Over the last two NBA seasons, the Cleveland Cavaliers and their head coach, J.B. Bickerstaff, have had disappointing ends to their seasons. This past campaign the team made it into the first round but got beaten 4-1 by the New York Knicks.
Last season the Cavaliers played well into February and then choked away the season after having several opportunities to lock up the playoff berth.
Some may say that the Cavaliers have done really well and we should be thankful that they’ve made it back to the playoffs. While that is true, the way that both past seasons have ended should be more of a concern to the masses. Moving forward with Bickerstaff, as it seems will be the case at least in the short term, may not be the best move for the team’s future.
As the Eastern Conference Finals are preparing to go to Game 6, we will take a look at a few things that one head coach Erik Spoelstra of the Miami Heat does far better than Bickerstaff and why his 8th-seeded team is about to go to the NBA Finals.
If Bickerstaff would take the time to learn a few things from Spoelstra then his Cavs teams could be far more successful. Further, three things, in particular, Bickerstaff could take from Spoelstra to apply to the Cavaliers.
No. 1 thing Bickerstaff could learn from Spoelstra: Coaching to player’s strengths and weaknesses
The Cavaliers have a very talented squad of players. They have All-Stars including Donovan Mitchell, Darius Garland and likely to be Evan Mobley, but for some reason, they aren’t able to put it all together and win. That reason has a lot to do though with Bickerstaff, who doesn’t understand his players and coaching to their strengths and weaknesses. Therefore the team is not maximizing their potential.
Some coaches get this part of the game but many coaches do not, and it’s why they’re not successful for a long time. In Miami, the Heat have coach Erik Spoelstra, who has been the most successful coach in franchise history, having been there for 15 years, winning two NBA titles and making several deep playoff runs.
Being able to learn how to put your players in a position to win games, takes the capability to analyze things like the strengths and weaknesses of players. Recently in a story from Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald, Stan Van Gundy of TNT and NBA analyst said this of Spoelstra when it comes to player strengths.
"“I think he’s got a great feel for players and they like him, his relationships are good…I think the thing he does, which I think all coaches strive to do but he’s just done a great job of is he will clearly play to the strengths of the players on his roster and it changes from year to year…It’s never about his ego or his system, it’s what will help this team win and he’ll go with that.”"
Moving on, Bickerstaff’s teams have to adapt better in-game.