LeBron James has deemed Coach David Blatt as ineffectual in several ways, which is unbecoming of someone with James’ legend-in-the-making stature, observed Marc Stein of ESPN Radio.
James was simply doing way too much, Stein further wrote. Stein sat through the entire Finals and he noticed that it was James who called timeouts and made substitutes. Reportedly, James was also often heard disagreeing loudly with Blatt when the latter made decisions James did not agree with.
There was one instance, Stein reported, in which James was shaking his head noisily in disagreement after one play which coach Blatt called during the third quarter of Game 5.
This obliged Blatt to change his game play in front of the entire Cleveland team.
How could James expect his fellow teammates to respect Blatt after treating the coach that way, Stein mused.
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The star forward player may have gotten his calls right, though.
After all, Blatt failed miserably in putting Timofey Mozgov in, “both offensively and defensively, after his bust-outs in Games 2 and 4.” Blatt also made futile attempts to put a stop to Andre Iguodala, asking Mozgov to run after him instead.
However, Stein believed that James should have made the move to go straight to Dan Gilbert and told him any name he would back as coach, may it be “Jeff Van Gundy, Tom Thibodeau or the most likely suspect: [Tyronn] Lue.”
James’ may well have insinuated that he preferred the assistant coach Lue over Blatt, according to Stein. He was often seen hunched up frequently with Lue and almost looked at everyone but Blatt.
Nevertheless, experts shared that most of the legendary players didn’t have smooth-sailing relationships with their head coaches, wrote Dan Devine for Yahoo! Sports.
NBA legends Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson were noted to have “used the leverage at their disposal to push their organizations,” though those weren’t given much thought as “those pushes worked,” Devine mused.
If Blatt was actually offended with James’ behavior, he did not admit it openly. In fact, Yahoo! Sports asked Blatt if he favored James calling out the timeouts and huddles. And Blatt answered, “I do.”
He also confessed that previous players did the same to him before but he shrugged it aside as it is all about winning and the NBA is no utopia.
Also, Blatt has described the opportunity to coach James as “invigorating and exhilarating,” saying that the star forward’s “heart was in the right place”.
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