I want to preface what I am going to say with this: the Cavs are not at this point without J.B. Bickerstaff. He has been a great leader of men, and has really maximized the potential of this roster. When the Cavaliers were not expected to even sniff the Play-In tournament in 2022, Bickerstaff got this team to believe. He got them to buy in on defense, and that’s been this Cleveland teams’ identity. However, Bickerstaff does have his flaws, and they were exposed in this past postseason.
In the Knicks series, Bickerstaff made a bevy of questionable decisions, which included playing Ricky Rubio despite the fact he was a cone on defense, not playing Lamar Stevens when the team needed a jolt, and not adjusting the pick-and-roll heavy offense. The Knicks were constantly blitzing Garland and Mitchell and Bickerstaff failed at putting them in better spots offensively. He was thoroughly outcoached by Tom Thibodeau.
This is a critical year for Bickerstaff because if the Cavs flame out, not only does that mean Mitchell is potentially gone, but it could also mean Bickerstaff is out of a job. President of Basketball Operations Koby Altman can endorse Bickerstaff all he wants, but if he doesn’t produce positive results, then he might not be the answer for the Cavaliers anymore.