Archive for June, 2010

Links To The Present: June 18, 2010

Friday, June 18th, 2010

“Gretchen Fri, spokeswoman for the event, said “we’ve reached out to him,” but she is not certain whether James will attend.”[James Ewinger]

“Izzo called Gilbert ”one of the classiest guys I’ve ever met” as he put his NBA aspirations behind him. But in the aftermath of Izzo’s rejection, Gilbert seems more like a meddler on a power trip than ever before.” [Plain Dealer Staff]

I love the one with Oprah!

“”At the same time, I can’t just sit around and wait. I have to be proactive with my choices and what’s gonna make me happy. I have to make sure I take my time and make the right decision.”” [ESPN]

Neil Paine posted the advanced stats for the finals and declined to comment on them – until we baited him in the comments section :)

And that’s another season done with.

Friday, June 18th, 2010

“Well, first things first: I will never say anything bad about Derek Fisher ever again. He could start launching the ball at his own basket for the first 40 games of next season and keep his starting job. Honestly, if there’s one guy who I’m happy about making me look like an absolute and total idiot, it’s Fisher, who deserves sucess in this league just about as much as anyone else.”

Cavs: The Blog, June 12th, 2009.

(I am very, very, very rarely right about anything.)

So, that’s that. Lakers are your back-to-back NBA champions.

Let’s get this out of the way first:

LeBron, Game 6: 27 points, 8-21 shooting, 19 rebounds, 10 assists. Satan.

Kobe, Game 7: 23 points, 6-24 shooting, 15 rebounds, 2 assists. Champion.

LeBron did have five more turnovers than Kobe, but still. For a couple of minutes there, I dreamed about how if Kobe lost while playing like he did, the LeBron/Kobe article would have to become about basketball. The whole “Kobe is a better sports human” thing would sort have melted after a historic choke in game 7 of the NBA Finals against the Celtics.

Alas. The Celtics got tight on the road, they missed Perkins, and Kobe’s teammates stepped up. History is the propaganda of the victors (do I really have to tell you again) — in a few months, this game will be remembered by most people as Kobe’s indomitable will manifesting itself in rebounding, defense on Ray Allen, and some late free throws. Or just be another of Kobe’s five championships, each one like the last.

I know — it’s not fair. Nobody cares. Life isn’t fair. There’s no reason that being a sports fan should be. Smile, clap, tip your cap, and hope one of your favorite athletes gets bailed out the same way someday. The Kobe/LeBron thing is what it always was — LeBron fans waving stat sheets and specific examples and Kobe fans pointing to T-Shirts with rings on them. Nothing ever changes. Nothing ever ends.

As bad as the Kobe nutjobs on the winning side will be, the conspiracy nutjobs on the losing side will be much worse. Not a great game seven for people that like basketball writing to be about basketball instead of legacies and championship organs or the paranoid ramblings of sore losers.

I am extremely happy for Ron Artest, and, to a lesser extent, Derek Fisher. And Gasol, kinda. Not Sasha.

So, the Lakers surviving a horrible Kobe performance because they played gutty defense and were fine with the game becoming a war. That’s another sheet in my “I’m really not sure firing Mike Brown without a clear replacement in mind was a good idea” folder. I mean, maybe they could have waited to see how good the Celtics were before firing Brown? Maybe?

In hindsight, what was the freaking rush? What idiot big-name coach did they think was going to come and help them recruit LeBron? Do they realize that coaches, unlike young players, often have fully formed post-basketball lives that they have no pressure to leave? I mean, I guess Mike Brown’s bonus forced their hands. But yeesh, this is a royal mess.

Ray Allen: very much available for the MLE.

That’s all I have for this season. What a year. First season doing this site from start-to-finish, and after I started doing NBC along with this, first season doing basketball as a real job. Not the outcome I was hoping for this year, but the journey couldn’t have been better. Thanks to all of you for making this such a great season for me and this site.

Hopefully I’ll be able to do the real off-season work here now: rumor breakdowns, player report cards, goofy posts, et cetera. Stay tuned, campers.

On the Izzo no-go and more

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

Alright, so it isn’t Tom Izzo. Fine by me. Izzo is a good college coach, but the odds against college coaches succeeding in the pros are very, very high. The stakes are going to be pretty high around here if LeBron comes back, and you want a guy with real NBA coaching experience at the helm.

Assuming a Coach K/Phil Jackson miracle doesn’t happen, I would begrudgingly endorse Byron Scott as the next head coach of the Cavaliers. I’m trying to sell myself on the fact the Hornets were the #2 team in offensive efficiency during the 07-08 season, but it’s not easy.

First off, Scott’s teams never played all that fast, despite the fact they had Chris Paul. Seeing as to how the one strategy change most people want is more of LeBron in the open floor, this does not thrill me. Also, the Hornet offense was pretty much “give Chris Paul a pick and let him dribble where he wants.” It worked because Paul’s a beast, but come on. The #1 problem people had with Mike Brown was his tendency to do the exact same thing with LeBron.

Finally, since Mike Brown did pretty much everything but win a championship as the head coach of the Cavs, I’d like for his replacement to have actually won a championship. Brown for Scott smacks of making a change to make a change.

And yet I’m having trouble seeing good alternatives. I think Dwyane Casey would be a brilliant, brilliant, brilliant, hire for an up-and-coming team, but he’s unproven and likely wouldn’t have LeBron’s trust. The Cleveland job is too much for him at this point of his career. (If the Cavs do lose LeBron, somehow snagging Casey away from the Clippers would be one of the few things that could soften that blow.)

Thibodeau is gone. So is Avery Johnson. Jeff Van Gundy isn’t leaving ESPN. By the way, I call shenanigans on Jeff Van Gundy as a potential Cleveland home run. In the last decade, Jeff Van Gundy has coached slow-paced, grind-it-out, offensively stagnant teams that failed to win championships. He has also been surprisingly funny on television. Which one of those two things make him sound like an improvement on Mike Brown? THIS MAN GAVE PATRICK EWING 15 SHOTS A GAME THE YEAR HE SHOT 43.5% FROM THE FLOOR. 46.6% SHOOTING GOT EWING 19 SHOTS A GAME. BANTERING CHARMINGLY WITH MARC JACKSON AND PREDICTING FREE THROW REBOUNDS DOES NOT WASH THOSE SINS OF OFFENSE AWAY. I am going to go here: in today’s NBA, Stan is light years ahead of his brother in NBA coaching theory.

So LeBron wouldn’t tell Izzo he was staying. Here’s my theory: Both the Cavs and the Bulls have told LeBron’s camp that they’re going to try and swing a crazy sign-and-trade for Chris Bosh. It would be tricky for the Cavs, and the Bulls might get a bite on the Deng contract. (Don’t think they will let go of Noah. No way Thibodeau lets go of a defender like that.) LeBron has to wait and see if one of those scenarios, or something like one of them getting Ray Allen for the MLE, works out. As much as LeBron loves Cleveland, there’s no way he could pass up on being part of a Rose/Somebody/James/Bosh/Noah team. (Imagine if they somehow got Allen to play two-guard. Whoa.)

Likewise, he definitely stays if Cleveland can snag Bosh. This is a big decision, and last year’s roster plus a college coach was not going to be enough to make it for him. I hate that this is how it is, but I do have to put myself in LeBron’s shoes a little bit on this one. It’s his legacy at stake here. The Cavs are going to have to change the package and not just the wrapping paper to get LeBron back, or hope that nobody else with cap space makes a big move. That’s the bottom line.

Alright, that’s enough for tonight. Get excited for game seven and I’ll talk to you tomorrow.

Links to The Present: June 15, 2010

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

“Izzo mulled the decision for more than a week and for five days after a visit to Cleveland last Thursday. All along, sources said a major hangup was Izzo’s inability to get a sense from LeBron James what his future would be. James, wanting to stay out of the process, is not believed to have discussed the job with Izzo.” [Brian Windhorst]

“Although it doesn’t rise to the level of experiencing a divorce (at least, for most people!), his potential departure does feel like losing a friend or family member for many whose closets include many No. 23 Cavs jerseys.”  McConnell refers to a recent poll that rated Cleveland as the nation’s most miserable city and says James’ return would help boost our self-esteem.  Writes McConnell, “In short, Cleveland (right or wrong) has endured considerable blows to its collective self-esteem over many years. Once again, psychological research has shown that when people take hits to their self-esteem, they try to find ways to restore it. Sometimes, those responses can be antisocial (e.g., the drunk who starts a bar fight following an insult), but in the case of Cleveland, Cavs fans have been able to be buoyed by a successful hometown talent in James.”  [Mary Schmitt Boyer - PD]

“Gilbert knew finding Brown’s replacement would be difficult. He said it would be ideal to have a coach in place by July 1, but that may be unrealistic. The draft is next week, and although the Cavs don’t currently have a pick, they’ve been shopping around to obtain one.

They’ve also talked to several teams about possible trades, hoping to upgrade their roster and make it more appealing to James.” [AP]

Tom Izzo to hold presser, likely to announce plans to stay at MSU

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

Looks like Tom Izzo will not be the next head coach of the Cavaliers. He is going to hold a press conference at 7 PM EST, likely to announce that he will stay at MSU.

Windhorst is reporting that the Cavs are still searching for a coach, meaning that Izzo is likely not taking the job.

It looks like what happened here is that Izzo didn’t want to leave unless he knew LeBron was staying, and LeBron didn’t want to commit to staying. I don’t have to tell you that that isn’t a great sign. Byron Scott is now your probable front-runner.

Notes and Errata: June 15th, 2010

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

-Honestly, I’m a little exhausted after spending most of this evening on the Tim Donaghy piece I wrote for Pro Basketball Talk today. Most of it was just taking the research other, very good writers have spent a lot of their time doing, organizing it, and then making the logical conclusion. I thank all of them for doing the work they did.

I’m proud of the piece, and nervous about how it will be received. I don’t think I’ve ever been as passionate as I was in that piece, and especially not as passionate in a negative way. The disrespect that man chooses to show to the game I love is just a lot for me to handle. Honestly, Laker fans, Kobe fans, LeBron haters, New York fans, whatever it may be, come as you are. All I ask is that you respect the game and be willing to talk about basketball. Tim Donaghy has disrespected the game in ways I cannot believe, and he and his disciples are actively attempting to steer discussion about basketball away from basketball. I think I did the right thing. Only time will tell how things shake out.

TOM IZZO POWER SOLITAIRE! (swear word contained in video)

For the record, I completely understand Izzo wanting to wait to take the job until he knows LeBron is staying. Trouble is, I don’t know if LeBron wants to commit to staying before the Cavs make a major roster move.

Finals thoughts: Kobe was amazing. Don’t blame him for shooting his team out of the game, because they weren’t doing much when he wasn’t trying to take the game over. Boston’s defense is that good. Honestly, we’re 48 minutes away from being forced to include that the most important player of the “LeBron/Kobe” era, isn’t a player at all, but the Boston defense.

Wow, shopping Ty Lawson for a late-lottery big would be a stupid move.

Alright, I’m afraid that’s all I have for tonight. Until tomorrow, campers.

Links To The Present: June 14, 2010

Monday, June 14th, 2010

“Izzo did not speak to media members Monday morning when he arrived at Michigan State for the start of his annual youth basketball camp. He declined to discuss the Cavs when a camper asked him a question about it during his address to the group.” [Brian Windhorst on Tom Izzo]

“2. Scott is a former Laker who wants that job. He moved back to Los Angeles after being fired by New Orleans early last season, and prefers the West Coast. Scott knows that he can be the next Avery Johnson. He can do some TV and wait for a team to hire him. He doesn’t have to grab the first offer.” [Terry Pluto on Byron Scott]

“But James “100 percent” would endorse Izzo’s hiring, the source said.” [Brian Windhorst]

“All along, James has not planned to speak to coaching candidates or lobby for certain coaches to replace Mike Brown. James, according to a source, has not spoken with Izzo about the job or his future and currently has no plans to do so.” [Brian Windhorst]

“As for his questions about where Cleveland’s organization stands with James, one source said Izzo “isn’t even sure who has a relationship with [James].”” [Adrian Wojnarowksi]

“As much as anything, the Cavaliers are giving the franchise completely over to James and his inner circle now.” [Adrian Wojnarowksi Last Week]

“Wade has always seemed to play second fiddle to James, especially when it comes to this summer. But here, he can effectively position himself as different. Maybe he’s not the same unprecedented talent, but he’s close. And unlike James, he already has a ring, and zero questions about who he really is as an athlete.  LeBron is still LeBron. Wade, though, is being about hundred times more shrewd here. He may end up stealing the show this summer while making as little racket as possible.” [Bethlehem Shoals on D Wade and LeBron]

“Unfortunately for the Cavs, they may not be able to wait that long. Given Izzo’s 27 years of loyalty at Michigan State, it seems unlikely he would leave the school in a state of limbo for several more weeks — especially given the way students and fans have responded to the possibility of his departure with an outpouring of support.” [Matt Watson of FanHouse]

I like this post by Neil Paine.  He sets out to show support for Kobe Bryant’s back-breaking night of carrying teammates, yet Pau Gasol (game 2) appears higher on his “Best Performances in a Finals Loss” chart.

Awaiting the Izzo decision: A candidate profile.

Sunday, June 13th, 2010

Last time we spoke, I mentioned the emergence of Byron Scott as a candidate for the Cleveland Cavaliers’ vacant head coach position. Two weeks later, Scott has climbed the ranks and is a legitimate contender for the job. However, Dan Gilbert has recently made a strong push for a longtime friend, Michigan State coach Tom Izzo, leaving Scott as what is believed to be option 1b.

Lately the Izzo news has been around-the-clock, with fans doing everything from tracking his flight on his visit to Cleveland to holding rallies on the Michigan State campus persuading him to stay. But the interest remains and Izzo is expected to make his decision any day now.

Therefore, without further ado, here is a look at how Tom Izzo would mesh with the Cavaliers, Divine Comedy style.

Inferno

“Be brave. Take risks. Nothing can substitute experience.” — Paulo Coelho.

While Tom Izzo is literally a living legend on the college basketball scene, he has never coached in any capacity on the professional level. However, this is not my greatest concern. The argument that “a college coach has never had success in his first NBA gig” is a biased assessment and one that looks at less experienced coaches that went to lottery teams. Never before has a coach of Izzo’s stature made the jump to a 60+ win team.

No, that doesn’t seem to bother me. What really concerns me is that quote above and how it applies to Izzo’s start, should he accept the gig. Even though I’m not worried about his eventual transition into the NBA and winning on the professional level over the course of a few years, the problem is the risks, and ultimately losses, he’ll have to take in order to reach that success. In other words, for Izzo to learn how to fight on the NBA level, it may take a few good whippings first.

Having to sell LeBron James on the future of Cleveland’s coaching position may not be a walk in the park when you explain that the guy coming in has been coaching teenagers that made absolutely no money off of basketball for the past 15 years. Add in the fact that expectations will be sky high and the first year under Izzo could be a difficult one for the Cavaliers, much like his 16-16 season his first year with the Spartans. The good news? That was his worst year coaching, holding a 348-130 record (.728) in the 14 seasons since.

While Izzo's teams have a reputation for getting out and running, their offense doesn't exactly blow opponents away.

One of my biggest stat-based fears deals with Izzo’s history on the offensive end of the ball. Despite having several great athletes throughout the years and a reputation for playing an up-tempo brand of basketball, his teams have never put an overwhelming amount of points on the board. Over his career, his Spartan teams have averaged only 71 points per game, an average that is less than that of Coach K’s by double digits. This past season Michigan State ranked 92nd in NCAA Div. 1 basketball for points per game with an average of 72.6 points per contest.

That ranking put them well behind schools such as Villanova (82.5), Kansas (81.8), Syracuse (81.5), and even teams stereotypically known for running a slower pace, like Duke (78.4). Granted, in the Big 10 teams are relegated to a half court tempo, methodically running plays aimed at ticking the seconds off of the shotclock. However, Michigan State still only placed third in the Big 10 in points per game, and edging out schools such as Illinois, Northwestern, and Penn State isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement for one’s offense.

Perhaps the biggest complaint during the Mike Brown era was his reluctance to get out and run on the fastbreak. Locked into a half court system, fans and even some players felt that the athleticism of LeBron James was being wasted away in crucial breaks of the game. Who knows if Tom Izzo would be able to implement a fastbreak system better than Mike Brown’s Cavaliers, who ranked 18th in fastbreak points per game (13.9) and 25th in pace (93.5) this season. However, after having some success in the past with fastbreak offense, it’s hard to imagine he could be any worse.

Lastly, Izzo’s teams aren’t known for efficient shooting from either behind the three-point arc or free throw line. Last season the Spartans shot 68.1% from the free throw line, which was dead last in the Big 10 and tied for 201st in Div. 1 hoops. If Tom Izzo were to take over the Cavaliers, who were last in the NBA in free throw percentage at 72.0% this season, don’t expect the free throw woes to improve short of Mark Price divine intervention.

Michigan State’s three-point shooting was also below average, despite boasting deep threats such as Kalin Lucas and Chris Allen. In the regular season, the Spartans shot 33.3% from three, which was tied for 213th in NCAA basketball. Granted, shooting figures typically have more to do with the players than the coach, but it’s never refreshing to see shooting struggles under such a historic head coach.

In the end, I don’t see Tom Izzo’s “inferno” stage presenting that large of a challenge to the Cavaliers. Under Mike Brown the team was far from an offensive juggernaut, so Izzo would have his work cut out for him. Furthermore, who knows what he would be capable of given world class athleticism and talent.

Purgatorio

By far the biggest learning point for an NBA coach is managing your team. Sometimes, in the case of high profile gigs such as Los Angeles in the early 2000′s, it means helping Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal coexist for as long as possible. In this regard, Phil Jackson may be the best example of successful ego management in NBA history.

If Tom Izzo can sell Cleveland on his passion and defense, much like Scott Skiles did in Milwaukee, the Cavaliers will have a great future ahead.

However, it’s also very important for any coach, especially a coach new to the NBA ranks, to keep his ego in check. Izzo is known for getting in the face of his players, looking to get the most out of them. While a passionate coach that stays on you is a great blessing in the NBA, particularly after five years of Mike Brown’s smiles and blank stares, Izzo will have to learn how to tone it down a notch or two before having success with it. After having a conversation with tough minded NBA head coach and former Spartan Scott Skiles, Izzo appears to be on the right track in learning how to manage his fieriness.

That reported conversation brings up another issue as well. Skiles told Izzo “you play so many games [that] the losses pile up,” explaining the up and down nature of the league. This is one of the main concerns experts have anytime a coach goes from the college ranks to the NBA. Sure, you can have a decent record and manage a team in a 30 game season where the postseason involves playing a team you likely haven’t seen in a few years, but how will you fare when 90+ games is expected of you each season and not every three? And no one but Tom Izzo, who doesn’t even know yet and would only find out halfway into his first season, can answer that question.

That’s why these issues are filed under the “purgatory” phase. These concerns aren’t as troublesome as those found in the inferno, but it could cause some sort of temporary punishment for the Cavaliers if Izzo takes over next season.

Paradiso

There’s no other way to say this, but Tom Izzo is a flat out winner. He has consistently overachieved with his teams despite injuries and often times lesser talent. There is no doubt in my mind that if the Cavaliers were able to hire this former NCAA coach of the year, champion, and future hall of famer, that it would catch the eyes of LeBron James more so than a candidate like Tom Thibodeau or if Mike Brown were retained.

Tom Izzo has appeared in 13 straight NCAA tournaments and has been in six of the last 12 Final Fours. That’s six times that Izzo’s team was considered to be one of the top four teams in the country without the benefit of having a top four recruiting class. Since Rivals started ranking recruiting classes in 2003, Michigan State’s highest class ranking has been 11th (’03 – 13th, ’04 – 11th, ’05 – NA, ’06 – 18th, ’07 – 14th, ’08 – 22nd, ’09 – NA, ’10 – 11th). Since 2007, John Calipari’s recruiting classes have been ranked higher than Izzo’s each year (’07 – 10th, ’08 – 4th, ’09 – 1st, ’10 – 1st), yet Izzo has edged out Calipari in the NCAA tournament over that span, boasting an 11-3 record. In fact, Izzo has the third best postseason record among active coaches, 35-12 (.745), behind only Coach K (.778) and Roy Williams (.753). That’s the difference between a coach and a salesman who has exploited an NBA rule in his favor for recruiting purposes.

But more important than winning, it’s how Tom Izzo wins that would best benefit the Cavaliers. In five tournament games this past season, Izzo’s Spartans allowed only 64.6 points per game, limiting their opponents to 108-263 (41.1%) shooting. Most of this is due to the man-to-man pressure, stay in front of your guy, accountability defense that he preaches. As blogger “Sparty” explains, “State doesn’t shoot gaps to try and create turnovers, they are more concerned about protecting the basket and grabbing rebounds, reducing teams 2nd chance opportunities.”

Many of you Cavs fans remember there was once a time when playing for Mike Brown’s Cavaliers meant you protected the basket first and always put in the effort. Excuses like “my defense is my offense” landed Sasha Pavlovic on the bench for a season and a half. Unfortunately, once the talent-hungry Cavs got their hands on some offensive help, sacrifices were made. In Brown’s first three postseasons (2006-08), the Cavaliers allowed only 88.9 points per game in 46 games. In the last two postseasons, Cleveland has allowed 93.4 points per game in 25 playoff games, despite having much better regular season records and far more talented teams. This time span not-so coincidentally syncs up with the arrivals of Mo Williams, Antawn Jamison, and Shaquille O’Neal, all players who Brown had a hard time integrating into his defensive concept. However, one can only wonder how hard he tried to integrate them after watching Mo Williams play matador defense and Shaq lazily show on every pick and roll possession after possession. Brown almost seemed content sacrificing this horrendous defensive show for the off chance that either player would provide an uplifting offensive spark, like Mo’s scoring tear after his dunk on Paul Pierce in game one of the semifinals.

Some fear Izzo's "fiery nature" will upset or scare off LeBron, but it sure beats bewilderedness.

Therefore, this is what I believe would be Tom Izzo’s biggest asset to the franchise, should he be able to perfect it as I mentioned above. His full contact, football pad practices certainly wouldn’t fly, but his in your face nature would demand accountability on the defensive end of the basketball.

There is a misconception floating around that LeBron James wouldn’t and doesn’t respond well to fiery coaches that openly correct their players. However, in the documentary More Than a Game, viewers are met with several clips of current University of Akron coach Keith Dambrot scolding his players, which included LeBron. LeBron talks about how he first reacted to the style of Dambrot and went on to mention his demanding nature and how he was the first coach to actually teach him a lot about the game.

Similarly, while playing for Coach Mike Krzyzewski in the 2008 Olympics, LeBron said “he wants us to be perfect and that’s what he’s about, and we like that, we like that kind of challenge… you see how fiery he is during the course of a game.” He went on to claim “I have never played for a collegiate coach, but I didn’t come into it saying ‘well we have a collegiate coach, how are we gonna adjust to him?’ He’s one of the greatest coaches, no matter what level it’s on.”

As a collegiate coach seemingly on the same level as Coach K, considered a top 3 NCAA head coach, Cavs fans could only hope that LeBron would have a similar outlook on Tom Izzo if he were to accept the job. As with Mike Krzyzewski, Izzo is very fiery and demanding and would want only the best from LeBron James and his teammates. I believe this mentality is needed from the new head coach no matter who it is, as it became evident that Mike Brown lost his team in the playoffs.

In the end, with all of the intangibles that Tom Izzo brings, including the “big name splash,” I feel that he is the best option for the Cleveland Cavaliers right now. Furthermore, if Dan Gilbert and the front office can convince him to commit to the team without a firm commitment in place from LeBron James, as they are trying to do now, then the move becomes a great success. However, if Izzo were to decline the job, then as you found out in my last Italian trio themed head coach profile, Byron Scott would be a buono number two option.

Make sure to join the discussion at Numbers Don’t and Real Cavs Fans!

Notes and Errata: June 11th, 2010

Friday, June 11th, 2010

As it stands now, looks like everybody’s waiting on Izzo’s decison. He seems to be leaning towards coming to Cleveland, although his “sick of recruiting” comment makes me nervous: doesn’t he know that taking the Cleveland gig comes with taking the ultimate recruiting job?

If Izzo doesn’t come, it’s more feelers to big-name candidates, including Byron Scott. It’s pretty much a Catch-22 at this point: the Cavs want a big coach so that they can convince LeBron to stay, but no big coach will come unless they think they’re coaching LeBron.

Ultimately, it bodes well for Mike Brown’s future that Avery Johnson got a head coaching gig. Also, this is one more nail in the “LeBron will come to New Jersey/Brooklyn” coffin — I doubt a coach with a Mike Brown-like resume will excite him.

-NBA Finals stuff: it was one of those games where Kobe did everything wrong, but still ended up with 33 points on 61.1% True Shooting, because he is that good at making crazy shots sometimes. Only four two-point field goals for Kobe, and none of them came from inside the paint.

-Good for Big Baby and “Honey, I shrunk J.R. Smith.”  Nice to see them do what Leon Powe did in the 2008 finals.

-Well, Derek Fisher and Rasheed Wallace went back to their regularly scheduled sucking on offense, although ‘Sheed did play solid defense and hit one big three.

-If the Lakers lose because injuries make Bynum a non-factor YET AGAIN, he becomes a legitimately tragic figure. It’s one thing to be Greg Oden, and another to have to sit and watch a team go to three straight finals with their starting center forced to sit.

-Alright, that’s all for tonight. We’ll keep you updated on the coaching situation as new stuff develops.

Sources: Izzo agrees to be new Cavaliers head coach

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

The good people over at Waiting For Next Year, whom we love and admire over here at Cavs: The Blog, have broken the story that Tom Izzo has agreed to become the head coach of the Cavaliers. What is not in dispute right now is that Izzo held a meeting with his MSU players and discussed Cleveland’s offer with them.

According to WFNY, he told them he is leaving at the meeting and plans to make an official announcement later in the week. According to other outlets, Izzo told his team that he has not yet made his final decision.

I completely trust that WFNY is reporting what they believe to be true and have 100% confidence in their source. The only reason I’m not 100% positive Izzo will be the next head coach of the Cavs is that college coaches have been known to waffle on big decisions like this. We will, of course, keep you updated as this develops. Kudos to WFNY for getting such a major scoop.