Cleveland is ready to win. It's been waiting. It's been gifted with the No. 1 overall pick again. It has one of the best point guards in the league in Kyrie Irving. It's a town that's hungry for one of its sports teams to succeed, evidenced in the reaction to the Johnny Manziel draft pick early last month. All it needs is Joel Embiid with the No. 1 pick and a coach to take it to the promised land. And that man is Mark Price.
Price is a Cleveland legend. He was a four-time All-Star and a point guard leader for the Cavs the last time they were relevant before the LeBron James era. His No. 25 jersey hangs in the rafters, and his memories still hang in the hearts of Cleveland fans.
Lenny Wilkens coached the team for seven years in the late '80s and early '90s—during Price's playing days—before Mike Fratello took over from 1993 to 1999. Since then, the Cavs have only had one coach take them to the playoffs, Mike Brown. But Brown had LeBron James in his back pocket. If you're looking at Cavalier history—and it's chock-full of failed coaches—it's Mark Price who's the right man for the job.
Price is a beloved figure in Cleveland, and that's what the Cavs need in order for their new coach to not get the boot in a year or two. If the Cavs make Price their fearless leader, take Joel Embiid—the best true center in the draft—to complement Kyrie Irving and find a way to make their role players step up, watch out, Eastern Conference.
Most of the city has ruled out the return of LeBron. He dumped Cleveland four years ago, and the Cavs' only shining moment since has been Irving's All-Star appearance. Price, a point guard like Irving, can construct a system where the ball-hungry guard can be the facilitator, scorer and entire offense. It will work, and it will work well.
Price was one of the purest shooters in the game in his time. Second all time in the NBA in free-throw percentage, Price is disciplined. He's been an assistant in Orlando, Golden State and, most recently, Charlotte. Before that, Price was a shooting coach in various places. He's not the headline hire like Derek Fisher in New York, but he's the sexy choice for the town of Cleveland.
In the best-case scenario, Price gives Kyrie the convincing he needs to stay in Cleveland long term and the tools to take the Cavs deep in the playoffs for many years. In the worst-case scenario, Price resurrects Cleveland—simultaneously with Johnny Manziel—and has a few decent playoff runs before getting sent out of town like Mark Jackson with Golden State. Either way, Cleveland needs Mark Price.
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