When Byron Scott took the Cleveland Cavaliers job in 2010 they didn’t know yet if LeBron James would stay or go — although he had to know “go” was a good possibility the way things had shaken out the season before.
Scott, a veteran coach with a hard-nosed style, was in charge of a rebuilding project. They were not going to win much. He was tasked with helping his team grow.
After three seasons he was let go on Thursday. Scott spoke to the Plain Dealer about the experience.
“I’m disappointed, more than anything,” Scott said in a telephone interview. “I don’t think I got a fair shake.”
“I’ll land on my feet,” he said.
He will. He’ll get another shot, he’s respected around the league.
What did Scott in was defense — the Cavaliers were 27th in the NBA in defensive efficiency this past season, they were 25th and 29th Scott’s two other seasons. To be fair, injuries like the one this season to Anderson Varejao impacted those numbers, but the Cavs never really improved on that end of the court. It’s hard to say that Scott was building a defensive culture there.
The question becomes: Is an old-school, long practice loving, grinding coach a good choice for a young team? Cavaliers players talked about being worn down at the end of the season. There was frustration in the locker room. Young teams need rules and boundaries, but they also need positive reinforcement and was there enough of that in Cleveland?
Cleveland is a job that could draw a name coach — they have a franchise anchor in Kyrie Irving, some nice role players and a lot of cap space. They are a team built to take big leaps in the next few years, meaning this is an important hire for them. All the next coach wants is a fair shot.
Spurs to give Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili Friday night off in Denver
That is the first night of a back-to-back, with former Spurs’ assistant coach Mike Budenholzer and his Atlanta Hawks coming to San Antonio on Saturday. Popovich is saving his two veterans for that game.
Duncan and Ginobili have looked like they found the fountain of youth this season. Duncan is taking on less of the offense but has been very efficient in those moments. Ginobili has the impact he did a few years back in his bench role.
What Gregg Popovich cares about is them playing like that come the postseason. So they will rest on Friday.
Rejecting the tender is a favor to the drafting team, which gets to keep the player’s exclusive rights for a year. If Thornton tries to join the NBA now, he’s stuck negotiating with only the Celtics.
By accepting the tender, the player typically gets one of two outcomes. He either plays on that contract and draws an NBA salary or he gets waived. But even getting waived is better than rejecting the tender, because at least the player becomes a free agent and can negotiate with any team.
Players who reject the tender go to another league and play for less money. In Thornton’s case, that mean Australia.
How’s that going?
(Almost) never reject the required tender as a second-round pick.
Byron Scott says they just have to get Kobe Bryant better looks
Kobe Bryant is averaging 15.2 points a game at age 37. It’s just taking him 16.4 shots per game to get there. After his 1-of-14 shooting performance against the Warriors the other night — with too much isolation and too many plays run just for him — there has been a lot of talk about his shot. With reason, this is his shot chart so far this season.
So what do the Lakers’ do? Get Kobe to shoot less and get the ball in the hands of the young stars they supposed to be developing more? Nah.
“I know his mentality is that he can still play in this league,” Scott said. “And we feel the same way….
“Obviously he’s struggling right now with his shot, and I think everybody can see that,” Scott said. “So it’s trying to get him in better position to be able to have an opportunity to knock those shots down on a consistent basis. That’s No. 1.
“I don’t know if it’s his legs. I don’t think so. Again, our conversations are pretty blunt. … He tells me when he is tired and he tells me when he’s not tired. And the last few days, he said he feels great. So, I don’t think it’s a matter of him being tired or his legs being tired. I think it’s a matter of his timing being a little off.”
Yes, how could it be his legs? It’s not like he’s a 37-year-old with more than 55,000 NBA minutes played, and coming off an Achilles rupture and major knee surgery.
Honestly, I hope the Lakers and Kobe find a balance soon, because they have become just hard to watch. And I don’t want Kobe to go out this way.