0
3FG% 33.5

Eric Snow

PPG 4.8
RPG 2.4
APG 4.2
SPG 0.93
FG% 40.9
3FG% 10.0
FT% 68.8

Larry Hughes

PPG 15.5
RPG 4.5
APG 3.6
BPG 0.58
SPG 1.47
FG% 40.9
3FG% 36.8

Drew Gooden

PPG 10.7
RPG 8.4
APG 0.7
BPG 0.62
SPG 0.66
FG% 51.2
FT% 68.2

is the best player in the league andLeBron is second.... I think the Cavs can improve simply by getting a full yearout of Larry Hughes, who gives them a second potent offensive player.... TheirAchilles' heel is point guard. Eric Snow is an adequate leader who just can'tmake a shot, and Damon Jones loses focus.... With teams playing more up-tempo,Zydrunas Ilgauskas is not a factor. They're shooting with 16 seconds left onthe shot clock and he's just getting into the post.... Drew Gooden isn't thesmartest guy in the league and can forget what they're trying to accomplish onthe floor. They can get more production from Anderson Varej√£o, a good rebounderand active defender who can score in transition.


In his firstplayoff series LeBron James set 11 Cavaliers postseason records, includingpoints in a game (45), free throws made (he went 17 of 18 from the line) andthree-pointers made (seven).



Mike Brown