Now that the Cleveland Cavaliers have officially lost the NBA Finals, it’s time to assess the future of the franchise – starting with its head coach.
David Blatt had an up-and-down first year in the NBA. From the 19-20 start to the 34-9 finish, to questionable play-calling in the playoffs to helping an undermanned Cavs team take a 2-1 series lead over Golden State, Blatt has had his fair share of supporters and detractors this season.
The only question is, has he done enough to secure his job for next year?
“Yeah, I (think he has),” Cleveland.com’s Joe Vardon said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “I could sit here and kind of play along in that speculation, and that’s not you; that’s something that’s out there. But I think that he has made some strides in these Finals, and I think if you get a team to the Finals and win two games without guys who are scoring 38 points a night for you, you get a second chance. There’s no question that throughout the season at times he frustrated LeBron, he frustrated players. He at times did have a grating style with them, but he’s been better certainly. And especially early in this series, I actually thought he did a really good job with what he had. I’m of the belief that by making it here to the Finals, he’s locked himself up for next year.”
Interesting. You would think a new coach might tip-toe around a superstar like James, but Blatt apparently had a bit of an edge to make his presence felt.
“The titanic battle that David Blatt fought all season – he fought it with his guys, and he fought it with the media – was this idea of him being or not being a rookie coach,” Vardon said. “When you’re a rookie, you carry yourself a certain way. There’s a certain humbleness. There’s a certain open desire on your part to show others (that you want) to earn your place. David came to the NBA as a highly accomplished coach overseas. He won the Euroleague Championships – which, anywhere outside of the United States, that’s a big deal. He’s been coaching his whole life. He felt like he had earned a certain level of respect. And for guys who had won multiple NBA championships – not just LeBron, by the way – that wasn’t going to fly.
“And so, with that as the kind of starting point, you can see why when David would try to want to do one thing and LeBron would want to go another way why that would cause a problem here or there,” Vardon continued. “It was something that they had to work through. But David, again, to his credit has been great about that in the payoffs. He’s been good about it in his own room, he’s been good about it with us, and he’s taken that away as an issue that can be used against him.”