Cavs Won't Play LeBron at Point to Start
Posted Sep 23 2003 11:58AM
Silas wants to limit expectations on the 2003 Draft's No. 1 overall pick
TARRYTOWN, N.Y., Sept. 22 -- While speaking to a roomful of NBA rookies-to-be, Cleveland Cavaliers coach Paul Silas made many cogent points about the player-coach relationship in the NBA.
Moments after his presentation, Silas made one of his more interesting points of the day and it had to do with his relationship with one rookie in particular. While some writers and fans have had visions of Cavs' rookie LeBron James becoming the next Magic Johnson at point guard, Silas said that magic will have to wait.
James will not be the Cavs' point guard right away.
"I'm not going to play him at point," Silas said to a small contingent of media following his "Coach's Huddle" at the NBA's annual Rookie Transition Program. "That's out."
"That's not the kind of pressure I want to put on him," Silas said. "There are so many expectations already."
During his talk to the rookies, Silas noted his history of trying to dampen those expectations. Silas said one of the best thing he ever did with Hornets point guard Baron Davis was make the then-rookie from UCLA earn his minutes running the team. Noting Davis' aggressive and assertive play in practice and games, Silas said Davis eventually became the point by force of will as well as exhaustive workouts in the offseason after his rookie year.
"He took [the job]," Silas said of Davis.
Whether James will grab the Cavs' reins during the season may be determined not only by his play but also the play of recently-signed veteran Kevin Ollie and second-year player J.R. Bremer. Silas also noted that Dajuan Wagner, who spent some of his rookie season at the point, will see most of his playing time at shooting guard.
Silas, who started off his brief media session by saying he wants to "play down the expectations" surrounding the Cavs this season, left himself breathless when describing the Cavs' talent.
"Dajuan can flat out fill it," Silas said. "As for Darius Miles, I think you'll see a brand new Darius. He's at a new level right now. And [Zydrunas] Ilgauskas. Whew!"
Meanwhile, Silas noted the No. 1 overall draft pick understands the expectations surrounding him.
"No question he understands," Silas said. "He's 18 years old, and I'm amazed how he carries himself. He realizes he's part of a team and he realizes that while he's a very good athlete, he still has a way to go.
"He's been working extensively. As a young player, he's going to need to work on his shot. Kobe, MJ, KG, all of them had to work on their shot after coming into the league. What we don't want him to do is press and do too much."
Off the court, James is being demure like a rookie should.
"At the beginning of summer leagues," Silas said, "he was the first one off the bus to grab a bag off the bus and carry it. He's a rookie trying to blend in."
Yet, as much as he tries to blend in, James' exceptional talent makes him stand out. Still, Silas will offer the rookie no special treatment.
"He knows that while the media may rush to him after a game," Silas said, "he knows I'm not going to set up a separate podium for him."