Is it weird that I’m still not used to the fact that Byron Scott is the Cavs head coach? I know LeBron is gone and that Z followed him. But when I think about this upcoming season, all that comes to mind is Mo Williams, Antawn Jamison and J.J. Hickson. I’m always like, “oh yea….. Byron Scott is the Cavs head coach. Sweet.”
Anyways, I really enjoyed the feature on Coach Scott in today’s Plain Dealer:
After playing 10 seasons with the Lakers, winning championships in 1985, ’87 and ’88, Scott played two seasons with Indiana and one with Vancouver before returning to the Lakers in 1996-97 to help mentor a young Kobe Bryant.
He finished his playing career in Greece in 1997-98, then joined the Sacramento Kings as an assistant coach for two seasons before being named head coach of the New Jersey Nets in 2000-01. The Nets finished in sixth place that season, but reached the NBA Finals in 2002 and 2003, losing to the Lakers the first time and the San Antonio Spurs the second. Scott says the memory of losing those two series as a coach fuels him more than his three titles as a player with the Lakers.
Fired by the Nets midway through the next season, Scott took over the New Orleans Hornets in 2004-05 and the team slowly improved from fifth place in the Southwest Division to fourth and then first in 2007-08, when he was named the league’s coach of the year. In the middle of his five-year stay, the team spent parts of two seasons in Oklahoma City after the 2005 devastation of Hurricane Katrina.
Scott, who still owns a home in New Orleans, called that situation the biggest challenge of his career.
“You’re talking about people’s lives,” he said.
Scott, an old-school guy who still has a Doobie Brothers ring tone on his flip phone, faces another challenge here, rebuilding the Cavaliers after James took his talents to South Beach. But his former Laker teammates are confident Scott will succeed here.
“He’s going to do a great job,” Abdul-Jabbar said. “The fans in Cleveland will be very pleased. He knows the game and he relates to the players in a very positive way. He knows how to win. He did a great job in New Jersey, went to New Orleans and did a great job. In terms of knowing his job and being able to get the job done, they don’t have any worries.”
Added Johnson, “When he got the Cleveland job, I was really happy for him. Of course, I wish it was with LeBron. But it’s not. Byron will still do a wonderful job. He has been a winner wherever he’s been. He knows the game inside and out. He brings a championship pedigree with him. And he’s a player coach. Byron will do well.
“I think when you look at what has all happened to Cleveland, he’s the perfect guy to come in and coach, because he’s going to take this as a challenge and he’s going to work hard to hopefully one day bring them what they’ve been missing and that’s a championship.”
I really don’t think the Cavs are going to be as bad as pundits seem to think. For instance, Yahoo has the Cavs going 12-70 and ESPN isn’t that much better, ranking them 27th overall (behind such teams as the Warriors, the Pacers, the Clippers and the Nets). Is Cleveland going to be a championshp contender? Hell no. But they aren’t going to be the worst team in the league.