As many missteps as the Cavaliers made along the way, they fundamentally ran a good search. They cast a wide net, interviewed candidates of all experience levels and let the cream rise to the top.
Blatt carries an excellent track record, winning with multiple overseas clubs. He most recently coached Maccabi Tel Aviv and previously coached Russia’s national team. Renowned for his innovative offense, Blatt could help Kyrie Irving reach the next level.
Nobody knows how Blatt will translate to the NBA, but his head-coaching experience is reassuring. It might be a smaller jump from the Euroleague to the NBA than it is from an assistant’s chair to the top chair. Blatt definitely has the potential to be a home-run hire.
Sources told ESPN.com the Bucks think Middleton, who suffered a hamstring tear just days before the season began, “has a chance” to return to the lineup during a three-game homestand next month before the All-Star break.
Whether Middleton ultimately makes his season debut before or after the All-Star Game, he is expected to be kept on a minutes restriction as he eases way his back from the injury, sources said.
The Bucks have started Tony Snell, who has held his own as an outside shooter. But Middleton will upgrade Milwaukee on Snell’s biggest strength and provide massive defensive improvement. After a strong start, the Bucks have really struggled lately on that end.
Giannis Antetokounmpo has led Milwaukee to a 20-21 record, though the team is better than its won-loss mark indicates. The Bucks will be even better with Middleton, who will rival Jabari Parker as their second-best player and fit seamlessly.
Isaiah Thomas nutmegs Knicks center Marshall Plumlee (video)