Cavs vs. Chicago Friday, 7:30 p.m., The Q, FSN Ohio
From the first day he was traded to the Cavaliers last August, guard Mo Williams has made a concerted effort to fit in with his teammates and the scheme in place.
Though the Cavs got him for his offensive abilities, Williams deferred all questions about them to his need to execute on the defensive end. When meeting with the Cavs coaches about his role before training camp, he stressed he was cool with whatever role they had in mind for him.
So it is not surprising that even with his dramatic impact on what has become one of the best teams in the NBA, Williams already is deflecting suggestions that he should make his first All-Star appearance next month in Phoenix.
"I am not thinking about it, and I'm not concerned about it, and I'm telling you the truth," Williams said. "It's flattering that someone might consider me, but I'm serious, it doesn't matter to me."
Williams' statistics aren't otherworldly - he's averaging 16 points and 4.2 assists, which is actually a slight falloff from his previous two seasons with Milwaukee, when he averaged 17 points and 6.3 assists. But anyone who has watched the Cavs play - and the men who will decide on Williams' All-Star candidacy, the Eastern Conference head coaches, have - knows the impact he's made on the team.
LeBron James is a lock to be voted in as a starter to his fifth consecutive All-Star team, but with the Cavs' record, they certainly deserve and likely will get a second player on the 12-man roster.
The voters historically put a lot of weight on a team's record when voting.
Cavs coach Mike Brown, who is in contention with the Orlando Magic's Stan Van Gundy for East All-Star head coach, cannot vote for Williams under the rules. But that doesn't mean he can't campaign for him. He's already starting.
"Mo is performing at an All-Star level," Brown said.
"He's been a little under the radar right now because of the season Boston is having, the assist numbers [Rajon] Rondo is putting up lately and people are rightfully raving about him. [Nets guard] Devin Harris is getting attention because he had some 40-point games. If we needed it, Mo probably could carry us and have a couple of 40-point games. Mo is a deserving candidate and hopefully he'll get consideration."
Allen Iverson appears to be headed for the starting assignment at point guard, even though he doesn't even play that position for the Pistons. Williams will be in contention with Rondo, Harris, Jose Calderon of the Raptors, Jameer Nelson of the Magic and perhaps Mike Bibby of the Hawks for two or three other spots for point guards.
Shooting guards Ray Allen of the Celtics, Joe Johnson of the Hawks, Vince Carter from the Nets and Richard Hamilton from the Pistons also will be getting consideration at the guard spots. In other words, it's very crowded, and Williams is in the thick of it.
There's a good chance that, to reward the Cavs, the coaches may compromise and put center Zydrunas Ilgauskas on the All-Star team for the third time in his career. After Dwight Howard, there isn't much depth at center in the East this season.
"I think we should get three guys on the team; Mo and Z deserve it," James said. "There's some guys getting voted in who maybe don't deserve it."
James and Brown, though, seem like they are going to have to be Williams' mouthpiece on the matter - as will his play over the next four weeks before the decision is made. The Cavs have a stretch of tough games coming up, including games against the Celtics, Lakers and Trail Blazers.
"It is not something that is not on my list as a career goal, and it is not something I focus on," Williams said. "If it happens, then it will be an honor."
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