During his three-year stint as the coach of the Cavaliers, Scott complied a record of just 64-166, a winning percentage of .276 – the lowest in team history.
There have been rumors about Scott's future with the team as the season came to a close. Cleveland only had one winning month while he was the man in charge, this past February, and that was only with a record of 7-5.
Before the season, Cavaliers' owner Dan Gilbert said he would need to see improvement from this team in order for Scott to remain in charge. To be fair to Scott, the Cavaliers have improved on their win total in each of his three seasons – 19 in 2010-11, 21 in 2011-12, and 24 this season – but it was evidently not the improvement the owner was looking for.
Cleveland has been especially disappointing as of late, dropping their last six games to end the season and 15 of their last 17. The team had been eliminated from the NBA Playoffs for some time, but there was questions about whether Scott was getting the best out of his players recently.
One of the main issues under Scott, where Gilbert hoped to see improvement on this season, was the defensive side of the ball. The Cavaliers finished last in the league in opponent's field goal percentage at 47%. The previous two years under Scott, Cleveland was right around that mark, finishing at .475 and .467 respectively.
There was also concern about how the players were responding to Scott. There have been anonymous complaints about how practices are run and how the coach deals with his players. Star Kyrie Irving admitted to be disinterested after a loss earlier this season and recently did not rush to give Scott his endorsement for the future. While Irving did come back and say he "absolutely" wanted Scott to return, the hesitation may speak more than the spoken word.
Irving also said he was tired of the losing and that was affecting his play. This is something that most young players have to deal with when they are drafted in the lottery, as the teams they go to usually take time to rebuild. That may not be a coaching problem, but something to keep an eye on with Kyrie.
While the poor record and displays are certainly enough to fire Scott, the question of whether he was given enough time has to be brought up.
Scott took the job in Cleveland believing he would be the coach of the LeBron James Cavaliers, yet James left for Miami just days after Scott was appointed. While this is something he must work with, it is harsh to ask him to turn a team around so quickly that just lost the best player in the league and had to rebuild from nothing.
Cleveland is one of the youngest teams in the league and, for most of the season, started players in their rookie year or first full NBA campaign (due to the lockout shortened season last year). The Cavaliers had four players in the Rising Stars Challenge at All-Star Weekend, meaning the talent is there, but still must be developed into stars or solid NBA players.
Gilbert has proven he is not a patient man and sometimes acts rashly. He rushed to put aging stars around James in order to keep him, and when he chose to take his talents elsewhere, Gilbert made the ridiculous statement that Cleveland would win a title before LeBron did. Now he has pulled the trigger on this firing, which, while not a quick decision, really did not allow Scott to coach through the rebuilding process as was said.
While the Cavaliers have been dreadful this season, becoming the first team in 15 years to drop four games when leading by 20 points or more, these were all to good teams. There were signs that things were heading in the right direction, as Irving, Dion Waiters, Tristan Thompson, and Tyler Zeller showed at least flashes throughout the season.
With that said, this team will now move in another direction, and the question becomes who will be the next man to take charge. There are many option out there. Indiana Pacers assistant Brian Shaw, Golden State Warriors assistant Mike Malone, Miami Heat assistant David Fizdale, and former Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy are all coaches that will likely be considered.
The name Phil Jackson will also be thrown into the mix most likely, but that is an unrealistic target and not someone who fits what the Cavaliers have.
Check back to Cavaliers 101 for more thoughts and updates on the possible hire.
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