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Cavs poised for stardom with LeBron in spotlight

Posted: Wednesday December 7, 2005 5:50PM; Updated: Wednesday December 7, 2005 6:21PM
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Equally impressive as his career-high 28.9 points per game this year is LeBron James' 48 percent shooting mark from the field.
Equally impressive as his career-high 28.9 points per game this year is LeBron James' 48 percent shooting mark from the field.
Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images
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Life is interesting again: Cavaliers guard Damon Jones has ended his media boycott. That's right, after spending the first three weeks of the season declining to talk to the press, apparently because Cavs coach Mike Brown named Eric Snow the starter, one of the league's most loquacious players recently decided to grace NBA fans with his wisdom once again. "I want to apologize to the media for taking a hard stance and not talking," Jones said. "I know from a business standpoint I did you writers a disservice for not talking because you were not able to get in my clever quotes and humorous statements in the paper."

(How clever? Judge for yourself. Here's Jones, describing then-teammate Michael Redd to me two years ago: "I call him 'Bombs over Baghdad.' Sometimes he kills the enemy and sometimes he kills the civilians. And we --" he gestured around the Bucks locker room -- "are the civilians.")

This was a prudent, if belated, move on Jones' part. Maybe he is spoiled after last year, when he was able to cruise through the season like a 3-jacking remora attached to Shaquille O'Neal's underbelly, catching a ride to warmer NBA waters through little effort of his own. Though, really, that only means he should appreciate his current situation even more, versed as he is in the art of drafting off superstars, because he and the rest of the Cavs (The James Gang? the LeBronsketeers?) are in an enviable position at the moment.

LeBron James is already making their lives much better, just as they have made his. This is a team talented enough to go deep into the playoffs, and with a ludicrous amount of fanfare, primarily because LeBron leads them. So it would behoove the Damon Jones' and Drew Goodens of the world to make nice to the media, make even nicer to GM Danny Ferry and put their agents on alert. Good times, they are a comin'.

To understand why, think back to Stacey King. Remember him? Nice fellow, bad haircut, great collegiate career. Michael Jordan made Mr. King an NBA champion, undoubtedly prolonged his NBA career and earned him a couple extra mil', all because of the post-Bulls glow he carried with him. He was 'a winner,' just like Luc Longley and John Paxson.

That's what a title will do for a guy, because making it deep into the playoffs is the difference between being Steve Kerr and Fred Hoiberg, between Horace and Harvey Grant. Eight points a game is disappointing on a lottery team; on an NBA Finals squad, it means you are a Valuable Role Player. And Valuable Role Players -- past chapter heads include Austin Croshere and Jerome James -- tend to be rewarded at a level that is not commensurate with -- how should we put it? -- their ability to play basketball.

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