"The big guys start up at the free-throw line," Ilgauskas said of the Cavs' current offense. "And then you set a screen and then you go down and set more screens. It's constant movement."I've stated before that I think the Cavs are misusing Z this season. Everyone knows Z's faults; he's slow, he's nonathletic, he's slow and he's not fast. But the man can score and he's the only other Cav out there who can command a double team.
But when you're moving around with 10 (seven in the left; three in the right) screws holding your feet together (the result of five surgeries), quickly setting pick after pick isn't a fluid operation. Consequently, Ilgauskas is on pace to average a career-low 25 minutes a game this season.
"Last year, once the play was called, everybody knew who was going to shoot it or who was the first option on a play," Ilgauskas said. "But now there are a lot of reads, a lot of cuts, a lot of screens. So it's been an adjustment. You have to be patient and try to get better and try to find your looks when you can."
But are the Cavs focusing too much on what Z can't do instead of what he can? Centers with Ilgauskas' combination of skills aren't abundant in today's NBA. Most rebound, some block shots, but rare is the player who can do those things as well as score inside and out.
"There are a lot of guys who are tall but never really worked at it and put it all together," an Eastern Conference official said. "Z gets pretty much everything he can out of his physical skills. He's not the quickest guy in the world, but he does things the right way. And I love the fact that whenever a shot goes up, he is right there in front of the rim tipping that ball up into the basket."
Having endured six consecutive seasons of playoff-free basketball until last spring, Ilgauskas, 31, said he isn't concerned about a role change. "Obviously if we didn't have LeBron, we wouldn't be in the position where we are now, so I'd rather be a complementary player to LeBron or Larry than shoot 30 times and lose 60 games," he said. "I don't have a big ego. At this point in my career, I would like to win something and win something in this city."
Last night versus Chicago, the Cavs actually got Z some jumpers and used him in the post. Z passed the ball out of post pretty well and I though he played his best game all season. I really do think that the Cavs are better off with Z than without him.
Not to say all went last night. The two most hated Cavaliers combined for a turnover that never should've happened. Snow had the ball and Z was running up court and beat his man to the paint. Snow saw Z cutting and lobbed the ball out in front of him. Needless to say, he lobbed the ball too far ahead and it went out of bounds.
Now, maybe some Cavs fans saw that and got pissed at Z. If he weren't so slow, he could've gotten that ball and had an easy layup. Maybe so, but ya know what? He is that slow. Know your personal as Steve Kerr said, don't make lob passes to a running Zydrunas and expect good things. Z sucks at somethings and is good at others. The Cavs offense needs to emphasize those good things.
Anyways, I'm very interested to see how the Cavs come out tomorrow night versus the Celtics.