If you were not paying attention, then you may have missed John Beilein’s 54-game tenure as the head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
However, the fact that Beilein resigned from his position with the Cavaliers may have saved the Cavaliers.
It sure feels like it has been a long time since Beilein was the head coach.
The last time Beilein was coaching in the NBA was prior to the league playing in the bubble.
Here is Beilein’s professional basketball timeline:
- May 13, 2019: hired as Cavaliers head coach
- February 19, 2020: resigned from Cavaliers head coaching position
- June 1, 2021: hired as Senior Advisor Player Development for the Detroit Pistons
Beilein made his return to Cleveland in November:
John Beilein is back in Cleveland pic.twitter.com/Qaga3V1H0R
— James Edwards III (@JLEdwardsIII) November 12, 2021
The league-worst Pistons fell to the Cavaliers by 20 points on November 12.
Cleveland played 72 games during the 2020-21 season, and the team had just three victories of more than 16 points.
Through just 32 contests this season, the Cavaliers already have eight such wins.
The head coach behind the turnaround was consummate interim head coach J.B. Bickerstaff.
On Saturday, Bickerstaff finally cemented his status as a head coach in the NBA:
The Cavs and head coach JB Bickerstaff have agreed to a contract extension that will keep him in Cleveland through 2026-27.
The Cavs are 19-13 and No. 5 in the East 👏 pic.twitter.com/2K0e6SlbFH
— Yahoo Sports NBA (@YahooSportsNBA) December 25, 2021
Here is Bickerstaff’s head coaching resume heading into this season:
- 2015-16: Rockets (71 games coached)
- 2017-18: Grizzlies (63 games)
- 2018-19: Grizzlies (82 games)
- 2019-20: Cavaliers (11 games)
- 2020-21: Cavaliers (72 games)
He is finally going to be coaching a team for an extended time, and the 42-year-old deserves this job.
J.B. Bickerstaff Has Made This Team Into A Winner
Bickerstaff has the Cavaliers flying high, and that is no easy feat without LeBron James.
The former Rockets and Grizzlies head coach is just three wins away from matching Cleveland’s win total from last season:
- 2020-21: Cavaliers record 22-50
- 2021-22: Cavaliers record 19-13
Also, Cleveland won a grand total of 19 games each in 2018-19 and 2019-20.
When looking at the James-less Cavaliers, the last time Cleveland finished a season with an above-.500 record was 1997-98.
Not only are the Cavs hoping to make it back to the playoffs, but they are also in search of their first playoff series victory without James since 1993.
Bickerstaff, the Cleveland associate head coach to begin the 2019-20 season, has such an impressive coaching history that he was able to help this quick turnaround.
Unfortunately, Collin Sexton, the team’s third-highest scorer, is out for the season.
He underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus, but his teammates have filled in valiantly.
The Cavs may need to find a replacement soon to help them out.
The Cavs Will Be Buyers At The Trade Deadline
Without Sexton, the Cavs are in need of some more depth at the trade deadline.
The Cavaliers have had high draft picks recently, but they will most likely not have a lottery pick in the 2022 draft.
Darius Garland (No. 5 in 2019) is the team’s leading scorer and is averaging 19.4 points per game.
Also, Evan Mobley (No. 3 selection in 2021) is thriving with 13.8 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks per game for the young Cavaliers.
With the trade deadline being February 10, 2022, will the Cavaliers be ready to make a big splash?
Adrian Wojnarowski thinks that the Cavaliers could be players in the Ben Simmons sweepstakes:
I’m sure people missed this but Woj said that the #Cavs are a team to watch on becoming re-engaged on the Ben Simmons trade front as we’re roughly a little over a month away from the trade deadline.
— Evan Dammarell (@AmNotEvan) December 26, 2021
All in all, the Cavaliers are trending in the right direction.
If they can add to their roster before the trade deadline, then they could be a threat to the current contenders.