He's the leader, he's the guy making the most plays, he's the guy featured in the most slow-motion replays, he's the guy with the ball in crunch time, he's the guy in the post-game interviews . . . he's the superstar.
There isn't a clear "#2" on the Cavs' roster.
(Fiddle-playing-wise, that is. Jersey-wearing-wise, Mo Williams is the clear #2.)
Nah, LeBron takes the "starring role" and the whole rest of the team is the "supporting cast" . . . with various players rotating in and out of the featured "parts," depending on feel, gameplan, match-ups, and hot hands.
To many outside Cleveland, the lack of a clear second fiddle - LeBron's so-called "Scottie Pippen" - is a failure of the Cavaliers' front office and is criminally unfair to LeBron . . . like it's somehow holding him back from something. That, I guess, is why some believe he'll "break free" from Cleveland this summer to sign with a team that isn't the #1 team in the NBA . . . just because he could be paired with a clear #2 in the process.
But in Cleveland, we know the truth.
It isn't LeBron and a #3 . . . a couple of #4s . . . and few #5s, it's LeBron and multiple #2s.
Saturday's 96-83 W in the first-round play-off opener against the Chicago Bulls is a great example. Who was the "clear #2" in that game???
Here are your options:
Mo Williams: Mo had a double-double, with 10 assists and 19 points (on 8-of-14 shooting; 3-of-7 from beyond the arc). He also had four rebounds, a steal and a block. He had five turnovers . . . and a rough patch, like everyone else, in the third quarter . . . but overall, he was vital to making the offense function and be exciting, which it was for most of the game.
Shaquille O'Neal: Shaq hasn't played in a game since February 25th, due to surgery on his thumb. It didn't matter. He looked terrific, playing in what was one of his best games in Cleveland. He had 12 points (on 5-of-9 shooting) with five rebounds (three offensive, and not cheapies either) and four assists. Oh, and he also had three blocks. Since the Bulls don't have anyone who can handle Shaq . . . (they've officially joined the club) . . . he was controlling the paint and drawing fouls.
Antawn Jamison: Antawn also had a double-double: 15 points (on 7-of-14 shooting; 1-of-4 from beyond the arc) and 10 rebounds. He also had three blocks and a steal, and had several great transition buckets . . . and moved to the basket well when he put the ball on the floor.
Anderson Varejao: Andy had another one of those games where he's just everywhere . . . on every single play. Actually, I can't remember the last game when I was disappointed with Andy's effort. Forget that . . . I can't even remember the last game when I wasn't amazed by Andy's effort. This game was no different. He was crashing into the stands after loose balls, he was running circles around the Bulls' bigs. He had four offensive rebounds . . . and 15 overall. (That's off the bench!) He also had two steals, a block and eight points (on 3-of-7 shooting).
(And Anthony Parker almost became the fifth Cav in double-figure scoring, with nine points (on 3-of-8 shooting; including an uncharacteristic 1-of-6 from beyond the arc) . . . not that he's in the conversation for LeBron's #2 in this game.)
So who you got? Mo? Shaq? Antawn? Andy?
Let me rephrase: Can you even exclude one of those guys from the #2 discussion?
And beyond that, it's hard to have beef with the #3s, the #4s and the #5s in this game.
Delonte West played a gritty 24 minutes, which included three assists and no turnovers. He only had four points, but had four rebounds and two steals. AP's three-ball was off, but he dished out four assists.
Zydrunas Ilgauskas played nine tough minutes. Jamario Moon hit a clutch three in his seven minutes. J.J. Hickson went from being a starter on the best team in the NBA, to not even getting into the game until garbage time in the final minute . . . and yet, he was still shown laughing and jumping up and down on the sideline at the Cavs' bench at least three times by ABC's cameras. Incredible.
Not everything was perfect.
There was that seven-minute hiccup in the third quarter . . . but those are the kinks that the Cavs will be working out throughout this series. Personally, with how on point the Cavs looked (despite Shaq's time out and all the rest the starters got over the past two weeks), I don't even care.
Maybe if LeBron had this magical "Robin" that outside fans think he should have . . . maybe that #2 could've hit six straight shots to carry the Cavs through that seven-minute rough patch in the third.
Unfortunately, I'll never know . . . because I wouldn't want to trade what we have to get that guy.