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Grayson
01-12-2010, 04:53 PM
Three Keys to a Cavs Championship (http://www.hoopsworld.com/Story.asp?story_id=14959)
From Hoops World


When the 2009-10 NBA season was on the verge of tipping off, Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Mike Brown told his team that they had the pieces in place to win an NBA championship. To illustrate his point, he had three items on a wipe board that he felt were the keys to his team achieving their ultimate goal. Brown recently told this story on 104.3 The Fan in Denver:

"The three things that I put up on the board, I said the first thing that you've got to do is defend. I said I can't remember, and yes I'm fairly young at this, but I can't remember a team that did not defend that has won an NBA Championship. That's the biggest thing for me. The second thing is we gotta trust one another. It's a tough word, but myself and Danny Ferry, we kicked this around for a while. Every team that has won an NBA Championship or anybody that has success with a group of people, the one thing that everybody says is that they had chemistry. Chemistry can mean anything. So we define chemistry in one word: trust. The players have to trust us, we have to trust the players, the players have to trust one another and I have to show the players that I trust my coaches. That's why I do a few unique or different things because I always am conscious of trying to get that point across. I don't go into the huddles all the time because I want my players to see that I trust my assistants going in there and giving them whatever information they need to give them. The last thing I put on the board is, and I said this is going to be big. You guys might not realize this now, but we have to have a bunker mentality. I said there's going to be a lot of people out there that want to tear us apart. They're going to come at Shaq, they're going to come at you LeBron, they're going to come at your relationship, they're going to read into it. Not only that, if we lose a few games in a row they're gonna try and splinter us. We cannot hear the noise outside of this locker room. To me that was going to be the hardest thing to overcome especially if we struggled early and I felt we would get hit across the chin a couple of times early on because we just didn't know each other, but it's good for us to lose every once in a while because it brings us down to earth."

Going into play today, the Cavaliers are 30-10, sporting the best record in the Eastern Conference and second only to the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers league-wide. They're fourth in the league in points allowed (94.27) and third in the league in differential (+6.72). The initial talk of Shaquille O'Neal possibly having problems deferring to LeBron James were much ado about nothing, and everyone in the locker room seems to genuinely enjoy everyone else. So far, Brown's three keys are all falling in line . . .and the results are spectacular. A 75% winning percentage is no small thing. Brown says it has a lot to do with LeBron himself buying into the plan the coaching staff has in place.

"You have to have that. I was fortunate to be in San Antonio in 2003 when we won an NBA Championship when Tim Duncan was off the charts and by far obviously the best player and not only the best player, but he bought into everything that Pop (Gregg Popovich) said. The great part about it is great players like that will know how to hold a coaching staff or a coach accountable without going overboard or stepping across the line. The two players that I have been around that our extremely intelligent and that as a coaching staff you prepare to make sure the stuff you're about to put on the floor makes sense to are Tim and LeBron. Those guys are the smartest guys I've been around and when you do prepare something to put in front of the team you have to make sure it makes sense, not necessarily to the team, but to those guys, because they sniff out a lot of stuff and they will subtly let you know that hey this will not work or this will not make sense so we need to think about doing something else. In order to win a championship, I believe you've got to have that and I feel fortunate enough that here in Cleveland we have that with LeBron."

Of course, the other issue that could serve as a distraction is LeBron's pending free agency. That story has dominated NBA headlines for more than a year, and it's something Brown addressed with his team from the very beginning.

"I hit the team with it so there's not like this big pink elephant in this room. I hit them with it the first day. I already looked the guys in the eye and said this is what we need to do because there's going to be a lot of outside pressures this year. We just take it one day, one game at a time and our expectation level is extremely high so we don't necessarily feel the pressure that may be out there all the time because of what we put on ourselves. In terms of LeBron leaving, this has been a quick journey, but I've been with a lot of teams; I've been with a lot of very good coaches and in a lot of unique situations. I went through the same situation as an assistant and had a chance to watch Popovich handle it when Tim Duncan was going to be a free agent and Orlando was recruiting him. He even, at the end of the year, flew out in there private plane, they had a parade for him and they had all these signs for him. Throughout the course of the year when Tim was in the last year of his deal, the only thing Pop kept saying to us as a staff is that we can't make Tim make a decision. There's nothing that we can say to him that is going to make him pick San Antonio over Orlando. The only thing that we have control over is trying to make us, the Cleveland Cavaliers, have the best possible organization in the league and not only have the best organization and working environment, but we gotta go win. That's the reality of it. If we do that it's gonna make it hard for LeBron or in that case it would make it hard for Tim to go to Orlando even though it was Disney World, and you're down in Florida and the whole nine yards."

The most important factor for LeBron James when it comes time to make his big decision will likely be championship potential. The Cavaliers certainly have it now, and look ready for a long, intense playoff run. It's clear that Mike Brown has prepared his team for everything that goes into winning a championship, and right now things look like they're on par for that course.

Interesting read. I agree in theory with the three things Brown is talking about. He might actually be growing into a competent coach.
Of course every coach in every sport says the same things to their players, so there is that.

NaySmith
01-12-2010, 06:53 PM
Good post, I think. I wanted to read it but I kept waiting for your avatar to go into action.