Having missed out on the NBA Playoffs, it’s safe to say the Cleveland Cavaliers under performed in 2013-14.
Expectations were for the team to finally make a run to the post season for the first time since LeBron James left for greener pastures. But due to injuries, immaturity and at times chemistry issues, they missed out on the Championship period by five games after 33-49 record in the awful Eastern Conference.
Yet the players insist Mike Brown is the Head Coach they want going forward. Third year shooting guard Dion Waiters has given Brown his endorsement by saying: “I'd like to see Coach come back. We've been together for a year. The ups and downs, he stuck with us, we stuck with him... I don't think we need any more changes right now.”
However the biggest vote of confidence for Brown came when organisation’s star player, Kyrie Irving, expressed his delight at the current situation.
“I'm pretty sure Coach Brown will be back, which I'm happy about,” Irving said.
“Until anything happens, I'm not worried about any coaching change or any organizational change, players leaving or anything like that.”
That’s a completely different tune to last year’s when the All-Star refused to stand up for Byron Scott when asked about his future with organisation. And even though Kyrie said he felt like he had lost a “basketball father” when Scott was sent packing, he faced a barrage criticism for not doing much to keep him at his post in Ohio.
The tricky part for Brown is that Cleveland is currently in the middle of a transition in the front office. Owner Dan Gilbert relieved Chris Grant of his General Manager duties following a lack of on-court success and controversial Draft selections that haven’t exactly worked out so far.
That resulted in David Griffin getting the gig on a temporary basis back in February when the Cavs had a 16-33 record. And if he happens to get the job on a permanent basis, expect Mike Brown to get a little more time to right the ship.
The fact that Cleveland played up to par and went 17-16 in the final months may work in favor of both Griffin and Brown come decision time. Then again, even if it doesn’t play much of a factor, you would think keeping both men in charge is the best course of action for a young team needing stability. A least that’s what veteran point guard Jarrett Jack thinks.
“I don't think it's something necessarily with Coach per se," Jack said.
"But just being thrust into a new system, period. Just like any of you guys [journalists]. If you got a new boss tomorrow, it might take you a little bit of time to get things acclimated. Toward the back end of the season, you kind of saw what we were trying to implement at the beginning coming to a fruition at the end."
Looking at the way Cleveland started the season, Jack does make a valid point. Irving and co. crawled out of the gates to with 10-21 record to a start the season, managing just four wins in 16 attempts in November. That was simply too big a whole to climb out of no matter how well they played in the latter stages.
Moreover, Brown was brought in primarily to work on bettering the woeful defense that allowed the highest opponent field goal percentage (47.6) in the NBA in 2012-13, and he did. That figures improved to 12th (45.2 percent).
As for the chemistry troubles, let’s just say that’s no longer as big an issue now that the bad seed (Andrew Bynum) has been removed. Plus, Dion Waiters and Kyrie Irving are pretty chummy right now, so all seems well in Cleveland.
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