Evan Dammarell took the Hoops Addicts guys behind the curtain into the John Beilein tenure as well as more Cleveland Cavaliers talk.
The Cleveland Cavaliers franchise is in the midst of a rebuild. The roster includes promising young talent, but questions remain regarding leadership and the primary decision-makers within the organization. Evan Dammarell joined the Hoops Addicts Anonymous guys to talk about the Cavs season recap and offseason overview.
Nine months after signing a multi-year deal, John Beilein resigned as Cavs head coach in what can only be described as one of the more bizarre coaching tenures in NBA history. Beilein’s strong reputation for player development at the college level did not translate to the NBA, and even his hiring was filled with some controversy.
According to Dammarell, owner Dan Gilbert had long desired a college coach (Gilbert had also courted Tom Izzo and Mike Krzyzewski) to take reigns of the Cavaliers. However, once the hire was made, there was controversy as to whether general manager Koby Altman had been on board with the hire or whether Gilbert had overruled him.
Pretty quickly it was apparent that Beilein, who tried to schedule a practice on Christmas Day and struggled to adjust his lineups once Jordan Clarkson was traded, was not equipped to carry out the job. Dammarell also spoke about the players’ view of Beilein and his ability to manage the locker room.
“Again, maybe he had too much hubris going into this where he leaned heavily into what made successful at the college level,” Dammarell explained. “… Players I know who I spoke to off the record about this, to me, they didn’t care that he was successful in college. He’s a rookie NBA head coach, he’s learning this as he goes, and he lost the respect of the locker room pretty quickly.”
By now Beilein’s infamous “thugs” comment has been well-documented as the nail in the coffin for his coaching tenure with the Cavs. However, to the casual fan, it not have been as apparent how that incident only heightened the disconnect and tension that was already present between Beilein and his players.
Aside from Beilein’s tumultuous time as head coach, Dammarell also discussed Collin Sexton’s development, pairing with Darius Garland and his drive and work ethic off the court. Chip Murphy astutely pointed out the Sexton played 70% of his minutes at the shooting guard position.
Dammarell’s assessment of Sexton after year two:
“I’m kind of of the camp where Collin Sexton, even though he was showing potential as a play-maker under J.B. Bickerstaff, he’s an endearing player for sure, he’s fun as hell to watch, he’s one of the most exciting players for the Cavs…But there’s just concerns with his playmaking and defense, where I feel personally that, long-term, he projects as an elite sixth man for the Cavs.”
The Hoops Addicts guys and Dammarell went on to discuss Kevin Love’s future with the Cavaliers, Tristan Thompson, and potential draft targets.