Is the Out With Danny Ferry, In With Tom Izzo Routine a Coincidence?
Are we to believe the resignation of Danny Ferry, and the Cavs alleged contract offer to Michigan State’s Tom Izzo are unrelated?
Not a chance.
The whole thing went down like this:
GILBERT : "Enough is enough. We are firing Mike Brown. This is my call now, he's out and I want to hire my hero Tom Izzo."
FERRY : "Hiring a coach with no NBA experience is a horrible idea. Hiring a college chum is a worse idea."
GILBERT : "I am tired of your moaning. You will walk to Tom Izzo's house with this briefcase full of cash... or else."
FERRY : "No need for threats, I'll just see myself out."
Here’s the thing, Izzo is a good coach and could surely do a good job, but if the Cavs hired him it would be a mistake. This is not to suggest hiring any college coach would be a mistake, more like hiring a coach with zero years of NBA experience would be.
That just seems to increase the odds of LeBron quitting on him like he quit on Mike Brown. The Cavs priority has shifted from hiring the best man for the job, to hiring the best coach to keep LeBron home.
Ferry resigned because he believed the Cavs are no longer doing what’s best to win.
The funny thing is it doesn't matter if they hire Ferry's guy or Gilbert's. No matter how long the Cavs twist in the wind and bend over backwards, LeBron is going to have to be the one who fully surrenders to coaching to get them over the hump. This probably won't happen until he gets older, is desperate to win a championship, and is resigned to not caring what everyone thinks of him.
The Michael Jordan’s, Kobe Bryant’s, and Kevin Garnett’s, are nasty, to some degree. They didn’t go out of their way to make sure they were popular with their teammates. Their teammates, to some degree, were terrified of failing them. That is why they won.
Kevin Garnett used to be in LeBron's shoes.
He was once the poster of hope in a city and the face of his franchise. He jumped to the NBA straight out of high school and skipped some professional level coaching on the way. He was everything to his team.
Garnett tried to play the role of the franchise. He was a good sport, he gave back to the community, he smiled. He led the league in scoring and rebounding. He won an MVP. He did it all.
It didn't work. He got older and saw his chances of winning a championship slipping away.
Then, when he joined the Celtics the burden of carrying his team faded away. He could let go and become the player he truly needed to be to win, i.e., he could become a savage spitting tyrant who grinded you out on defense.
He could rely on other players too, which LeBron will inevitably need to win, but a Garnett-like epiphany will need to come first.
How could a coach ever impart this life experience to LeBron? Chances are that’s something you learn on your own.
One of the Cavs' faults (Mike Brown’s, Danny Ferry’s and Dan Gilbert’s) is they have leaned too heavily on LeBron’s versatility, and in so doing gave him too much freedom. That is what breads the “stand around and watch LeBron offense” Cavs fans shudder at the sight of.
It’s hard to resist using him differently every night because he can do some many things. You can match him up on all different types of players, he can get you assists, he can get you rebounds, he can score you points.
LeBron has been encouraged to play everyone, to be everywhere, and thus, be everything. That is what encourages him to try and win games without his teammates, and that is why the Cavs fail in the postseason.
Solution? He needs to subscribe to a defined and deliberate role.
The only way to stop the “stand around and watch LeBron offense” is for there to be a specific plan for him and everyone he plays with. The next LeBron coach will have to actually build a book of plays, to create chemistry on the floor (this is separate from chemistry in the locker room).
Maybe it means playing LeBron as a non-traditional point guard. Or maybe it means playing him as a non-traditional power forward. It could to be one or the other, but it needs to be something set in stone.
Either way, it’s on LeBron to let the way he is accustomed to playing go, and surrender to what gets put in stone. Whoever the coach is lucky enough to be there when he finally realizes that will look like a genius.
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