clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

2015 Cavaliers Coach Preview: David Blatt still does not care what you think

After a year of constant turmoil that ended with taking an injury-marred team to Game 6 of the NBA Finals, does David Blatt have anything left to prove? Or everything left to prove?

Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

People have opinions about David Blatt. David Blatt acknowledges this fact, and stiff-arms it as he walks out to coach another training camp practice.

There are two schools of thought about Blatt heading into this season. One sees the 30-3 record down the stretch in the regular season, the masterful reinvention of the team from offensive juggernaut to stonewall playoff defense, and the weathering of an absolute media wasp's nest in his first season, and concludes that Blatt is, in fact, a good coach for this team. The other sees the start to the season, the lack of creativity that plagued the offense for most of the year, and the reasons for said media wasp's nest, and concludes that Blatt has proven nothing in his first year, and should be on the hot seat to begin the 2015-2016 campaign.

There's validity to both of these trains of thought. On one hand, Blatt did legitimately struggle with minute loads and offensive ingenuity for half the season, and said several things to the media over the course of the year that ranged from "questionable" to "deliberately asking for it." LeBron seemed to loathe playing for him for much of the season, and it took 41 games for him to figure out how to put everyone in the right spots, and even then, "everyone" didn't include Kevin Love. So yeah, Blatt might have room for improvement.

Or, you can just look at those sexy win-loss totals after Dion Waiters and Anderson Varejao were replaced by Timofey Mozgov, J.R. Smith, and Iman Shumpert. You can look at how this team adjusted during their playoff series, and how they started Matthew Dellavedova at point guard in seven NBA playoff games AND POSTED A WINNING RECORD IN THEM. You can look at how people will say that Blatt's success was mostly LeBron, Love, and Kyrie working in spite of that, and then just respond that, you know, the Cavs had all those players for the first half of the season, and couldn't win when Blatt was more obviously struggling with the NBA game.

Regardless of which end of the spectrum you fall on, one thing is certain: Blatt is going to be Blatt, for better or worse. Could Blatt have been better last year? Absolutely. Could he probably stand to stop being completely obtuse to the media? Probably. But Blatt got to the Finals in his first year as an NBA head coach while the best player in the game today seemed to be actively trying to undermine him. David Blatt doesn't care a single iota about what you think, what the media thinks, or even what LeBron James thinks about him.

He has an NBA head coaching job. He will continue to have an NBA head coaching job as long as he continues to put his team in a position to win. And despite the turmoil, the terrible first half, the injuries, and LeBron basically treating Blatt like the Cavs were the set of the NBA version of Mean Girls, Blatt was the head coach of a team that forced a Game 6 against perhaps the best regular season team of the last decade. I'd like the Cavs to continue to be put in situations to win an NBA title, and I'll take a coach with an inflated ego who doesn't appear to have control of the team (appear being the operative word) if that is the scenario that happens.

So as we head into 2015-2016, there are definitely thinks I'd like to see from Blatt. I'd like to see the Cavs run more complex offense this year, given the weapons they have and the arsenal we know Blatt can unleash. I'd like to see Blatt go deeper into the bench more regularly and not have such high minute demands for the stars. I'd like to see the team not struggle early despite a likely rusty Love, a somewhat sour Tristan Thompson, and an absent Irving. And finally, I'd like to see less of a Blatt-centered media circus.

I'm optimistic the first two things will happen thanks to the roster continuity and minor upgrades. I'm pessimistic about the third thing happening because injuries and contract stand-offs are bad. But the last thing? I have all the confidence in the world that we will see just as much media kerfuffle centered around LeBron and Blatt. And that's okay, because David Blatt is not here to make friends. He is here to win a title. And if you think he is incapable of doing that, then he will not care - he even supposedly said that the Cavs were going to win the title next season over the summer. He will tell you that you are wrong, walk away, don a Hawaiian shirt, and go back to putting large men in the optimal places to put the ball in the hoop and prevent the opponent from doing the same.