It is amazing that with the NBA season just 10 games old, there are fans who are dissatisfied with Cavs’ coach David Blatt.
We know the reason. The wine and gold brought in the best player on the planet and another all-star to play for the team and they are only 5-5 after the first ten contests, so it must be the coach that is the problem.
After all, there were idiots out there projecting that the Cavs would win 70 regular season games in 2014-15, something only one team in history has done. So, really Blatt’s problem is the unrealistic expectations of the fan base.
This is not to say that Blatt has made a seamless transition from the European leagues to the NBA. He hasn’t used his bench much and that’s a big key for an 82 game schedule. This is the time of year where you develop your bench, giving reserves minutes so they can contribute as the season progresses. That has to change, and tonight’s game would be a good place to start.
He’s also using LeBron James too much. James was averaging a little over 39 minutes a game prior to Wednesday’s game against San Antonio, and played 34 minutes vs. the Spurs. That’s more in the realm we’d like to see going forward to keep him fresh for the entire season.
Also, giving James more time off would allow Kevin Love assert himself more offensively. Love admitted he is struggling to find out his place in the offense, and having him on the floor with James resting would make him the primary offensive option.
Blatt is also trying to figure out who he can trust, particularly on the defensive end of the floor. The knee injury to Matthew Dellavedova was a bigger blow than most think because he is one of the few guards on the roster who can defend. His absence has caused more playing time for rookie Joe Harris, which will help in the long run.
But once again, it is still very early in the season, the Cavs have played 12% of the regular season and once again, they have a roster where roughly 2/3’s of the players are new. We know sports fans in northeast Ohio hate the word, but it’s a “process”.
If the same issues are still in place once the calendar turns to 2015, then we can have a meaningful debate about the merits of the coach. Blatt is a smart man, and he’s not a head coach for the first time, just the first time at the NBA level. He has a lot of experience coaching professionals.
He’s not a former player without a background in x’s and o’s either. He knows the game, and he knows from a strategic standpoint how to coach it. But he does have to adjust to the NBA’s 48 minute contests. If you think about it, he rests his starters like they are playing the 40 minute games he is accustomed to.
The critics are forgetting that it’s a new coaching staff and the majority of the players also just joined the team over the summer. It takes time to develop chemistry and cohesion, mostly in terms on knowing where players need the ball to be effective, and also on the defensive end where trust in mandatory.
Guys who played for Blatt in the past have raved about him, and there’s no reason to think his style has changed drastically. The things he has struggled with early in the season should be correctable.
This team will show progress, we are confident in saying that. Blaming the coach is the knee jerk reaction in these parts. Let’s allow David Blatt to coach for a while longer before it is determined that he is the problem.