The Cleveland Cavaliers have launched themselves into the realm of innovation and risk to reach for the top. Not by hiring a head coach with no NBA experience but by stepping out of the box and being willing to do whatever it takes to create a championship atmosphere. Naysayers will be everywhere, especially the fans of Cleveland, but the Cavaliers have shown their resolve with this hire. They aren’t going to worry about fan reaction (which I think might be surprisingly good) or national media negativity (which I think will be minimal). They decided to take a chance that a championship coach in Europe can make the clean and rapid transition to the NBA. This coach, American and Princeton educated, can do just that.
Time will tell if I am right, but I believe that his desire and fire will translate to the players well especially because we have a young team. He takes little flack from his players by all accounts and isn’t afraid to withhold minutes to make his point. His players seem to like to play for him despite his “tough love” approach and all of his teams have developed into teams and not a group of individuals. Isn’t that what we wanted as fans of the Cavs??? I think so. We don’t want to follow the usual NBA model of stars running the team. We would like to become like the Spurs, a team with an identity of “team” and not individual accolades. Whether or not Kyrie Irving can handle that transition is yet to be seen. But, if not, he needs to be moved. If so, he needs to be embraced.
That is why I am loath to trade Dion until we see what Kyrie does when offered a major contract with the Cavs. If he balks, then I think Dion becomes infinitely more valuable. If he embraces the deal, then I think we can reconsider the probable underwhelming offers out there for Dion. To give him away at or before the draft is folly unless we can get major talent in return. Certainly not draft picks.
A final point…. Hiring Blatt has immediately placed us in the good graces of the NBA leadership. DO NOT underestimate the importance of that issue. We can hide behind fantasy all we want but the reality is that the NBA “blessing” does make a difference. Silver and the NBA want to blast on the international stage. What better way than to take a proven coach in Europe and have him be successful at the NBA level. It will bring even more international attention to the NBA and that is what they want (no matter what you and I want). So I think Silver and the brass will be secretly rooting for the Cavaliers to do well now. Before, I think they could have cared less.
This is an exciting time to be a Cavalier fan. The number one pick in a very talented draft is coming (at least I sincerely hope so). I personally think that Wiggins is the guy. He can play defense already and is infinitely talented and athletic. Parker would be better faster but I think Wiggins will be a major contributor for any team in 2015. Realistically, that is a year where we could reach for more than just “making” the playoffs.