Key takeaways from Kenny Atkinson's public Cleveland Cavaliers debut

Head coach Kenny Atkinson revealed his vision for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Cleveland Cavaliers Introduce Kenny Atkinson
Cleveland Cavaliers Introduce Kenny Atkinson / Jason Miller/GettyImages
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Atkinson will build a winning culture in Cleveland

For all of Bickerstaff's offensive shortcomings, there was no doubt that he established a team-first mentality across the roster. The Cavaliers consistently improved year by year under Bickerstaff until they hit a wall with their offensive efficiency. Bringing in a new head coach can shake up the culture for better or worse. Inheriting a winning team with two consecutive playoff runs is a tall task, but Atkinson showcased how he can establish relationships with his players and further grow the right mentality.

"Get to know your players. Establish your relationships... Before we talk about tactics and what style of play, it's really that. And I really believe that's, you know, a big part of player development. Establishing relationships. I'm going full-in on that... That was our first task."

Kenny Atkinson

Ahead of his conference, Atkinson joined Cleveland's front office to visit Mitchell at his ongoing Spida Elite Camp. He wasted no time in building a rapport with his star player and also noted that he met with other Cavaliers during his conference.

Words are just words, but Atkinson's history backs up his intentions. When he exited Brooklyn, Atkinson left a program of development and culture behind. In an interview with JJ Redick, Allen praised Atkinson's developmental talent. Allen said Atkinson convinced the team to buy into the gameplan despite an uncertain future. Under Atkinson, the Nets reached the NBA playoffs in 2019 and earned D'Angelo Russell his lone All-Star appearance.

Atkinson gets the most out of his players, a necessary trait to bring Cleveland's redundant core four to its ceiling. Unsurprisingly, this topic arose during Atkinson's debut.