Another Injury (Ilgauskas) Threatens Cavs
Ilgauskas has been Cleveland's second best player this season (and, well, for the last few seasons). Certainly, his offensive output (15 points on 52% shooting, extremely low turnover numbers given his high usage) will be missed. Windhorst reports that Anderson Varejao will assume the starting role, and youngsters Darnell Jackson and J.J. Hickson find themselves in a bigger potential role.
The great thing about the Mo Williams acquisition is that it allowed role players to be role players; LeBron, Ilgauskas and Williams can do all of the shot creation, and players like Ben Wallace, Wally Szczerbiak and Delonte West can become specialists. Z is a huge part of that synced system; meanwhile Varejao is a really poor creator, and rarely shoots. When he does pull the trigger, it's almost always on a putback, at the end of guard penetration under the rim, or a bad shot. You don't want Varejao making decisions with the ball more than four feet away from the rim, in other words.
Wallace is in the same boat, so there's the potential risk of forcing LeBron, Mo and West to do more. Now Wallace and Varejao both finish well, so you can't ignore the lane against the starting five. But with Z missing, defenses won't be afraid to load up on LeBron even more than usual. If Varejao's open from 15, well there's plenty of time to recover.
If the injury lasts a while, we could also see plenty of LeBron at the power forward or a hastened trade. Cleveland has been repeatedly mention as a team that will seek another big on the trade market this season -- behind Varejao, the depth's poor (and to be honest, bumping Wallace down to 'third big' status could help the team). Szczerbiak's expiring contract ($14 million) will be an awfully nice chip come January.