John Beilein’s run as head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers barely lasted a half-season. A tenure that lasted just 54 games ended last week with both parties mutually deciding that the College Basketball coach would not be returning post-All-Star break. Cavs general manager Koby Altman is expected to take the associate head coaching position, while prior assistant J.B. Bickerstaff will be promoted to head coach.
What was supposed to be a promising next couple of years for the rebuilding Cavaliers has turned into just another nightmare season following LeBron James’ departure from ‘The Land’. Coach Beilein’s few months with a bottom-feeder Cavs team includes plenty of losses, player frustration, and a few P.R. moves that may have set off the culture of the team internally.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are a horrendous 16-41 this season, good enough for last place in the Eastern Conference. The drastic amount of losing did not help Beilein’s coaching style, as the former Michigan head coach has been at the center of a winning culture the past few decades. He never seemed to have resonated with the players, whether young or seasoned vets. A few weeks ago, during a video session, Beilein used the word “thugs” to describe players – instead of the word he meant to use (reportedly ‘slugs’). Beilein did apologize with clear regret, but this disturbing event seemingly sealed the head coach’s fate.
New interim head coach J.B.Bickerstaff, the son of former NBA head coach Bernie Bickerstaff, has past head coaching experience with the Memphis Grizzlies and Houston Rockets. He has an overall record of 85-131 and has been viewed as a coach who will put an emphasis on developing young players.
The Cavs are now on their seventh coach since 2012-13. It will be the third time in five seasons that they will have made an in-season change, including back-to-back seasons last year and this year. They’ll host the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday without All-Star Ben Simmons.