So, most of you who know me, and if you don’t know me that well you can read through a few of my posts here or my replies on the PoS Facebook page, and you’ll know that I don’t give much slack to losers. By that I mean, if you can’t produce results, I tend not to buy into the excuse that you’re “making progress”. I called for Pat Shurmur to be removed very early in his brief tenor as Browns Head Coach, I called for Mike Brown to be fired shortly after the Cavs got knocked out of the Celtics in the playoffs (the first time), and I am quick to call for the Browns to move on past QB’s who aren’t going to cut it long term (*cough* Weeden *cough*). So, before you read the rest of this, know this. I do not hold the usual “hope for mediocrity” mantra that most Cleveland fans are satisfied with. I don’t want a watchable product, I don’t want a team that plays with “competitiveness” while losing. I don’t believe that any city with that attitude deserves or will ever have a long term winner. Dynasty are not built on excuses, they are produced with consistent improvement and results.
That being said, dynasties and championship caliber teams are not built overnight. They are not built with confused team philosophies, and they are rarely produced with constant turnover. This brings me to now former Cavs Head Coach Byron Scott. The official reason the organization gave for firing Coach Scott was his inability to manage an effective defense during his time as head coach. Further, looking at his abysmal win-loss ratio (he only won 27% of his games as head coach with the Cavs), the reasons for pulling the trigger on firing him were clearly in place. That being said, I think we can all agree that Coach Scott did the Cavs a favor by even agreeing to coach this team in the first place. Lebron was clearly on his way out the door, way before they even fired Mike Brown. And while fans may have not allowed themselves to believe it, the front office HAD to know, if for no reason other than Lebron’s refusal to talk deal with them. Coach Scott knew he was going to take over a league worst team when he agreed to take the job. He was given assurances that if the unthinkable happened, if the best player in the league bolted, he would be given time to coach up a young team through the draft. This is the reason the Cavs tapped Coach Scott in the first place, he has an excellent pedigree for mentoring and coaching young players. And to that end, he’s done a really admirable job. Kyrie has a ton of natural talent, but he has clearly been given guidance along the way. Dion Waiters was far from a sure thing (still is), and Tristan Thompson wasn’t supposed to be as good as he has emerged this past season. Coach Scott has one of the leagues youngest teams, and although the wins-losses aren’t in his favor, the improvement in individual and team performances are.
Lets look at facts. Most of the teams that play outstanding defense in the NBA are veteran teams. The Celtics, the Spurs, the Bulls, even the hated Heat. Even the excellent teams that are young don’t play great defense. Look at the Thunder. No one can question their ability to score, but they are extremely soft on the defensive side of the court. The Cavs have far less depth and experience, and their defense isn’t much worse than the Thunder. A lot of the Cavs defensive woes can be chalked up to inexperience and youth, and signing a few veteran free agents, while continuing to let their budding young stars grow would cover a host of failures there.
The Cavs set a 5 year minimum time frame on rebuilding in the post-Lebron era. They gave Coach Scott 3 years, and he’s done about as well as anyone could have in my opinion. The young guys love playing for him, and he clearly has their respect. Now the rumor is the Cavs are trying to bring back in Mike Brown, I suppose in hopes of his inability to connect with players being a willing scapegoat for when Kyrie takes the first ticket out of the frozen city. Because the truth is, Mike Brown may coach good defense, but he’s about as inept a coach offensively as you’ll find in the NBA. Worse, he has zero charisma, and players don’t want to play for him, nor do they often respect him. At least with Coach Scott, you had a willing mentor to young players, and a guy who they looked up to/respected.
This is the way of the Cavs though. A lot of talk from Dan Gilbert, backed up by a complete lack of basketball knowledge.