David Blatt is the forgotten figure in the run to the Cleveland Cavaliers’ 2016 NBA Championship. He was fired after leading the team to a 30-11 record during the season. It might have been a case of bad timing for the head coach that led to his dismissal.
Cleveland was lambasted by the Golden State Warriors at home on national television. This was no normal loss as they went down by 40 to a rival squad. Players, including stars LeBron James and Kyrie Irving looked lethargic as the pummeling dragged on.
General manager David Griffin reportedly went into the locker room after that game and dressed his team down. It was clear that the organization had to make a change in order to compete for an NBA title. In essence, the only thing that mattered was claiming victory in the championship round.
Tyronn Lue was the assistant coach at the time and was eventually elevated to head coach. The rest of the story is well worn at this point. He led the team to the Finals and helped them overcome a 3-1 Finals defecit to snatch victory in Oakland.
Blatt told David Pick: “It’s not my championship, I recognize that, but I also feel that I did something there, and I graciously accepted because it was a gracious offer on their part. The big thing for me was that I felt that they felt that it was earned, not given, therefore I was happy to accept.”
There is no doubt that Blatt’s experience with the franchise is strange but, he did play his part in their road to the title. He was hired to coach a young team featuring Irving and Andrew Wiggins. What he got was the circus that follows a perennial contender.
Now he will have the ring to go with the eventual story for his family. Good for him.