In the spring of 2003 I spoke with an NBA scout about prospects who would be taken in that year's draft. We talked about some guy named LeBron, some guy named Carmelo, and a bunch of other players.
Then I asked the scout to tell me one sleeper in the Draft, a guy whom no one was talking about but would turn out to be a good pick. The scout named a little-known point guard from the University of Alabama: Mo Williams.
Williams ended up being taken in the second round of the '03 Draft, 47th overall. Six years later, he's an All-Star and the X-factor in the Cavs' championship hopes.
Williams broke out of a shooting slump in Game 5, scoring 24 points and hitting 6 of 9 from three-point range. How bad was Williams playing until then? His 7 for 14 shooting in Game 5 raised his shooting percentage to 32.4 in the Eastern Conference Finals. Ouch. The Cavs are hoping Mo can regain his regular season form, when he shot 46.7 percent from the field and averaged 17.8 points a game.
Yes, we all know that LeBron James can carry the Cavs in the fourth quarter. But it's important for him to get some help from his teammates earlier in the game so he'll be fresh during crunch-time.
Williams was named an All-Star this season and has the talent to be a good playmaker and a legit number 2 scoring option. His ball-handling ability allowed LeBron to play off the ball more often in the regular season and was a big reason for the Cavs' terrific chemistry on offense. Cleveland desperately needs that chemistry to return in order to knock off Orlando, and it starts with Mo.
For the Cavs to win the next two games, the sleeper from the 2003 Draft is going to have to open some eyes, like he did in Game 5.