On an appearance on The Woj Pod with Adrian Wojnarowski, Cavs head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said that the Cavs’ season ending early can’t be allowed impact the 2020-21 season.
“We can’t allow this to impact next season,” Bickerstaff said. “The biggest thing for young, developing players is to play games. If they don’t get to play and experiance against other NBA players, it is a disadvantage. Building chemistry, building rhythm, guys starting to understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses. That’s a huge thing for all of your groups. We can’t afford to go into 2020-2021 and be a step slow, a step behind because some of these teams will be a couple months removed from playing competitive playoff-level basketball. The league, our front offices, our coaches — we’ve all been in communication because we have to figure something out because it’s too important.”
Bickerstaff appeared on the podcast alongside Hornets head coach James Borrego. Cleveland and Charlotte were two of the eight teams not heading to Orlando to continue the NBA season when it resumes.
He also agreed with Borrego about the importance of getting young players structure as a key thing lost.
“The pandemic is one thing,” Bickerstaff said. “We can’t fight that. But now that we have the opportunity to be in smaller groups, or groups as a whole, we’ve got to figure out how to get together and back in their lives because they are still learning how to be pros. We’ve got three or four key guys that are under 21-years-old and those guys need our help and development.”
When asked specifically if the Cavs felt ‘left behind,’ Bickerstaff said he and the team were “pissed off.”
“To me, Woj, we understand the reasons why. We want to be a great partner to the NBA and all the things that it does. But our guys are pissed off and so are we. For us, and the conversations we had with our guys is, no longer do we not want to be invited to the party. Whether the party is 22 teams, 16 teams, we are going to do everything in our power so that when the NBA has a party, we are on the invite list. We get it, we understand the safety, we understand the health issues. But it is internal motivation for us and our guys.” Bickerstaff again emphasized the need for the Cavs to physically get together in some capacity before next season in his answer.
Bickerstaff also discussed how NBA coaches and teams are responding to the killing of George Floyd, how he worked on better connecting with his players, his cooking during quarantine and more. You can listen to the interview here.