In all the exuberance about the performances of LeBron James and his rag-tag crew of Cavs, virtually zero credit is being given to the head coach, David Blatt. We covered this topic a couple weeks ago, when Blatt seemed resigned to this reality, and decided to just go along with it and be LeBron’s hype man. But, the phenomenon has become even more pronounced.
For example, Adrian Wojnarowski wrote a piece this past January which (rightfully, at the time) criticized LeBron’s leadership of the Cavs and treatment of Blatt:
For everyone suspicious of James’ intentions when he pushed David Blatt out of a confrontation with a game official in Tuesday night’s loss to the Phoenix Suns, give James a benefit of the doubt he hasn’t earned. He was trying to spare Blatt a technical foul. In this warped Cavaliers culture, it almost felt like progress in the limited star-coach partnership. At least, James acknowledged that Blatt was there, that he was Cavaliers coach. That’s been rare.
After last night’s game, Woj wrote a 1,200+ word column rightfully singing LeBron’s virtues. David Blatt’s name came up zero times. This is not to say the coaching staff got zero credit — Cavs general manager David Griffin was quoted in the piece praising the assistant who saved the team from Blatt’s phantom technical in Game 4 against the Bulls:
It’s not just Woj, and this is not meant to pick on him. Our site’s recap of the game praised LeBron and Matthew Dallavedova, but had no mention of Blatt. Deadspin devoted a piece this morning to the Cavs’ team defense where Blatt’s name appeared zero times (though another post of theirs did give Blatt credit for the defensive schemes). To be fair, Blatt was also praised by Zach Lowe and Brian Windhorst.
It’s interesting that while Blatt’s name was by-and-large excluded from commentary after Game 2’s victory, he almost assuredly would’ve been excoriated for leaving Timofey Mozgov on the bench if the Warriors had mounted a successful comeback. It’s a situation unlike anything I can remember, except maybe when Jim Caldwell was the nominal coach of Peyton Manning and the Colts. As frustrating as that must be, it’s still probably worth it to be along for the ride.