The Cleveland Cavaliers will unveil an all new starting lineup, roster and coaching staff tomorrow at Media Day. The Cavs, as Glenn shared earlier, will also be unveiling a new scoreboard to go along with the use of more on the floor visuals, similar to that used for Zydrunas Ilgauskas‘ jersey retirement.
Among the new is head coach David Blatt. Blatt is an experienced head coach, but only on the international level. He is a huge question mark even though his history is full of success. His lack of NBA experience, the difference between international and American basketball and comfort level with all of the NBA players makes him an unknown.
For CBS Sports’ Matt Moore (New Window) that places Blatt as the 27th ranked coach, though he is at the top of “The Unknowns” category:
"I’m really the only person skeptical of Blatt. Why wasn’t he given an NBA coaching job before if he was the super-genius he’s been made out to be? Don’t get me wrong, the hiring practices of the NBA in terms of coaching are wackadoodle, but you’d think someone would have paid through the nose to make him an assistant or given him a shot at head coach at some point. Second, we don’t know anything about what kind of NBA coach he’ll be. You can look at what he did in Europe, but as I constantly try and remind whenever there’s a high-value prospect coming over… this is not Europe. It’s not a different level of competition, it’s an entirely different game. This doesn’t mean I think Blatt will be bad, there’s every reason to think he’ll be good. But he’s coming in with the most expectations I can remember for a first-time head coach. I just think pumping the brakes just a little bit might be in order."
Moore is willing to stick his neck out where many are not willing. Blatt is unknown and it is strange he hasn’t had a shot as an NBA head coach until now. Moore, unlike many, are cautious even though Blatt’s history of flexible, creative offenses and solid defenses should transfer over greatly. The success of the international laden Spurs also gives hope to Blatt’s ability to make a difference in the league.
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"Blatt has the highest upside of any of the new coaches (as reflected by his score) and is the second-favorite according to the sportsbooks for COY behind Popovich. Why? He combines three elements you need to win the award. One, he’s a lifer, having coached overseas for years, so he has the respect of the fraternity. Two, he’s got a great team, that with its talent will win 50 games almost in its sleep. But it’s also a new team, in terms of playing together, so their coming together will seem like a really impressive coaching job. And three, he’s a newcomer, and those guys carry some weight if they have outlier years."
So while Moore has Blatt ranked low, he shows a great amount of respect for him in a different way. How the team comes together with all the talent will be either credited to or blamed on Blatt. By the end of the year expect Blatt to be ranked in the Top 10, if his long history in Europe is an indication.
Where do you think Blatt should rank coming in?