On the Izzo no-go and more

June 17th, 2010 by John Krolik

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.