With Chris Grant fired many believe that Mike Brown is now on the hot seat for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Yet Dan Gilbert, owner of the team provided support for Brown shortly following the Grant firing. Does that mean Brown can continue with the same tactics that he has during the first part of the season and still keep his job? We would say no. So far Brown’s attempts to correct the team’s issues have not been successful. If talent is not the issue, as Gilbert noted yesterday, then that means the culture and character of the team must change through the coaching staff. (Some/Many might disagree, believing that lack of talent is a big issue) So what are Brown’s options:
Brown could decide to give a quick hook to any player who fails to do what he expects of them. Doesn’t mean every mistake but anytime effort is lacking, players aren’t boxed out, the ball isn’t moving, a play isn’t run or a player pouts Brown takes them out of the game quickly. Parents and counselors know that the best reinforcement is immediate reinforcement. This could cause a lot of timeouts, disjointed player groupings (aren’t they already) and frustrated players. Yet it would also hammer home the point of what is important to Brown.
Brown can work to adjust time on the court, starters and player combinations to try to find the right fit. He has done this throughout the season, moving CJ Miles, Earl Clark, Dion Waiters, Alonzo Gee and Jarrett Jack in and out of the starting lineup. These subtle adjustments on how players play together and split minutes could help find continuity. Does he play Irving more at shooting guard with Jack, Waiters or Matthew Dellavadova at point guard? Does he pair Tristan Thompson up with Anthony Bennett in the front court when Bennett comes off the bench? Does Miles fit in at small forward, sliding Luol Deng down to the 4 spot, to give the Cavs a more dynamic lineup and more shooting? Subtle changes could help, there are statistics (follow @WFNYJacob on Twitter to read about stats and the Cavaliers) that could help impact these subtle changes.
Make One Time Statement
Brown only played Kyrie Irving and other starters minimal minutes in the second half of the blow out loss to the LA Lakers. The team on the floor, mostly Dellavadova, Waiters, Miles, Bennett and starter Anderson Varejao, showed tenacity, effort and ball movement bringing the team back from a huge deficit. While the Cavs still fell short, Brown could make a huge statement starting those 5 players as both a reward to them and a sign that he will not accept poor effort, talent or less talent. A move like this could be a strong statement to the whole team. The fact that Gilbert didn’t fire Brown means the players should realize he isn’t going anywhere. It could backfire on Brown though. Players, such as Irving and Deng, could take it as a slap to the face and, if they aren’t already, be lost to Brown forever.
Play for the Future
Finally Brown could play the young players. Start Tyler Zeller, play Thompson, Bennett, Waiters and Irving big minutes, and together. Dust off Sergey Karasev and get him in the rotation. This could also include trades of Varejao, Deng and Jack, or just limit their minutes. They could still start but the Brown could look to the future and force what is suppose to be the young core of this team to play together, learn to play off and with each other and bind them together. Use hockey style switches to keep them together as much as possible. Have a veteran squad of Jack, Miles, Deng, Clark and Varejao subbing for the young guys. See if each unit can get some cohesion together.
Many of you think Brown is the problem, but of these options which is most realistic? Which do you think could work? Are you against one of them specifically?