Monday, June 7, 2010

Please say no

Rumors are rampant that Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert has offered the club's head coaching job to Michigan State coach Tom Izzo. If so, the worst thing Izzo can do is say yes.

For himself, for the Cavs franchise and for Michigan State.

Izzo has declared that he wants to win another NCAA championship at MSU before moving on. Stick to your guns, Tom. Make it happen in no less than five years. Coaching in the NBA is not for you.

Gilbert, who has strong ties to Michigan State, is acting out of emotion. Yes, Izzo is a terrific coach. And yes, he's had success everywhere he's been. But making the jump from head coach in the college ranks to head coach in the NBA is seismic. Especially with the Cavs, a team that has championship ambitions.

What the Cavs don't need is a wet-behind-the-ears coach who has never sat on an NBA bench, let alone run it. They need an experienced leader, someone who has been through the gauntlet, someone who knows what it's like to win championships.

Doug Collins coached the Chicago Bulls in Michael's Jordan's NBA infancy and turned out some pretty good teams. But it wasn't until Phil Jackson came along that the Bulls were able to crash through and win championships. He took Collins' team and elevated it to championship status.

That's what the Cavs need. Izzo, much more comfortable recruiting and guiding college youngsters, would be out of his element in the NBA, where coaching is as much massaging egos and personalities as anything else. That and surrounding yourself with a competent coaching staff.

In the NBA, unlike the college ranks, players handle coaches, not the other way around. I can't remember the last time a successful college coach dipped his toes into the NBA waters and became a success. A vast majority of successful NBA head coaches were either players or top-notch league assistant coaches.

The Cavaliers are on the precipice of something special. They need that veteran steady hand to guide them toward their avowed goal. And Gilbert, looking more and more every day like Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, is sauntering down a perilous path.

Yes, he owns the team. That doesn't give him license to act like a dictator. He appears to rely less and less on his basketball people. That will win him nothing. All he has to do is look at what Jones has accomplished in Dallas since Jimmy Johnson left. One Super Bowl title with Barry Switzer coaching Johnson's club.

And you can bet LeBron James is watching closely as Gilbert ponders his next move. It will be his, count on it, not that of Chris Grant, his latest sycoph, er, general manager. If Gilbert fails to bring in a veteran NBA guy to run the bench, the feeling here is James has played his last game for the Cavaliers.

So, Tom, please say no. You'll be glad you did.

No comments:

Post a Comment