Cleveland has decided to go out of NBA circles to hire their new head coach by poaching now former Michigan head coach John Beilein. The deal is a multi-year deal and this move is interesting to say the least.
About the move, Cavaliers GM Kolby Altman had the following to say: ” We conducted a deep and thorough search to find the best possible candidate for the next head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers. We interviewed several strong and talented candidates who, no doubt, will get an opportunity to become an NBA head coach somewhere down the line. Following the end of those interviews, it became clear to us that Coach Beilein was the right choice and best fit for our franchise. John is one of the most accomplished and innovative basketball minds and leaders in the entire game. He has a unique ability to create an outstanding culture that will promote the development of young players and provide a solid structure to the entire program; not to mention the fact that John Beilein wins everywhere he goes. We are excited Coach Beilein is joining our organization as we continue to build the foundation that any enterprise needs to be successful and competitive year in and year out.”
While being a head coach in college basketball Beilein was very successful. While he was the head coach at Canisius and Richmond, he compiled a record of 189-115 before he decided to take a major head coaching job in the Big East at West Virginia, where he went 104-60 and made the NCAA Tournament twice and won the NIT in his final season.
After his time at West Virginia he went on to spend the next 12 seasons at Michigan, where he was his most successful on a national level. In those 12 seasons the Wolverines made the NCAA Tournament nine times, they were ranked in the top-25 at some point during each season but two of them and although he never won a national title in Ann Arbor, his teams did play for two national titles.
Beilein has a very decorated resume, but he has never been an NBA assistant coach, let alone head coach, so why would Cleveland want to make this move?
The answer is actually pretty simple. Cleveland is squarely in a rebuild right now and the thing that Beilein is probably most-recognized for from his college days is his ability to develop players.
This doesn’t feel like a super long-term solution at head coach, but while they are going through this rebuild, he should be a pretty steady force on the sidelines each day and is someone that should be able to teach the younger guys on the team like Collin Sexton, Larry Nance Jr., Marquese Chriss and whoever they draft this summer how to be pros and how to play basketball the right way instead of falling into the trap of just putting up empty numbers on occasion.
I don’t think Beilein is going to come in and work some magic and make them a contender, but this does feel like a nice hire for the Cavaliers, although we do have a nice list of college coaches who went to the NBA and didn’t succeed. It feels like Beilein could hang around though because he didn’t rely on just having better players than his opponents, he was able to develop players and his teams would always be playing their best at the end of the season.
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