HANG TIME NEW JERSEY – Multiple reports have the Cleveland Cavaliers in negotiations with David Blatt to be their next head coach.
Blatt, an American, has been a head coach in Europe for more than 15 years. He was also the coach of the Russian national team from 2006-2012.
Interestingly, the numbers from his last few years of FIBA competitions paint a different picture of Blatt’s style than the last few years of Euroleague competition.
Blatt’s Russia teams have been better defensively than offensively. They’ve also played slow and shared the ball at a high rate.
Russian national team rankings
Pace = Possessions per 40 minutes
OffRtg = Points scored per 100 possessions
DefRtg = Points allowed per 100 possessions
The high assist rate corresponds with Blatt’s Princeton background. He played under Pete Carrill at the Ivy League school. Those Russia teams did not have an offensive star, but rather a lot of solid players who worked well together.
But while Blatt’s Maccabi Tel Aviv teams have also played slow, they haven’t assisted at a high rate. And they’ve been better offensively than defensively.
Maccabi Tel Aviv rankings
The good news is that Blatt has had success on both ends of the floor. The bad news is that he’ll likely have much of the same roster that Mike Brown had this season. Under Brown, the Cavs were the seventh most improved defensive team in the league, but they actually regressed defensively after acquiring Luol Deng from Chicago and finished with below average marks on both offense and defense.
For Blatt to succeed, he’ll need to get Kyrie Irving to share the ball, put some effort into the defensive end of the floor, and take on a leadership role. Really, how well this works out is more about Cleveland’s supposed franchise player than it is about their new coach.