With Mike Brown possibly returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers, he would not only be coming back to his old team, but his winning mentality would translate into success for this team.
The reports of Brown returning to Cleveland have been widespread, including this tweet from SportsCenter:
The Cavaliers have been irrelevant since the departure of LeBron James and the firing of Brown along with a lot of the coaching staff. However, Brown did have quite a bit of success with the Cavs, even if it was with LeBron.
During his time in Cleveland, Brown coached the Cavaliers to five straight playoff appearances, including a trip to the NBA Finals in 2007. During the 2008-2009 season, Brown and the Cavs finished with a 66-16 record while Brown was named the Coach of the Year.
The argument can be made that Brown couldn’t have done all of that without LeBron, and that is true to a degree. However, Brown was still able to coach a team with only one star player and lead them to multiple playoff appearances.
With the possibility of returning to Cleveland, Brown would be able to help develop the younger players on this team, particularly Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters.
Irving has been a star for the Cavs during his first two seasons, averaging 20.6 points per game and shooting 45.9 percent up to this point in his career. However, he has also been one of the worst in the league in turning the ball over, averaging 3.2 turnovers per game. LeBron has had the same issue over his career, but James and Brown were able to make it work, winning game after game.
The biggest thing with Irving that Brown will need to help him with is defense. According to Basketball-Reference.com, Irving has had a defensive rating of 110 and only 1.8 defensive win shares during his first two seasons. In LeBron’s first two years he had a defensive rating of around 103, but he had 7.2 defensive win shares. Brown was able to work with LeBron and improve his defense, and will need to do the same for Irving.
For Waiters, his rookie season was a little shaky, averaging 14.7 points per game on 41.2 percent shooting. Luckily he is still quite young, and a new coach like Brown will be able to help him become a more efficient shooter. After LeBron finished his rookie season shooting only 41.7 percent, he improved almost every single year, shooting 50.3 percent in 2010 before leaving for Miami.
The young backcourt of Irving and Waiters show some serious promise, and an established head coach like Brown will be able to come in and help this team tremendously. He’s coached both LeBron and Kobe Bryant, so he knows a thing or two about working with star talent.
Even if critics say that Brown couldn’t have done it without LeBron, he would still come into Cleveland with a winning mindset—which Byron Scott didn’t appear to have while in Cleveland.
It may take a few years, but the talent combined with the coaching of Brown could make this team relevant once again. The pieces are in place for this team to begin winning more games than they have been, and Brown is the guy to bring it all together.