clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Best case, worst case: John Beilein

What does the 2019-20 season hold for a very experienced rookie head coach?

2019 Salt Lake City Summer League - Cleveland Cavaliers v Utah Jazz Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images

Best Case

Chris Manning (@cwmwrites): As he adjusts to the NBA from college, Beilein’s offensive system translates, perhaps with a few adjustments since the game does work a little bit differently in the NBA vs. the Big Ten. This brings the best out of Kevin Love — who has an All-Star caliber season — but also Darius Garland, Collin Sexton, Cedi Osman and every other young Cav who the franchise wants to succeed over the next 3-5 years. At the same time, he leans on his assistants with NBA experience (J.B. Bickerstaff and Antonio Lang, namely) to adjust successfully to the 82-game season and in building a defense that isn’t a total disaster.

Justin Rowan (@cavsanada): This is an interesting question because it can be tricky to quantify what exactly each individual coach is doing. What I would like to see from Beilein in a best case scenario would be a clear and defined system where everybody knows what they’re doing. I think back to the Nets teams over the last few years prior to last season’s breakout, and it was clear that everybody knew where they needed to be and what they were running, the talent just wasn’t at the same level. This would be my hope for the Cavs that there is clear buy-in from the roster and the rest is determined by the individual growth of their core.

David Zavac (@DavidZavac): John Beilein, secure in his job, fully embraces the youth movement and doesn’t panic after difficult results early on. Or perhaps Darius Garland really does project as a star, and Kevin Love stays healthy, and Beilein’s offense makes the Cavs a league pass darling. If Beilein is patient and flexible, the results will be better than we expect. Whether that means a bunch of wins, I don’t know. While they need to stay in the bottom 10 of the NBA to keep their draft pick, it’s not out of the realm that Kevin Love and a resurgent Tristan Thompson or Larry Nance, Jr. could propel them to competence for stretches of the season.

Worst Case

CM: Beilein’s offense largely works, but it doesn’t elevate the young players as well as the Cavs hoped it would, at least in year one. He also doesn’t mesh with some of the veterans on the team and, as the Cavs flip expiring contracts, the roster doesn’t really fit what he wants to do and it means it doesn’t really work like it should. So while there are some positives in what he’s doing, he also remains something of an unknown heading into year two as the Cavs have another likely top-10 pick.

I would, for what it’s worth, say this is a highly unlikely outcome for Beilein. He is too well regarded, and considered to be too good at coaching, to really fail.

JR: The worst case scenario is a clash of personalities where it is clear that the team does not like Beilein. So much of coaching at this level is relationship management and if he cannot connect to the young players that would be an absolute disaster. This season isn’t about wins and losses, it’s about growth and laying a foundation. If it’s clear from the beginning that the pieces this retooling is starting out with don’t connect, it’s a death sentence for the future.

DZ: The Cavs are bad, and whether it’s a result of injuries or just a poor roster, the losses pile up. That’s never been something Beilein’s had to deal with, and it leads to two unfortunate results: one, that his authoritarian/need for control impulses, much more accepted at the college level than NBA, cause him to alienate various players, and two, he relies on the veteran players at the expense of the young players to try and salvage the season and some wins. We need to continue to learn what we have in players like Collin Sexton and Cedi Osman, and Dylan Windler and Kevin Porter Jr. need a real look too. I’d put Garland in a more important category.