ESPN’s Henry Abbott broke down the partnership between Cleveland Cavaliers (and and former Maccabi Tel Aviv) coach David Blatt and LeBron James. Watch Henry Abbott and David Thorpe discuss whether the duo will clash.
Lee Jenkins broke the story of LeBron’s return but what happens now? The madness might just be starting.
David Blatt’s been on one hell of a run. A triple crown with Maccabi, he lands a NBA job (seriously good hustle once again), the team he lands with wins the lottery and lands Andrew Wiggins, wins a bunch of coach of the year awards for work with his old team, and now…now he’s got the best player in the game on his new team.
Yeah, yeah it’s really good to be David Blatt right now.
The East is so open that it’s hardly implausible, even with a team that was pure factory of sadness last year, that Blatt takes the conference in his first season. Outside of the Pacers, is there any team in that conference you feel truly confident about taking Cleveland (and I almost wrote Miami there) in a series with a healthy LeBron James plus friends? There are plenty of options in the West, the Spurs, Warriors, Clippers, Thunder, and Rockets are teams I’d flat out favour against them right now. That’s ignoring a handful of other teams who are better than any other opponent out East, bar Indiana, that could take down the Cavs roster over seven games. You don’t need me to tell you that only one of these teams from the West could potentially end LeBron’s season.
The Cleveland Cavaliers and David Blatt have come to terms, giving the Boston born coach with over 30 years in the European game his first taste of a NBA head coaching gig. Emmet Ryan says this could be a defining moment for European coaches.
You don’t have to go back all that far in history to a time when European players, or indeed any player from outside the USA, was seen as incapable of cutting it in the NBA. It wasn’t until the likes of Drazen Petrovic, Toni Kukoc, Vlade Divac, and Arvydas Sabonis made their mark that Europeans were truly accepted in the league. Dirk’s MVP season struck another blow. The steps have been taken by players in jerseys, the idea of a player whose formative years were outside of the United States not having what it takes is seen as foolish in the modern era.
Coaches however simply haven’t made the breakthrough. Ettore Messina’s single season as an assistant with the Lakers was a big deal. It opened up the prospect of a coach who had made it to the top in Europe being able to transition to the US. Messina was linked with NBA head coaching gigs less than a month ago and now looks likely to join the Spurs as an assistant. Blatt, who is of course American born, is the breakthrough we have been waiting for.
Much as the Bostonian is a noted Celtics fan, he is very much a Euro in the eyes of the NBA. This isn’t Mike D’Antoni with his flavour of Italy coaching in the bigs. Blatt is a Euro lifer. Nearly his entire professional playing career and his full two decades as a coach have been in Europe. Blatt has enjoyed phenomenal success often when resources said he shouldn’t have. Maccabi Tel Aviv’s win in Euroleague this year was the most obvious example but he has taken care of business in Italy and Russia as well as on the international stage. When Russia beat Spain in EuroBasket 2007 they knocked off the reigning World Champions. That was followed up with a bronze in London 2012.
David Blatt, who stepped down as coach of Maccabi Electra Tel-Aviv after completing a clean sweep this season, will interview for the vacant head coaching position with the Cleveland Cavaliers according to Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Blatt, who has been tipped to become Steve Kerr’s assistant at the Golden State Warriors, stepped down from the top job after winning Euroleague, Israeli League, and Israeli Cup honours with Maccabi this season.
According to Wojnarowski, Blatt will be interviewed for the top job in Cleveland on Wednesday.
Blatt has previously been linked with the CSKA Moscow job, with the Israeli-American saying “you know I love Russia” right after Maccabi won the Euroleague title in Milan.
Blatt has enjoyed a wildly successful career across Europe, including the EuroBasket 2007 title and Olympic bronze with Russia in 2012, EuroChallenge with Dynamo St Petersburg in 2005, the Italian league (2006) and cup (2007) with Treviso, along with 5 Israeli league titles, 1 Adriatic league title, and 6 Israeli cups with Maccabi.
Emmet Ryan sends his final video dispatch from Milano as David Blatt, Tyrese Rice, and Joe Ingles talk about Maccabi Tel Aviv Euroleague triumph.
It’s Wednesday once again and thus time for another episode in the “Taking the Charge” podcast series presented by heinnews and BallinEurope.com. Yes, it’s another gabfest loaded with topical news and views plus interviews, music and Os Davis’ movie recommendation of the week. The episode program goes something like this.
• Hein and BiE weigh in on a pair of destiny-shaping events in Europe, namely the exit of David Blatt from Team Russia and the sad decision in FIBA’s arbitration of the KK Zagreb/Bilbao Basket contract dispute over Dario “The Next Big Thing Out of Croatia” Saric;
• A brief look at the recent fortunes of four Euroleague contenders – Zalgiris Kaunas, CSKA Moscow, Olympiacos and Real Madrid – and their changing landscapes early on in the 2012-13 season;
• A talk with Chinese basketball-centric NiuBBall editor/Beijing-based American expat Jon Pastuszek about Tracy McGrady, the NBA influence in the big country, Panathinaikos’ machinations to attract Chinese talent last summer and certain oddities within the CBA rulebook;
• An interview with former Augusta State University/Phoenix Suns big man Garret Siler, who recently returned to China and the league which granted him his first top-division job out of college; and
To hear the entirety of “Taking the Charge,” episode seven, please click here. And talk to you next week!
All right, it’s that time again! With hours to go before the 2012-13 Euroleague season tips off, BallinEurope breaks out its first power ratings for the big league.
Whereas normally a disclaimer to the effect of “the following ratings are based on current trending only and are not necessarily based on the overall quality of the teams” runs here, this year BiE’s switching things up a bit. To wit: For this edition of Euroleague power rankings, the teams *will* be run based on BallinEurope’s totally subjective viewpoint. (Mainly because BiE couldn’t figure out what to do with Barcelona…)
Get your arguments ready and read on for this season’s first power rankings, with Official BallinEurope Fearless Predictions™ for the upcoming season peppered throughout. Enjoy the games!
1. Olympiacos Piraeus. The usual reserved spot for the defending champion comes with some justification this year, as Vassilis Spanoulis & Co. show no signs of letting up on their 2011-12 season-ending 22-4 run. In the off-/preseason, Olympiacos’ foursome of Spanoulis, local hero Georgios Printezis, Kostas Papanikolaou and Evengelos Mantazaris suited up for a disappointed Team Greece – all but Mantazaris acquitted themselves nicely, with 50-of-89 (56.2%) overall shooting and Spanoulis dishing out just under six assists per game in three Olympic qualifiers.
Could David Blatt be panicking? Armed with a retooled roster after last season’s Euroleague disappointment, Maccabi Tel Aviv 2012-13 edition hasn’t overwhelmed in preseason play with little team cohesiveness or incorporation of the Team Russia coach’s patented defensive game plans in evidence. The Israel side washed out in a the four Euroleague-team Domreiter Cup in September before redeeming themselves slightly in Paris, winning the pre-season tourney there last weekend (albeit against lesser competition).
Before topping Galatasaray for the tournament title, Blatt sounded off a bit after his players got by with a win over home team Paris Levallois. “We had two offensive rebounds in 40 minutes,” said Blatt. “You know, I’m 50 and I would have gotten more than two offensive rebounds if I had been on the court.”
But Blatt offered a solution on Saturday which appears to be a matter of fact now, in light of Pops Mensah-Bonsu’s recent release from the club: “Malcolm [Thomas] is exactly the kind of player you need to play a team like Paris Levallois. He is very athletic, fast and plays above the rim. It brings a lot of energy, but also creates a lot of easy baskets … Thomas is very good at offensive rebounding and he will bring what’s missing [on the team].”
Now that BallinEurope’s personal Olympic bracket has been shot to hell, BiE will revert to the cumulative readers/contributors’ podium picks of USA-Russia-Argentina. Followers know that BiE’s ridden Russia since the opening ceremonies and the quarterfinals, despite a Spain win, only strengthened this convinction. Below, then, are five reasons why Russia will overcome the 4.5-point favorites.
BallinEurope may be pulling the trigger a bit early on this one, but has to ask: Was the loss to Russia on Saturday a harbinger of things to come from Team Spain? Not to put too fine a point on it, but is the marathon (by today’s standards) golden age of Spanish basketball in international competition over?
It is that sheer length of the era of Spanish dominance that makes one wonder about the security of Los Rojos’ presumptive top-dog status going forward: Since 2001, Team Spain has medalled in nine of 13 international tournaments – including the Olympic Games, FIBA Eurobasket, FIBA World Championship/Cup and Mediterranean Games. In the past six years, the Spanish have taken home three golds and five silver from FIBA and the IOC, the sole missed podium coming at the 2010 FIBA Worlds, when Pau Gasol no-showed and Team USA brought its “B Team.”