LeBron James now lavishing praise on Cavaliers head coach David Blatt
LeBron James recently had nothing but kind words to say about David Blatt, recently praising the Cleveland Cavaliers rookie head coach for how well he has been setting the team up for success.
“He’s been great,” James said ahead of the Cavs’ bid to take a 3-0 series lead over the Boston Celtics on Thursday night, via the Boston Herald. “He’s prepared us to go out and give us the best chance to win a ballgame. For us as players, we have to go out and do that.”
Perhaps that shouldn’t come as surprise, at least to those who know a little bit of Blatt’s coaching pedigree.
Herald writer Brad Bournival notes in his report that Blatt has been extremely successful at the professional coaching level, winning 17 championships, most recently with Maccabi Tel Aviv where he won a Euroleague title just last year.
Blatt does acknowledge, however, that he has never coached in a seven-game series, so it must be encouraging for Blatt to know that not only James publicly has his back, but other Cavs players as well, including Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love.
Irving called Blatt a “champion” and praised his coach for being “even-keeled” but also possessing a “killer mindset.” Love said Blatt may be a rookie NBA coach, but he “doesn’t hold himself like one.”
While Irving’s and Love’s compliments are all well and good, it’s James’ high praise for Blatt that arguably is most surprising, as it seemingly flies in the face of the long-held belief that the superstar seemed initially reluctant to buy into what the coach was selling.
How the tide has turned.
It seems like a long, long time ago when it appeared James had little faith in the NBA coaching neophyte’s basketball acumen. It also seems like an eternity since it was speculated Blatt simply was playing the role of coaching marionette to his star’s play-calling, puppetmaster routine.
Okay, actually it wasn’t really that long ago.
Simply stated, the attitudinal turnaround is a testament to how the Cavs going on a tear during the latter part of the regular season and storming out of the gates in the playoffs has dramatically altered people’s perception of Blatt, including possibly his own players.
[H/T Pro Basketball Talk, image credit: Cavaliers Nation]