Cavs assistant coach Lindsay Gottlieb talks path, the young core and more on recent pod

Cleveland Cavaliers assistant coach Lindsay Gottlieb (right) talks with Cleveland guard Collin Sexton. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
Cleveland Cavaliers assistant coach Lindsay Gottlieb (right) talks with Cleveland guard Collin Sexton. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /

The Cleveland Cavaliers are fortunate to have assistant coach Lindsay Gottlieb well in the fold.

The Cleveland Cavaliers have quite an impressive assistant coach in Lindsay Gottlieb, who seems to now be a crucial part of Cleveland’s staff alongside assistant coach Den Geriot and head coach J.B. Bickerstaff, among others.

Gottlieb this now-past season was the first women’s collegiate head coach to be hired to a coaching staff for an NBA club, and the Cavaliers again are fortunate to have her on the staff.

Gottlieb had her share of women’s assistant coaching experience, with stops at Syracuse, New Hampshire, Richmond and then California, and most notably had a 235-128 career head coaching record. She made her name at UC Santa Barbara in that role and then eventually Cal.

At the latter, Gottlieb got the Bears once to the Final Four and overall, to seven NCAA tournaments, and appears to fit right into the hard-working culture Cleveland’s trying to build.

For Cavs young pieces such as Collin Sexton, Darius Garland, Kevin Porter Jr. and others, Gottlieb, who was a guard at Brown in collegiate play, is a great resource to help them in their development.

Anyhow, when hitting on Gottlieb, it was interesting to hear more about her and the Cavs on a recent podcast appearance.

Gottlieb touched on her path, the young core for the Cleveland Cavaliers and more.

Gottlieb joined with Nick Pedone on a recent episode of Pedone My Take, Pedone’s sports talk show/podcast affiliated with

On that, what jumped out was the Gottlieb portion, which ran from about the 8:10 to 32:00 or so minute-mark in the pod, from a Cavs fan’s perspective. And along those lines, Gottlieb detailed her path to get to this point, which we’ll get into first.

Pedone asked Gottlieb basically about how she first got into the game of basketball/had a passion for it, and Gottlieb emphasized how growing up for her, initially, she was into a variety of sports, and then in “probably high school,” she put her sports eggs into basketball.

That turned out to be the right call for her, clearly. And as far as how she got into coaching, ultimately, Gottlieb told Pedone how in her senior year at Brown, she just tried to get her name out there as much as possible among the women’s collegiate basketball head coaching/coaching community.

Here was more on that from Gottlieb/her path and/or how she worked with Joanne Boyle, who was a “legendary” coach, as Pedone emphasized.

"“Well I think that, you know, the coaching profession, it’s so interesting, cause there isn’t one protocol, there isn’t one path. There’s a lot of ways to do it, and for me, I realized while I was in college, that I wanted to coach. I knew that probably a career in the professional ranks wasn’t gonna happen, and so my senior year at Brown, I told my coaches that I wanted to coach, and they allowed me to kind of work in the office, and almost do an internship while I was playing, which was neat. And that winter, we were there over winter break, just the athletes. There’s not much to do, and so I sent out a letter to all 350 Divsion 1 basketball coaches saying, you know, ‘This is who I am, I’m graduating in a few months, I wanna coach. And it was pretty cool, I got letters back from Pat Summit, and Tara VanDerveer, and some, you know, a lot of different people, most of them saying, ‘Hey, I don’t have a job for you, but, you knwo, stay with it.”‘"

From there, Gottlieb would then note to Pedone how she went to Syracuse, then New Hampshire, and then how she followed Boyle, a then assistant at Duke, to Richmond after Boyle accepted their head coaching gig, and was on her staff.

Gottlieb alluded to how she helped run offense there, recruit and then, ultimately, Gottlieb stressed how she followed Boyle to California, after Boyle landed that head coaching role, and Gottlieb did similar things, but “at a higher level.” From there, Gottlieb was in the lead coaching role at UCSB and then took over in that role at Cal.

Gottlieb would go into the transition in this completely atypical year, frankly, but how she’s made it work, and how she and her husband do actually “love” Cleveland, which was encouraging to hear.

Granted, it was evident based on what Gottlieb said while her Cleveland/Cavaliers experience has been “incredible” thus far, it’s presented it’s share of “challenges,” which is more than understandable. It was nice to hear, though, that Gottlieb seems 100% bought into what the Cavs are doing, and how she came here, and wasn’t going to take “just any” NBA coaching gig, but seemed to really be sold on the “fit,” along with general manager Koby Altman, now-head coach J.B. Bickerstaff and others.

In that realm, with what’s transpired, it was outstanding to hear from Gottlieb when asked about it, how Altman and Bickerstaff have been such tremendous leaders when it comes to helping impact change from a social justice standpoint.

Altman and Bickerstaff will be in key leadership roles in a Cleveland pro sports social justice alliance, featuring the Cavs, Browns and Indians helping combat social injustice, too, and per Gottlieb, it seems as if the Cavaliers truly have an exemplary leader in their coach in Bickerstaff, in regards to the team-player dynamic.

Another part of the interview that stood out was how Gottlieb believes that it’s seemingly getting closer to eventually a female becoming an NBA head coach because “Why Not?,” as Gottlieb said to Pedone. Could we end up seeing Gottlieb herself perhaps at some point have that be the case?

I would think it’s a real possibility, and current San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon was among the “first round of virtual interviews” for the Indiana Pacers head coaching vacancy, for context, per a report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Lastly, in regards to the player development perspective for the Cleveland Cavaliers, of which Gottlieb has a key role in, some of what Gottlieb said to Pedone when asked about working with Darius Garland and Collin Sexton, in particular, was a plus to me, too.

"“Those two guys, in particular, are just, they’re incredible workers. I mean they wanna be in the gym, they wanna get better, and I think we started to see in those last 11 games after the All-Star break, you know, how they could, the synergy between them, how they could thrive. You know, Collin was scoring the ball at an incredibly high clip, Darius, you think about his upward trajectory, he played four college games. He wasn’t, you know, even a one-and-done, he was four games and done. And then coming off an injury, so the way that his body transformed and, you know, his ability to kind of grasp, he’s super high IQ. I think we haven’t seen yet exactly what they can do together. You know, we know that the size thing poses, you know, some things we gotta do with on the defensive end, but on the other hand, you know, you see the mismatches that it can create for other people, you know, when those two are in-sync. And I think that’s what we’re aiming towards, like that’s the high end of what it can be. And we’re still on that path to, you know, figuring out how good we can get with those two in the backcourt.”"

From there, Gottlieb would mention how Kevin Porter Jr. factors into the Cavs’ youth movement sort of thing as well. In addition to that, she noted how Dylan Windler, who is reportedly set to participate in the Cavaliers in-market bubble workouts upcoming, as KJG’s Grant Puskar demonstrated, will, too.

"“And then you throw in, you know, KP is in that same kind of young, youthful age, and he’s bigger. And Dylan, you know, presents something else being, you know, a long wing. And so, hopefully, we can eventually throw some different looks at people, but there’s no question, we expect Collin and Darius to continue to improve individually, and also as a backcourt together.”"

Gottlieb emphasized to Pedone how the Cleveland Cavaliers, well throughout, too, have made the most of how they’ve been able to aid individual pieces, even with the novel coronavirus pandemic, in player development and that even while not being an Orlando team was disappointing, the group has done all they can to be productive and make the most of the situation.

So anyway, the overall takeaway for me, in the most notable portion of Pedone’s pod, which would go on to hit on the Browns, and NBA postseason, etc., was that Gottlieb is such a valuable resource for the Cavs.

For Sexton, Cleveland’s leading scorer with 20.8 points per game in 2019-20, she’ll greatly help him develop further as a passer it seems, along with KPJ and Garland, who had his ups and downs but did have a better 5.1 assists per outing in his last 26 games as a rookie, in the overall sense.

Next. Dylan Windler could fit well into Cavs closing lineups. dark

I’d expect Gottlieb to be a crucial part of the Cavaliers moving forward, and this pod appearance further proved that.