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Analyzing the Cleveland Cavaliers 2020-21 Coaching Staff
The post-LeBron James era in Cleveland has gone about as well as expected. King James has only been gone for two full seasons, but the Cavaliers have struggled mightily.
Cleveland had the fewest wins of anyone in the Eastern Conference last season and finished just 19-63 the year before.
A franchise without a whole lot of intriguing talent doesn’t figure to be in for a big leap this year, either. If the Cavs are to block out the noise and compete, it may be due to incoming head coach J.B. Bickerstaff, who has built a reputation for valuing players as people first.
To gauge the impact of Bickerstaff and the bright minds around him, let’s break down the Cleveland Cavaliers coaching staff going into the 2020-21 NBA season.
J.B. Bickerstaff – Head Coach
If the name Bickerstaff stands out to you, it’s because it should. J.B. Bickerstaff is the son of NBA coaching legend Bernie Bickerstaff, who roamed the NBA courts for some fairly iconic Seattle SuperSonics teams.
He’s chosen to walk in his father’s footsteps, and coaching in the NBA has been his dream for as long as he can remember.
The younger Bickerstaff admittedly got his foot in the NBA door thanks to his dad, but he’s hung around due to his ability to build relationships and prioritize communication.
Cavs forward Larry Nance mentioned his ability to relate to the young guys, and Bickerstaff has been vocal about teaching the fundamentals with his young roster.
While Bickerstaff is still somewhat unproven as a head coach, you can’t knock his credentials. He helped the Rockets reach the playoffs as interim head coach back in 2015, and he battled through an impossible situation with a suddenly rebuilding Memphis team in 2017 and 2018.
It seems Bickerstaff is finally getting a fair shake in Cleveland, where his positivity and competitiveness promise to build a winning culture.
Cleveland Cavaliers’ Assistant Coaches
J.B. Bickerstaff has an exceptional pedigree, solid experience, and the right mindset to be a good head coach in the NBA. It’s also the exact type of approach a rebuilding franchise with a slew of young, impressionable players needs, too.
Fortunately, Bickerstaff isn’t tasked with relaying his message alone. He has some fantastic assistants.
Let’s get to know them as we continue to break down the Cleveland Cavaliers 2020-21 coaching staff.
The most experienced assistant on Cleveland’s 2020-21 coaching staff is undeniably Lang, who enjoyed a long professional playing career, and has been on basketball sidelines since 2006.
Lang got his start in Japan as the head coach of the Mitsubishi Electric, and over the course of four trying seasons, turned a perennial loser into a 29-25 winner. He then jumped to the NBA as an assistant with the Utah Jazz for five years before latching on with the Cavs in 2019.
Geriot may best be known for leading the Richmond Spiders to consecutive NCAA tourney appearances, as well as the Sweet 16 back in 2011.
As a coach, Geriot won a title with the Cavs in 2016 and has been with the team ever since.
The impressive Gottlieb is a holdover from John Beilein’s staff, but she got this gig in the first place due to her tireless work ethic, success in the college ranks, and her emphasis on strong culture.
Her style paid off greatly for the California Golden Bears, who she led to the Final Four in 2013, and enjoyed a .668 winning percentage over eight productive seasons.
The 2020-21 Cleveland Cavaliers coaching staff isn’t the most experienced, but it has plenty of talent and a positive culture.
It’s also a team of winners that have proven the ability to mold players, and to teach them the core principles of basketball, while also having fun and playing loose.
Will that for sure translate into wins for Cleveland in 2020-21 or anytime soon? No, but it’s precisely what a young team like this needs to fully adapt to the rigors of the NBA and to learn how to win.
Bickerstaff seems to have a good plan in place, and utilizing a versatile coaching staff and putting player well being first is a positive step in the right direction.
Want to learn more about other 2020-21 NBA coaching staffs? Hit the links below.