The transition from college to professional basketball likely isn’t easy, especially for a rebuilding organization like the Cleveland Cavaliers. New head coach John Beilein seems to embrace the challenges; however, focusing on fundamentals and player development.
“We have to focus on the fundamentals that our first and second-year players need, with the guys that are really seasoned veterans,” Beilein told cleveland.com. “Like Kevin Love, like Tristan Thompson, guys that have been here nine, 12 years, respectively.”
The 2019-2020 campaign will be Beilein’s first in the NBA. He’s coached his entire career at the collegiate level, most notably guiding the Michigan Wolverines to two national championship games and two Final Four appearances.
While coaching at Michigan, Beilein was renowned for developing lesser ranked recruits into well-rounded basketball players. These names include Tim Hardaway Jr., Nik Stauskas, Caris Levert and Trey Burke. In 2013, Burke received the Naismith Award given to college basketball’s most outstanding player.
Given his player development abilities, Beilein should have no problem adjusting to the NBA. The Cavaliers young core should give him plenty opportunities to succeed.
“If we get better every single day, we’re going to have a heck of a year,” Beilein told Cameron Fields of cleveland.com.
Players respond well to Beilein’s coaching style
While the team isn’t focused primarily on competing for any sort of division title or championship, several players and front office staff already responded positively to Beilein’s coaching style.
Chris Fedor of cleveland.com reported coach Beilein currently has the Cavaliers focus on small details and fundamentals, with an emphasis on passing and shooting a specific way.
“Cavs players have been doing the Mikan Drill, something that is typically taught in the early basketball years. The coach has guys use the ‘Beilein Ball,’ which has a black line running vertically down the middle to help guys analyze and correct ball rotation to improve accuracy and control from any distance,” Fedor wrote.
Cavaliers including Love, Thompson, Darius Garland, Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. were just a few players to compliment Beilein’s aggressive to improve in all facets of the game. His attention to detail during practices and scrimmages hasn’t gone unnoticed.
“He’s really intense, really into it. Really passionate. That’s what I like about him. He’s a gym rat, always in here working and doing something with the guys. It’s really fun being around him,” Garland said of Beilein.
The Cavaliers held their first team practice on Tuesday, enough time for everyone to get acquainted to the team’s new system, both on offense and defense. Following practice, Love spoke to the media regarding his first impressions on this new Cavaliers team. He spoke highly of Beilein’s approach to all things basketball.
“It’s just his enthusiasm. It’s how he talks and how he approaches every day…He brings a different approach, that old-school mentality. We’re not only going to have fundamental basketball with a fun style of play, but also it’s going to be fun to talk shop with him- college basketball, old NBA, ABA, all of it,” Love said of Beilein.
Beilein’s energy is infectious
Following their first session on Tuesday, Beilein outlined his excitement for his first NBA season with Cleveland.
“It’s only one practice, but it was great for me to get out there. I couldn’t sleep last night. Not because of any anxiety, but because I was excited to get these guys out there, see what we have and just get the process going.”
According to Fedor, one member in the Cavaliers organization joked the electric bill continues to skyrocket at the Cleveland Clinic Courts ever since Beilein was hired.
“The energy Beilein mustered in the early hours Monday has never been an issue. One member of the organization joked that the electric bill at Cleveland Clinic Courts has already gone up because of how much time Beilein spends in his office,” Fedor reported.
“The Cavaliers were hypnotized by that energy when they sat in Beilein’s kitchen and interviewed him for their coaching vacancy in May.”
It’s difficult not to get excited after reading the stories about Beilein, from him, his players and the front office.
While the team is mostly young and inexperienced, the chance for these rookies and sophomores to learn under Beilein will prove invaluable. Beilein’s passion for coaching will instantly help the rookies like Garland, Dylan Windler and Kevin Porter Jr. play well alongside the team’s veteran leaders.
The Cavaliers should continue to have an excellent training camp and preseason with Beilein at the helm. It’s reasonable to expect the team to steadily improve over the course of the season, even if the wins are in short supply. Beilein’s “renaissance” is well under way!
Gambling this season? Want to try it just to see what it feels like? Go to MyBookie.ag and use promo code ARMCHAIR25 at checkout. They will match your deposit dollar for dollar. Putting in $100? You’ll now have $200.