The Cavaliers played their best defensive game of the season on Monday, and it resulted in a 106-74 win over the Orlando Magic.
But even after the victory, Cleveland is off to a start of just 6-7 on the young season, and Orlando isn’t even a playoff contender in the Eastern Conference.
While LeBron James has been right to shoulder plenty of the blame for the team’s early struggles, it’s head coach David Blatt who can expect to come under fire if the underachieving continues. And he’s already catching some heat for the team’s poor performance.
“I think Blatt is struggling a bit,” said one veteran NBA coach. “The offense is not very imaginative. Spoelstra did good job of blending guys, creating ways to get guys isolated. I don’t see that right now. They’re going through the motions of an offense that isn’t clicking.”
The coach, who did not want to be named while critiquing a rival, said Blatt’s offense relied on “a lot of European stuff that isn’t going to work” in the NBA. “It’s too simple. I just don’t think he hits the right buttons.
“Their talent is taking over and will win some games,” the coach said. “But going against elite teams, that’s not going to work.”
Blatt has had years of success coaching overseas, but as a first-year NBA coach, a transition period is to be expected. And, jealousy could be a factor here, considering a “veteran NBA coach” would jump at the chance to work in a place that features a team with such a completely stacked roster.
Somewhat ironically, offense hasn’t been a huge issue for these Cavaliers, who are currently tied for ninth in the league in points scored per 100 possessions. But with the talent on the roster, that number should be even higher, and as long as Cleveland performs inconsistently, Blatt will continue to come under fire — even if shots taken by his peers at this point may seem a bit unexpected.