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Marty Burns
October 30, 2000
The curtain has fallen on the disappointing Shawn Kemp show—now it's Miller time
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October 30, 2000

10 Cleveland Cavaliers

The curtain has fallen on the disappointing Shawn Kemp show—now it's Miller time

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Projected Lineup



1999-2000 KEY STATS


Lamond Murray


15.9 ppg

5.7 rpg

1.8 apg

1.42 spg

45.1 FG%


Robert Traylor


3.6 ppg

2.6 rpg

0.57 bpg

47.5 FG%

60.3 FT%


Zydrunas Ilgauskas?


13.9 ppg

8.8 rpg

1.65 bpg

51.8 FG%

76.2 FT%


Wesley Person


9.2 ppg

1.8 apg

3.4 rpg

42.8 FG%

42.4 3FG%


Andre Miller


11.1 ppg

5.8 apg

3.4 rpg

1.02 spg

44.9 FG%



1999-2000 KEY STATS


Chris Gatling


11.9 ppg

5.9 rpg

0.8 apg

0.96 spg

45.5 FG%


Clarence Weatherspoon


7.2 ppg

5.8 rpg

1.2 apg

0.65 spg

51.3 FG%


Chris Mihm (R)


17.7 ppg

10.5 rpg

2.73 bpg

52.3 FG%

46.7 3FG%


Bimbo Coles


8.1 ppg

3.6 apg

2.2 rpg

45.5 FG%

20.5 3FG%


Matt Harpring?


8.2 ppg

4.3 rpg

0.9 apg

46.3 FG%

46.6 3FG%

New acquisition
(R) Rookie (statistics for final college year)
*PVR: Player Value Ranking (explanation on page 113)
?1997-98 statistics
?1998-99 statistics

Andre Miller took one look at all the new faces assembled at the Cavaliers' first day of practice and declared, "It's like being back in college. Every year they'd bring in all the freshmen—only these guys are older."

With seven new players on their opening night roster, the Cavaliers will indeed have a new look in 2000-01. And with center Zydrunas Ilgauskas back from the broken left foot that sidelined him for much of the past two seasons, they will be improved as well. Though not enough to make the playoffs.

The biggest difference for Cleveland this year, however, is who's not there: power forward Shawn Kemp, who was traded to Portland on Aug. 30 in a three-team deal that brought forwards Chris Gatling and Clarence Weatherspoon from the Heat. The Cavaliers will miss Kemp's 18 points and nine rebounds a night, but not his chronic battles with weight and tardiness that often became a bigger story than his game. "At times it was a distraction," second-year coach Randy Wittman says, in a gross understatement.

With Kemp gone, Cleveland is counting on Miller to inherit the role as franchise player. As a rookie last year, the 6'2" Miller established himself as one of the best young point guards in the game, averaging 12.8 points, 7.8 assists and 4.4 rebounds as a starter in 36 of Cleveland's final 37 games. His steady, mature play and quiet aggressiveness at both ends drew comparisons with John Stockton and Jason Kidd.

Not that Miller believes the hype. The former University of Utah star, perhaps best known among NBA fans for taking a layup instead of a dunk at last year's All-Star Rookie Game, is so quiet that his teammates sometimes have trouble hearing him call plays. "He's got to speak up out there," forward Mark Bryant says. "I'm always telling him to put some bass in his voice."

Short of swallowing one of Bill Wyman's guitars from Cleveland's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Miller promises to do whatever it takes to be heard. He also intends to knock down more open jumpers, improving on the most visible weakness in his otherwise complete game. During the summer he hoisted 250 to 300 shots a day in Salt Lake City, concentrating on getting his legs under him and putting more arc on his shot. "Teams know I like to play aggressive and go to the basket, so they're going to play off me," Miller says. "I've got a lot of open junipers coming. I've got to be ready to knock them down."

With Ilgauskas around to draw double teams in the low post, there will also be more open looks for shooting guard Wesley Person, a three-point specialist who brings little else to the game. On the other end Ilgauskas's rebounding and shot blocking will enable Cleveland to extend its defense and take more chances, as well as kick-start the break.

Rookie Chris Mihm, a 7-footer out of Texas with a tantalizing repertoire of offensive skills, provides insurance in case Ilgauskas goes down again. Mihm could also see time at power forward, where former Buck Robert Traylor will start, with Gatling, Weatherspoon, Bryant and J.R. Reid in the reserve. "Last year, if one of our big guys got in foul trouble, we had no firepower," small forward Lamond Murray says. "Now we've got the big bodies."

The feeling around Cleveland is that better times are ahead, whether or not Miller can raise his voice to match his game. "It's not always spoken—Jason Kidd will do it with his eyes," notes Murray, who teamed with Kidd at Cal. "He'll give you a wink of the eye or a nod of the head, and you'll know to go backdoor. That's what Andre is learning to do."

If so, the Cavaliers can make some noise in the East, even if their point guard doesn't.

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