Many coaches who get their second job will say the one thing they learned from their first opportunity is that they should be true to themselves. That way, when they ultimately get canned, they have only themselves to blame.
Mike Brown has now been fired twice from NBA coaching gigs, so you would have to assume that he has learned his lesson and is guiding his young team the way he wants to.
If he’s not, and he is placating his star player, which he was accused of in his previous tenure here, that is on the coach. At this point in Brown’s career, he should have learned to please himself.
That’s why the media people who were hammering Kyrie Irving for the last four minutes of the Cavs loss on Friday night, when they blew a 12 point lead with four minutes remaining, can’t have it both ways.
The criticism came from Irving taking every single shot for the wine and gold for a three and a half-minute period.
The simplistic Cavalier offense went back to the spread the floor and hope Irving can penetrate attack that was used when LeBron James was here and Brown was running things.
Is Kyrie a ball hog? Does he have confidence in his teammates? Has he bought into the hype that he’s one of the sports’ next superstars?
There is no question that Irving likes to show off his handle, and he may figure he’s the best option to take a shot in crunch time. It sometimes takes a long time to develop trust when you are an all-star type player.
And he wouldn’t be a great player if he didn’t have some sort of ego.
However, if the coach isn’t down with the way his point guard is playing at crunch time, he can take some action. He can sit the player next to him on the bench.
Now, we understand this will bring out the feelings of “Oh no, if we hurt Kyrie’s feelings, he will leave when he can”.
But Brown can’t feel that way. His job is to win games and make Kyrie Irving and his teammates better players.
The coach’s attitude has to be something to the effect of if I’m going to go down, I’m going to go on my terms. That, of course, is if he disagrees with the way Irving is taking over down the stretch of close games.
The feeling here is that if the coach doesn’t take Irving off the floor, then the Cavs’ offense in crunch time is exactly what Mike Brown wants.
Which also shifts the blame from the player to the coach.
Bobby Knight used to say that nothing gets the message to the brain quicker than when it is sent through the butt, meaning if a player loses playing time, he will correct the behavior.
We understand that Knight is old school and many of his methods don’t work today, but if Irving isn’t doing what the coaching staff wants, then Brown has no choice but to take him out.
So, what we are saying is that the media can’t have it both ways.
If they want to blame Irving for stagnating the wine and gold offense, then the coach should share the blame for allowing it.
If it’s not on Kyrie Irving and it’s the offensive plan, then that’s on Brown for having a simplistic offensive plan.
The point is the coach is responsible for why the Cavaliers’ offense is anemic at best. Yes, they’ve improved defensively, but that’s only half the game.