Red Right 88

In Cleveland, hope dies last

Archive for the category “Mike Brown”

Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back

mike brown cavsWelcome back,
To that same old place that you laughed about.
Well the names have all changed since you hung around,
But those dreams have remained and they’re turned around.
Who’d have thought they’d lead ya (Who’d have thought they’d lead ya)
Here where we need ya (Here where we need ya) …

The Cleveland Cavaliers are reportedly planning to re-hire Mike Brown as coach, three years after they fired him.

Brown and the Cavs have reached a “handshake agreement” according to The Beacon Journal and the hiring could become official as early as Wednesday.

We certainly didn’t see that one coming.

Read more…

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Razor thin Tribe

The last two days against Boston highlighted just how thin the Tribe’s margin of error is right now.

With Grady Sizemore and Travis Hafner out of the lineup with injuries, and Carlos Santana in an 0-for-19 slump, the Indians need to have outstanding pitching to have any chance of staying in the game.

Tuesday night’s game was a perfect example. Fausto Carmona went eight innings and really only made one bad pitch – the two-run home run he gave up to Jason Varitek in the seventh inning of the Indians 4-2 loss.

Most nights four runs would not have been that much to overcome, but the Tribe lineup is currently a bit thin. Add in the fact that the Indians forgot how to run the bases – they had a runner thrown out at third, two base stealers were caught at second, and Matt LaPorta was doubled off in the fifth.

With the offense in its current state, that’s not going to get it down.

And the less said about Mitch Talbot’s performance in Wednesday’s 14-2 loss the better. Doesn’t matter how well you are playing, few teams are coming back from 7-0 in the first inning.

So the Indians hit the road with a two-game losing streak. Does that mean the good times have come to an end? Of course not.

Detroit was rained out Wednesday, and the Twins and White Sox both lost. Pending the outcome of the Royals game, the Tribe leads second-place Detroit by 5.5 games, KC by at least 7.5 and Chicago by 9. Minnesota is so far behind they are lucky there isn’t relegation in baseball.

The Indians entered May 4.5 games ahead of second-place KC, so they’ve increased their lead during the month. And Sizemore is expected back on Friday.

So while the last two days haven’t been fun, the Tribe is a long way from the panic zone.

***

Former Cavs coach Mike Brown has agreed to become the coach of the Lakers, taking over for the retired Phil Jackson.

“In response to rampant speculation and reports about our head coaching position and Mike Brown, we’ve met with Mike and are very impressed with him,” the team said in published reports. “In addition, we have an outline for an agreement in place and hope to sign a contract within the next few days.”

Who saw this one coming?

Although, once you get past the initial surprise, the Lakers may have made a good hire.

During his time in Cleveland, Brown:

  • 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 no one was under more of a spotlight than the Cavs during Brown’s last two years with the team, so the pressure of coaching the NBA’s marquee franchise shouldn’t faze him.

Plus, you don’t think Kobe Bryant is just itching to prove he can win a title without Phil Jackson?

“If you’re building a championship team, the DNA always has to start on the defensive end of the floor. Always. I’m a firm believer in that,” Bryant told The Los Angeles Times. “I don’t believe in building a championship team on offense. It has to be built on defense and rebounding. Period.”

Brown certainly knows defense, so if that’s what Bryant wants, he’s going to get it.

Congrats to coach Brown – a good guy who may gotten a raw deal at the end in Cleveland.

***

The Tribe is finally getting some love from the worldwide leader – with two (two!) columns praising the team in one day.

Tim Kurkjian risks being struck down by lightening for suggesting that Asdrubal Cabrera may be the best shortstop in the American League:

The best shortstop in the American League this year is not closing in on 3,000 hits, he’s getting close to 500. He has an unusual first name, his last name is the same as his double-play partner and he was traded for a current ESPN analyst who had only 17 hits after the deal.

Meet Asdrubal Cabrera of the Cleveland Indians. He is 25 years old, a switch-hitter and, so far this season, the best player on the best team in baseball.

Then Jerry Crasnick came through with a look at how the Indians fleeced the Mariners of both Cabrera and Shin-Soo Choo in separate trades in 2006:

The Cleveland Indians lack the financial wherewithal to compete for big-name free agents and their recent draft history is nondescript, to put it kindly. But the Tribe sure does hold its own on the trade market.

Scan the roster for the Indians, the surprise American League Central leaders, and you’ll find quite a bounty by way of the Pacific Northwest. Asdrubal Cabrera, who leads AL shortstops with 10 homers, 58 hits and an .900 OPS, arrived from Seattle five years ago in a late June deal for Eduardo Perez. Less than a month later, the Indians acquired outfield prospect Shin-Soo Choo and pitcher Shawn Nottingham from the Mariners for Ben Broussard.

Two positive stories in one day? Things are definitely getting strange around here.

***

Finally, today is the anniversary of arguably one of the greatest games in Champions League history – Liverpool’s win in the final against AC Milan in Istanbul in 2005.

Trailing 3-0 at halftime, the Reds scored three times in the first six minutes of the second half and eventually won the game in a penalty shootout for their fifth European Cup championship.

What’s the Next Move Dan?

“It’s a mess, ain’t it?

“If it ain’t, it will do until the mess gets here.

Now that Dan Gilbert has taken the easy path and fired Mike Brown, sacrificing him to appease the hoople heads, we’re left hoping that the next mess doesn’t arrive.

As we explained last week, firing a coach is the easy part. Terry Pluto made the same, correct point in today’s PD. Zydrunas and Mo Williams also agree.

Now Gilbert has to find the answer to the question: who are you going to hire? And if he can’t find someone who will produce better results than Brown, then what was the point, exactly? Brown was not only the most successful coach in franchise history, he was the sixth winningest coach in NBA history, percentage wise.

Read that sentence again. Only five other coaches in NBA history have had a better winning percentage than Brown. Think that will be easy to replace?

Brian Windhorst ran down a list of possible replacements in today’s PD: Other than Phil Jackson, who’s not coming to Cleveland, the list shouldn’t inspire confidence or excitement among the fan base. Consider the “accomplishments” of some of the names on that list:

  • Byron Scott, .498 winning percentage, only eight playoff wins in his last seven years as coach.
  • Dwayne Casey, .434, no playoff wins.
  • Maurice Cheeks, .498, five playoff wins.
  • Lawrence Frank, .483, no playoff wins in his last three years as coach.
  • Mike Fratello (please, no), 20-42 career playoff record, only two playoff wins in his last 10 years as a coach.
  • Sam Mitchell, .452, three playoff wins.
  • Terry Porter, .460, one playoff win.

You really want one of them running the team for the next three years – because, let’s face it, that’s about how long one of them would last if they were hired. Is there anyone on this list that gives fans any reason to hope that they will be the ones to lead the team to a championship?

And let’s not even go down the road that would end in disaster if the Cavs hired a college coach.

But I guess it’s not all bad. We still have Manny Acta (.385 career winning percentage) and Eric Mangini (.438) in the Cleveland coaching fraternity. That will put an extra hop in your step.

So now the search is on and Dan Gilbert faces the latest in a seemingly never-ending list of “most important decisions” facing the franchise.

“The expectations of this organization are very high,” Gilbert said Monday in published reports. “Although change always carries an element of risk, there are times when that risk must be taken in an attempt to break through to new, higher levels of accomplishment. This is one of those times.”

We have to all hope that Gilbert is correct. Who knows, maybe he is the owner that can break the championship drought that has hung over Cleveland for almost 46 years.

If not, there’s no telling what kind of mess the Cavs will find themselves in.

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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