Mike Brown hired, again
Cavs welcome back head coach to Cleveland
Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert (left) re-welcomes Mike Brown as the Cavaliers' head coach. Photo courtesy the-review.com
"Welcome to Mike Brown 2.0 everybody," said Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert announcing the hiring of the team's new(ish) head coach.
On May 24, 2010, Brown was fired as the head coach of the Cavs, eventually being replaced by the now-deposed Byron Scott. But on the three-year anniversary of his firing, the Cavs held another press conference, this time announcing his return as the franchise's winningest coach.
Though the question that lingers now is: why hire him after firing him just three years ago?
The LBJ/ Mike Brown rift?
Rumors rose in 2010 that LeBron James was unhappy with both the team's offensive schemes and the talent that surrounded him.
"That summer we went through three years ago, that was a unique time for the franchise," Gilbert said. "There was a lot of uncertainity on all levels. We are very happy we got to rectify any position we took back then."
Rumored to be meant as a measure to ensure James' return, both Brown and General Manager Danny Ferry were canned. We have all seen how that one worked out for Cleveland.
Fast forward three years
Upon Scott's firing last week, General Manager Chris Grant made it clear that the team would pursue a defensive-minded coach who will grind out wins. Brown certainly fit the bill.
In his six years as a head coach, Brown's teams have the fourth-lowest points allowed per game. They also allowed the second lowest three-point percentage from opposing teams. His teams were also the best over that span at rebound rate (52.6 percent).
Gilbert's assessment on why Brown was a good fit for the club was nearly verbatim of Grant's search criteria. He stated, "We needed an authentic, hard working grinder who is a defensive-first coach, who is engaged at all levels at all times."
Why was Byron Scott fired?
The Cavs have been very tight-lipped about what went down behind closed doors with Scott's firing, saying they preferred to keep such discussions internal out of respect for Scott. Nevertheless, a few key quotes slipped out during Brown's press conference.
"We felt we needed a holistic change," Gilbert said. "A change of philosophy. A change of identity."
Also, in Gilbert's prior statement on why Brown was a better fit for the team, he mentioned things like "authentic," "hard working" and "engaged in all levels." Each of which could also inversely be read as something the prior coach lacked.
He also called Brown a grinder, perhaps eluding to the countless blown leads the Cavs suffered under Scott, including more than a half dozen 20 plus point leads they lost.
We may never know the truth for sure.
Mike Brown 2.0: the Cavs blueprint
"Our identity will be one of a tough-minded, physical, defensive-first group that is smart in all aspects of the game on both sides of the floor," Brown said on the topic.
He goes on to stress his intent to be personally responsible for his player's growth, saying, "Our guys will feel it. They will breathe it. They will touch it. And they will see it from myself and my staff on a daily basis."
"Our mantra this year will be commitment to the journey. What that means is we will have players around who are selfless, that are accountable and have a blind trust in the group," Brown added.
Did you know?
Mike Brown is one of only two coaches to never lose a first-round playoff series. The only other person to accomplish this feat: 11-time NBA champion and NBA Hall of Famer Phil Jackson.
The funny part: in their words
Brown- "Z's [former Cav's player and now assistant general manager for the Cavs Å½ydrÅnas Ilgauskas] around here somewhere. If he needs to put his sneakers back on and-"
Grant- "Z's your boss now"
(laughter from the masses)
Brown- "I'm going to have to get used to that one."
Gilbert- "Chris, didn't you fire him? Who fired him?"
(Grant rebuttal muffled by laughter)
Brown- "This is how it is behind closed doors. No, you did it. You did it. I'm just sitting here saying whatever."
-Dan Gilbert, Chris Grant and Mike Brown
Speaker- "Welcome to Mike Brown 2.0 everybody. We certainly enjoyed Mike Brown 1.0 and we think that Mike Brown coming back, Mike Brown 2.0 is going to be even better than the first time, which was very, very good."
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