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#pounditSaturday, December 5, 2020

Report: Cavs players unhappy with John Beilein running team like college program

John Beilein

Things are not going well for the Cleveland Cavaliers in their first season under new head coach John Beilein, and the issues for the team are apparently a lot more complicated than simply not having enough talent to string wins together.

Cavs players are unhappy with the way Beilein is running the team and have begun tuning him out, according to a report from Shams Charania and Joe Vardon of The Athletic. Players are irritated that Beilein, who had no previous NBA coaching experience prior to taking the Cavs job, is trying to create a college environment at the professional level. One unnamed player said Cleveland’s assistant coaches, like JB Bickerstaff, are “definitely more prepared for the NBA.” Another Cavs player said the team has been ignoring Beilein.

“Guys drowned out his voice, and when guys start searching for the next in line for help, I believe you’ve lost them,” the player said.

The Cavs have lost 10 of their last 11 games to fall to 5-15 on the season, and that has exacerbated the issues players are having with Beilein. Some of their frustrations stem from simple things like the way the former Michigan coach harps on fundamentals, but they also feel Beilein’s offense is not suited for the NBA. The Athletic report notes that the problems Beilein is having connecting with his players “are not limited to one demographic,” meaning both younger players and guys who have been in the league longer are having similar experiences.

More specifically, some of the terminology Beilein uses in his system has not been well-received by the team, as players seem to think naming plays after wild animals is something that should not be done in the NBA. One example would be Beilein referring to a curl as a “polar bear.” One Cavs source told The Athletic, “you don’t go pro to do that kind of thing.”

There were bound to be growing pains with Beilein after he spent so many years coaching in college, and the 66-year-old will likely learn a lot in his first season on the job. The bigger question will be whether or not he can adapt, as we saw a previous coach run out of Cleveland over similar issues connecting with NBA players.

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