David Blatt – NBA Coach On An Island

Dont-hate-David-Blatt-because-hes-fashionable.-Getty-ImagesTalk about your death from a thousand cuts, Cleveland Cavaliers head coach David Blatt is a lonely, lonely man.

I began noticing how awkward and pressure filled things had become for him while watching televised play of Cavs games (don’t tell anybody). I saw the way his players wouldn’t make eye contact with him in the huddle. I saw him pleasantly trying to engage other team’s players pre-game and then get rebuffed like he’s a Justin Bieber fan. I saw him get big timed by Jack Nicholson and his crew last week when he apologized in advance if he accidentally stepped on their courtside toes during the Laker game.

The guy’s in a miserable situation. People are treating him like a lowly rookie in the league sans pokemon backpack and pink tiara.

By all accounts coming from a successful coaching career overseas to making the jump to the NBA should have been a thrilling joy ride. But instead it’s become an endless loop of riding on It’s a Small World. Mind numbing.

I’ll admit his offensive scheme looks like something from an NJB game at times. But this guy never had a chance for any kind of real transition because of the microscope that Lebron James brought home with him when he returned from South Beach.

Shoot, I would think it would take 10-15 games just to figure out what a cavalier is. I mean it’s a noun, it’s a verb, and one of the definitions is “a man escorting a woman or acting as her partner in dancing.”

Reports have it that the team ignores his play calls and that Lebron and assistant coach Tyronn Lue are really the de facto coaches (Tyronn Lue?!?).

But take a look at why the Cavs’ situation can’t yet be solely attributed to Blatt:

Can we agree that ownership is less than stable? Billionaire businessman and majority Cavs owner Dan Gilbert (the real GM) fired coach Mike Brown before “The Decision” thinking that by hiring Byron Scott, BronBron would remain in Ohio. After that blew up in his face, he opted to pen “The Letter” (everything in Ohio is “The _______”) and place it on the team’s website where he berated the best player in the world repeatedly. Some of the goofier statements said that the Cavs would win a title before Lebron did, and that Lebron’s decision to leave was a “cowardly betrayal’.

Then the Cavs ended up firing Byron Scott, rehiring Mike Brown for a season, before firing and hiring a new GM and then later re-firing Mike Brown to hire David Blatt. Most folks believe that the Cavs didn’t think they had a snowball’s chance in getting James to return home.

Lebron came back with the aforementioned microscope on him with much fanfare. He orchestrated a trade for Kevin Love, so he could have The Big Three part deux (James, Irving, Love). James went on to have a power struggle with guard Kyrie Irving while getting reacquainted to the concept of losing games. Then he took time off to rest in MIami. I’m sorry, that last part should have said “got injured and rehabbed in Miami (stupid autocorrect).

Lebron seemingly was heard to mutter statements to Dwyane Wade that sounded like he might reunite with him if things didn’t work out this season via a hot mic. Oh, and then he pushed/shoved/protected his coach last week during a game. Not a big deal because he did the same thing to Heat coach Erik Spoelstra. Only difference here is that no one in the Cavs organization is brass enough (ala Pat Riley) to get in his face and set him straight.

So there’s ownership who won’t take the heat (get it?) or be removed because money. There’s the best basketball player in the world that won’t be faulted because he’s the player, coach, and GM. And he also wields a leverage hammer mightier than Thor’s mjolnir (for you geeks).

That leaves David Blatt guys. The correct way to think about this is to consider him a pioneer. More coaches with international pedigrees will find their way into the NBA in the years to come. When you think pioneer in this case, think Pete Carroll’s miserable first round in the NFL as Patriot’s coach, and death by dysentery by the american settlers.

But hey, maybe the ship has been righted. They did get above .500 this week by beating both juggernaut teams in Los Angeles.

I’m a glass half full kind of guy. Let’s end on a positive. There’s light at the end of the tunnel. Anyone besides me think they hear a train’s whistle?



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