Red Right 88

In Cleveland, hope dies last

Look Before You Leap

Dan Gilbert is a smart man. We know this because he didn’t listen to the hoople heads and fire Mike Brown on Friday in an emotional, reactionary decision. Instead, Gilbert came out and said he will take his time and evaluate everyone before making a decision.

And really, what’s the rush? Do the Cavs have a game this week that we don’t know about? Or course not. Plus, it’s not like the list of available coaches is long or distinguished: does Mike Woodson, Lawrence Frank or Vinny Del Negro get anyone excited? Well, those are at the top of the list of the current coaches who are looking for work.

Thankfully Gilbert is acting like what he is – the responsible adult in the room. What would the Cavs gain by firing Brown now? The only reason would be to find a scapegoat to appease the mob.

Brown deserves his share of the blame for the Cavs loss to Boston – but just his share, no more no less.

Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy hit the nail on the head when talking to ESPN:

“Mike Brown’s one of the most successful coaches that there’s been in this league for a long time,” Van Gundy said. “But it becomes scapegoat time and you’re not going to see many people other than coaches stepping up and taking the responsibility. The players are absolved. It’s sad, but it’s the way it goes. None of it is surprising.

“Mike’s been in a very difficult situation, again because the media created the expectations that that was a team that couldn’t lose, and so when they did, he pays the price. Instead of people maybe just saying, ‘The media was wrong.” … the inevitability of it. The ‘Win a ring for the king,’ and everything, it just made it inevitable that if it didn’t go well, Mike would be the one to pay the price. I don’t know if that’s fair, but that’s the way it is, that’s business.”

So we really have to question if the Cavs should fire Brown at all.

Here’s a small sampling of what Mike Brown has done:

  • Won the third-most games in team history with 272 wins;
  • Won the most postseason games in team history with 42 wins;
  • Coached the team to the playoffs five straight years;
  • Coached the team past the first round of the playoffs every year;
  • Posted at least 45 wins five straight years, the first time in team history;
  • Posted back-to-back 60-win seasons;

And here’s an even smaller sample of what Mike Brown hasn’t done:

  • Won an NBA title

If that’s enough to be fired, then just about every coach in the NBA should be canned immediately. Since 1984, only eight coaches have won NBA Championships: Phil Jackson, Pat Riley, Chuck Daley, Gregg Popovich, Rudy Tomjonavich, Doc Rivers, Larry Brown and KC Jones. That’s it. Eight guys in almost 30 years.

As we’ve learned all to well in Cleveland, firing a coach is the easy part. Just look at the Browns. And if the Cavs do fire Brown, then what? The national media has read the tea leaves and come up with the ridiculous conclusion that John Calipari should be the Cavs next coach.

Oh really? Pop quiz, hotshot: What do the following have in common?

  • Lon Kruger
  • P.J. Carlesimo
  • Rick Pitino
  • Tim Floyd
  • John Calipari
  • Leonard Hamilton

They are all college coaches who moved to the NBA and failed, miserably. The last college-bred coach to win the NBA championship was Paul Westhead, who as an NBA rookie led the Lakers to their 1979-80 title after taking over the team in midseason.

Do you really believe a team based in Cleveland is going to buck those odds? Are you ready to gamble the next 3-4 years of the franchise on that?

Thankfully, the Cavs are run by a highly successful businessman who doesn’t make decisions based on emotions, or fear or to appease the mob.

As fans we couldn’t ask for, or stand for, anything less.

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6 thoughts on “Look Before You Leap

  1. “Here's a small sampling of what LEBRON has done:”


    This isn't complicated. Mike Brown's various failures to do more with the Cavs roster in the last two seasons are well-documented.

    I understand that you don't fire a coach unless you can bring someone in who has a good chance to be better, and nobody's seriously arguing that Calipari should be the guy, but after what we've seen from Brown, there's no good argument for why it's not time for someone else.

    A list of LeBron's accomplishments just doesn't cut it.

  2. If you're looking for a scapegoat, or change for the sake of change, then yes, Brown should be out the door.

    If the goal is to improve the team, then a full evaluation needs to be done and, if Dan Gilbert determines that Brown in the best man for the job, then so be it.

  3. There's a difference between a scapegoat and a truly responsible party.

    The point is that after what we've seen from Brown it will be really hard to stomach a conclusion that Brown is the best man for the job. G*d knows there are enough hungry up and comers who'd like a chance.

  4. (and theoretically deserve a chance).

  5. It may very well be the Gilbert decides to fire Brown. But to do that without a full evaluation of his body of work does a disservice to the team and the fans.

    If an owner makes a decision on a head coach without doing all the work necessary, then that's how you end up with someone like Eric Mangini.

    Gilbert can't afford to make that same mistake.

  6. If that's how you end up with one of the most talented young up and coming coaches in the league, then why aren't we all for it?

    I can't believe you haven't started to admit how wrong you've been about Mangini.

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