Mike Brown is seen as a defensive guru in the NBA, but what can he do for a team’s offense?
In the 2008-09 season, Brown’s coaching helped the Cleveland Cavaliers to have a league best in opponents points per game, as well as a league leading 66-16 record. This is very different from what the Cavs have seen with Byron Scott at the reigns; a disorganized sight, to say the least.
The offense under Mike Brown’s last stint with the Cavaliers was minimally strategized, with LeBron James running the one-man Cleveland show. This has been the story of Mike Brown in his head coaching career. He has never been able properly utilize a superstar’s talent to the degree of winning a championship. He now has the young Kyrie Irving to work with, and with a limited offensive approach, Brown must find a way to maximize Kyrie’s potential. This is where Bernie Bickerstaff will hopefully show value. In L.A., Bickerstaff was speculated as “removing the shackles” from a Brown’s coached Lakers offense after Brown was fired mid-season.
The key to this Cavaliers team might be turning defense into offense. With the young, athletic roster Cleveland boasts, the Cavs should be able to capitalize off turnovers and run the break effectively. However, under Mike Brown coached teams, the Cavaliers were 18th at their highest point in terms of pace. Mike Brown must find a way to use their length to force turnovers to make this team as utilized as the roster allows. This is a team with new addition Earl Clark, a lengthy defender, and a (hopefully) improved backcourt defensively, with the maturation of Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters, as well as new addition Jarrett Jack.
Mike Brown’s “princeton” offense that was implemented in his short-lived Laker time will be his choice as a set. Byron Scott attempted his “princeton” offense, which often looked stagnate, especially without Kyrie Irving making things happening. Hopefully Dion Waiters can use his athleticism in an effort on the defensive end and can make better decisions on when to attack, as comes with maturity. Dion Waiters is 21-years old.
So can the Cavaliers make the playoffs this year with or without Andrew Bynum? A lot of that will depend on the team chemistry with the coaching staff. Kyrie Irving has never had a new coach, but players like Anthony Bennett will be expecting a new a look as rookies on a new team.