Washington Wizards Should Stay Away From David Blatt
Despite a 30-11 start to the season, the Cleveland Cavaliers decided coach David Blatt wasn’t the man for their head coaching job today. They fired Blatt after he made an appearance in the NBA Finals in just his first season as coach in the NBA.
To some, the firing might come as a major shock.
NBA coaches get fired as a last-resort. Teams that are looking to change gears typically remove their coach to start a rebuild or revamp the overall look of their team. The Cavaliers aren’t looking to do any of those things. They’re content with the team and they believe they could make another run at the championship, but they still got rid of Blatt.
So, was the firing all that surprising? It shouldn’t be.
Blatt has never coached nor played in the NBA prior to last season. He was successful overseas and expected to coach a young Cavaliers team that was supposed to be led by Kyrie Irving and Andrew Wiggins. Instead, his first stint as NBA coach was immediately altered after LeBron James decided to return home.
Coaching one of the best to ever play the game along with two other stars might seem like a coach’s dream, but it doesn’t always work out that way. Every coach in the NBA knows x’s-and-o’s, but not all of them have gotten an equal amount of respect.
It’s human nature to lack respect for those who don’t have experience.
It’s why resumes exist.
It’s why substitute teachers have an extremely difficult time leading the classroom.
It’s why David Blatt got fired.
When it came down to it, LeBron and Co. simply didn’t respect Blatt, who — once again — never played nor coached in the NBA before.
Coaches like Randy Wittman, for instance, immediately gain respect from their teams because they’ve been through the daily grind of professional basketball. Blatt never experienced that. He came into the Cavaliers practice facility with a whistle around his neck and told the players to run drills he’s never ran before.
New coaches could succeed, but they almost never succeed in veteran-led squads. Blatt might’ve been a better fit for Cleveland if they kept their young core together, but that’s obviously not what happened. Cleveland decided to make the switch to Tyronn Lue, who’s played and coached under some of the best in NBA history.
Immediately after Blatt got fired, some began speculating where he could possibly end up.
While I personally believe the Minnesota Timberwolves are the best fit for Blatt, others think that a middling team should give him a shot. The Washington Wizards were inevitably mentioned in the discussion.
Wittman is in the final year of his contract and probably won’t be renewed unless the Wizards go on a ridiculously unexpected run to the Eastern Conference Finals. After two trips to the semi-finals and a disappointing start to this year, Wittman’s time in the nation’s capital will likely come to an end this summer.
So, who should replace him? There are going to be plenty of names on the market and Blatt is one of them. However, Blatt shouldn’t be considered for the job.
We don’t know whether or not Blatt is a good NBA coach at this point.
Virtually anyone with some coaching experience could’ve led the Cavaliers to the Finals in the weakest conference. Blatt was often seen on the sidelines, looking into the distance, pondering whether or not LeBron actually even knows he exists.
That whole dynamic was weird and it never improved. The team was always led by Lue and Cleveland smartly made the change, even if it came at a strange time during the season.
The Washington Wizards need a coach who’s not only going to get the most out of his players, but who’s going to have the respect from his locker room. David Blatt hasn’t done any of those things.
Wittman has always been respected by his players, but he hasn’t necessarily gotten the most out of them. That’s where the two differ and that’s why the team needs to hire an experienced coach who will feature his young, rising stars.
Blatt is not the guy for the Wizards, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t deserve a chance to coach a rebuilding team. The last thing the Wizards need is a pushover leading their club. I wish Blatt nothing but the best, but good NBA coaches don’t get fired after essentially securing the top spot in their respective conference.