The biggest question mark surrounding LeBron James’ decision to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers is the risk he has taken putting his basketball career in the hands of a rookie head coach who has never played or coached in the NBA.
That coach, David Blatt, had a very successful run as a coach in Europe for 21 seasons after playing for the legendary Pete Carril at Princeton and 13 years as a player in Europe. He is also bringing a European style of basketball to the NBA at a time when the style is becoming more popular and just helped the San Antonio Spurs win another championship.
That being said, there are still plenty of unknowns, there will undoubtedly be growing pains, and he will need to make adjustments.
Blatt recently did a Q&A with fans and was asked what he thought the biggest transition will be moving from European basketball to the NBA:
“Probably the schedule. Playing multiple games the same week with very few practices, and having a different recovery process, is unknown territory. The good thing is, in comparison to Israel, trips are shorter and much smoother in the U.S. The weather is another adjustment because Cleveland definitely doesn’t have the heat and humidity that Israel has. At the end of the day, though, it’s all about coaching basketball.”
Blatt’s last European club, Maccabi Tel Aviv, generally played games once a week, only occasionally playing twice a week.
With the Cavs, Blatt will open the 2014-15 season on October 30 against the Knicks at home and then have to play the Bulls in Chicago, the very next night. The Cavs will play five games in the first nine days.
With games so often and the need to rest in between, NBA teams rarely practice during the regular season.
Blatt says it is about coaching basketball. But he is going to have to change how and when that is accomplished.
That, and jeans. He won’t be able to wear jeans during games anymore.
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