It’s no secret the drama that ensued last season with coach John Beilein and the Cleveland Cavaliers. There was an obvious lack of respect from both parties. The rift caused Beilein’s resignation. Shortly after, assistant coach J.B. Bickerstaff was promoted to head coach.
The team definitely has new dynamics. Long-time leader Tristian Thompson is now a Boston Celtic, with three-time champion JaVale McGee filling the paint in his stead. The team will also have a full season of Andre Drummond.
The Cavs had the second worst in the NBA last season, but the silver lining is that the players are now rested up and ready for the season starting in just a few weeks.
Power forward Larry Nance says he’s “ready to go.” Nance has full belief that this season all of the pieces of the puzzle for the Cavaliers are set. He says he is looking forward to a full season with Drummond and the arrival of the fifth round pick Isaac Okoro. In addition to the entire team coming into the season healthy, Nance praised JB Bickerstaff’s coaching and says he has “complete confidence” in Bickerstaff’s coaching abilities. Nance claims that Bickerson’s young age allows him to better connect with such a young team.
“We’ve got real reason to be optimistic this year… I have the utmost confidence in JB. I think that he is (and already doing) an awesome job,” explained Nance. “Accountability is the biggest word… no one is above that. J.B. has been great. Has a great conversation with all of us. It’s rare when a coach could get you excited about the type of defense you’re going to play. He has us in a good space right now.”
Drummond appreciates how Bickerstaff scrutinizes the films to perfect strategies.
“He’s a people person. He’s a great guy to talk to, constant communication. He always calls me to the principal’s office just to talk to me,” Drummond laughs.
J.B. Bickerstaff is determined for fans to understand, they are not a development team. He is “teaching the team how to win.” Bickerstaff shared his approach as a coach.
“When you build chemistry, you build trust. With that trust you can have hard conversations without being defensive and having your guard up.” Bickerstaff referenced the culture that he is encouraging to cultivate and the imperativeness of forming chemistry. “When guys want to come here they know what they are getting into.”
This season is paramount that the Cavs understand their strengths and weaknesses. Previous seasons could be blamed on poor leadership. However, the Cavaliers now have the tools to make it to the playoffs, especially with J.B. Bickerstaff as coach.
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