The Cleveland Cavaliers’ slim playoff chances seem to be dwindling everyday, meaning soon it will be time to look forward to the 2014-15 season, and another appearance in the draft lottery.
It also means the organization has to look within, examining whether or not they have the correct people in place.
Has acting GM David Griffin done enough to keep the job going forward? His deal for Spencer Hawes looks good, and here’s hoping the wine and gold can keep the big man for the future because he can do one thing desperately needed on this squad, he can shoot.
Whether or not Griffin stays, one thing is clear: The Cavaliers need to find a new head coach next season because Mike Brown isn’t the guy to change things around here.
Brown is a great guy, but he came here with a reputation as a defensive coach, but so far the results aren’t there. Cleveland ranks in the middle of the pack (16th) in field goal percentage against, and 17th in the league in scoring defense.
That hardly speaks to a great defensive mind.
While some will say that this is his first year with this group of players, why have other new coaches have success around the league?
Memphis hired Dave Joerger to replace Lionel Hollins after a successful season last year, and Joerger still has the Grizzlies third in the league in points allowed and 10th in defensive field goal percentage.
Charlotte hired Steve Clifford, an obscure NBA assistant, and he has turned the Bobcats into one of the league’s better defensive squads, ranking 5th in points allowed and 7th in shooting percentage against.
The Cavaliers have played 64 games already this season and they are still trying to figure out how to play effective defense? That doesn’t reflect well on the relationship Mike Brown has with his players, who obviously haven’t bought in to what he is teaching.
The Cavs still give up too many easy shots, allow players to get to the basket with ease, and have lapses at inopportune times on the defensive end.
And as the old saying goes, you can’t fire 15 players, so it’s the coach who has to go.
Besides the lack of progress on the defensive end, Brown’s offensive game plan is highly simplistic and is based pretty much solely on having players takes their man off the dribble. When the defense takes that away, there is no alternative.
And Brown has no history of developing young players either, and the Cleveland roster is full of them.
First overall pick Anthony Bennett hasn’t contributed much this season, but in the team’s recent six game winning streak, he was getting some minutes and averaged eight points and 6.5 rebounds per game.
Since, he played more than 15 minutes in a game just twice.
In last night’s loss to the Knicks at home, second leading scorer Dion Waiters played a grand total of 14 minutes. How does that happen?
Tristan Thompson hasn’t improved, Luol Deng, a two-time all-star in the NBA looks lost on the court, and even the Cavs’ franchise player, Kyrie Irving’s numbers are down across the board from last season.
One of last year’s first round draft picks, Tyler Zeller, has his minutes fluctuate on a nightly basis.
Mike Brown has had success in the NBA as a head coach, but in every year but this one, he has coached one of the sport’s best players, be it either LeBron James or Kobe Bryant. Without one of them on the team, he looks like just another guy.
The 2014-15 version of the Cavaliers needs a head coach who will demand and command the respect of the young players on this roster. If Dan Gilbert wants this team to move forward, he needs to find that man.
It won’t happen with Mike Brown.