Sagamore Exclusive: Interview with Cavaliers Head Coach David Blatt

Sagamore Exclusive: Interview with Cavaliers Head Coach David Blatt

The Sagamore had an exclusive interview with the head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers, David Blatt. Blatt is in his first year of coaching one of the NBA’s top teams, who currently stand in 2nd place in the Eastern conference with a 50-27 record. Before joining the Cavaliers this past summer, Blatt both played and coached professionally in Europe for over three decades. He is often deemed one of the greatest American coaches in European basketball history.

On his favorite aspect of coaching:

“My favorite thing about coaching in the NBA is the challenge of coaching at the highest level in the world and the fact that there are so many great teams and so many good players to compete with on a daily basis.”

On what surprised him the most:

“The lack of practice time. In Europe, we have a much longer preparation period before the beginning of the season and also during the season because, in the highest level, you generally play two games a week compared to four of five games a week in the NBA, so you really have very little time to practice.”

On the transition from Europe to America:

“The transition was difficult. It’s very different culturally, and also different professionally. At the end of the day, basketball is basketball and it’s been a very, very enjoyable experience.”

On his biggest goal:

“I want to build an NBA championship team. That’s the ultimate goal.”

On Lebron James:

“Coaching Lebron James is very different and very special because we’re talking about one of the best players in the world and in the history of the game. It’s a great experience, and he’s a fun guy to coach and watch every day. He’s unquestionably our team leader.”

On NBA travel:

“An NBA road trip is fast and furious. It really depends on the nature of the trip, because sometimes we have home games and then a flight that same night to a completely different city where we have a game the very next day, and others can be three or four games on the road in a week outside of your home city. They vary, but they are fast and furious. We play so many games in a six month period.”

On scouting and preparation:

“Everyone is tough to prepare for. They honestly really are all tough. Teams each have different styles, and different stars are in each and every city that you go. You fall into a routine of really trying to be good in the things that you do, and you make small adjustments according to the opponents you have upon you. The playoffs are different though, when you have a lot more time to prepare.”

On Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love:

“They are both really great talents that are relatively inexperienced at the highest level of basketball in terms of playoff basketball, but more importantly, they are both hungry and anxious to win.”

On what makes a great NBA coach:

“Really understanding the schedule, being able to deal with the different players and egos on your own team and holding the group accountable and responsible on a daily basis. It’s also important that, in the midst of so many games in such a short period of time, you manage the minutes on stress on individual players.”

On his playing days:

“I absolutely loved the camaraderie of being with the guys on a daily basis. That was my favorite thing in those twelve years.”

On his journey from coaching in Europe to Cleveland:

“Mine was a very different and a very long one. I’ve been overseas for the last thirty three seasons, twelve as a professional player and another twenty one as a professional coach. I lived in five different countries, coaching in three different languages, and all of that contributed to helping me deal with the rigors of NBA life. And then I simply interviewed for the job and got it.”

Noa Dalzell can be contacted at [email protected]