How J.B. Bickerstaff has earned respect and his job with the Cleveland Cavaliers

Cleveland Cavaliers v Chicago Bulls
Cleveland Cavaliers v Chicago Bulls / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

Every sports fanbase and individual fan has the right to overreact and show emotions when their team is not competing at the level they should, but Cleveland Cavaliers fans need to forget this toxic and outdated opinion.

When the Cavaliers look good, they look amazing. When they look bad, they make the Detroit Pistons look good. Understandably, Cleveland fans are not unwilling to speak their minds online when the Cavs underperform. The Cavaliers are building toward a contender and have mortgaged their future on superstar Donovan Mitchell. When they take steps back and look like a team with no future, things should change.

Since the All-Star break, the Cavaliers have steadily fallen down the standing and statistical rankings in the league. The team has faced countless injuries that seem to have no end, but their level of inconsistency and confusion goes beyond bad injury luck. In their last eight games, the Cavaliers rank twenty-third in the Association for both Offensive and Defensive ratings. If they want to make any noise in the playoffs, this will not cut it. The change a loud group of fans believes must happen to improve, however, is only making it worse.

J.B. Bickerstaff is the right coach for the Cleveland Cavaliers

After last year's playoff decimation to the New York Knicks, Cleveland Cavaliers head coach faced immense criticism for confusing rotations, predictable offense and a lack of composure. Over the summer, it was more than reasonable to believe he might be on the chopping block in Cleveland after witnessing two championship coaches being fired with Nick Nurse of the Toronto Raptors and Mike Budenholzer of the Milwaukee Bucks. Bickerstaff's resume was nothing close to what they had accomplished, so why should he stay?

The Cavaliers front office kept their faith in Bickerstaff. President of Basketball Operations Koby Altman assured the public that the franchise would not make any drastic changes in the roster or coaching staff. Fans were not happy. At the start of this season, the Cavaliers were still in a slump, and Bickerstaff once again faced hellfire. After adding two veteran shooters to the roster, Cleveland still hardly took any shots from deep. When they did, they were rushed and sloppy.

As Bickerstaff's seat grew hotter and hotter, the Cavaliers suddenly lost both Darius Garland and Evan Mobley to injury. With two of their best players sidelined, the Cavs were nearing a free fall. Their stagnant offense could not sustain without either player, and Donovan Mitchell could demand a trade at any moment. Instead, Cleveland went on a historic run and reached the second seed in the Eastern Conference. None of this happens without Bickerstaff's leadership and decisive changes to the offense.

Last season, the Cavs had very few offensive tools at Bickerstaff's disposal. While he was a tremendous defensive mind, he rarely strayed away from high pick-and-rolls to start every possession. If it didn't work, Cleveland scrambled until they got the ball back to the top of the arc to rinse and repat. When Garland and Mobley were sidelined, Bickerstaff instantly shifted to a free-flowing offense with volume shooting and varying attacks.

The argument that J.B. Bickerstaff is a bad coach who cannot run an offense is tired. He has proven his value with the Cavaliers and deserves to see it through. The team is not a finished product yet by any means, but they would not have reached this level of success without Bickerstaff developing Jarrett Allen, Darius Garland and Evan Mobley to be the players they are now. Bickerstaff has also molded a rough prospect in Isaac Okoro to become a solid and reliable 3-and-D wing after years of having a non-existent offensive presence.

Over the summer, Altman made his vision for the organization clear during an online media availability, and it starts with patience. Altman praised the Denver Nuggets for trusting in Mike Malone even in the face of defeat. He commented that cohesion and culture builds a championship team. The Cavaliers have changes they need to make to build a true contender around Mitchell, but hastily replacing the head coach does not do anything. The Bucks likely regret firing Budenholzer after one embarrassing playoff series, considering they fired his replacement halfway through his first season.

As the playoffs approach, the Cleveland Cavaliers have more questions than answers again. They are in the second year of building a championship team and are already one of the best teams in the conference despite an endless string of deflating injuries. J.B. Bickerstaff has weathered the storm and is the leader this team needs.

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