The Cavaliers‘ 19-46 record in 2019/20 was the worst mark in the Eastern Conference and the second-worst in the entire NBA. However, head coach J.B. Bickerstaff is bullish on his team’s chances to improve next season, suggesting on a conference call this week that he doesn’t believe a playoff berth is out of the question, as Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com details.
“I think our responsibility is to keep improving. You always look outward,” the Cavaliers’ coach said. “You’re always doing your job to see what players you’re going to get in the draft, what free agents may be available, but for us as a coaching staff, our priority is developing the guys that we have here and who we can identify to take the biggest step to make us that team that we want to be. And that’s a playoff-contending team.
“That’s what our focus is right now. I trust our front office. They work tirelessly and are prepared. And, again, it was a small sample size, but if you look at the way we competed over that stretch, there’s no reason why we can’t have that conversation about achieving that goal for next year,” Bickerstaff continued, referring to the Cavaliers’ 5-6 record following John Beilein‘s departure.
Here’s more from around the Central:
- In an in-depth feature on the Bulls and their hiring of new head of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas, K.C. Johnson and Tom Haberstroh of NBC Sports note that the team had been battling the perception that it’s too “old-school,” looking to the past rather than the future. The front office overhaul is partly about changing that perception. “They are in the same boat as the Lakers were before LeBron (James) fell in their lap,” an Eastern Conference executive told NBC Sports. “They didn’t think they needed to upgrade the front office because ‘Hey, we’re the Bulls.'”
- While it’s possible that the Bulls will retain head coach Jim Boylen for another season, Chris Mannix of SI.com (Twitter link) identifies Kenny Atkinson as a logical target if Karnisovas does want to make a change. Chicago has a young roster and Atkinson established himself as a strong developmental coach in Brooklyn. Boylen is reportedly concerned about his job security but is confident he’ll be given the chance to remain in the role.
- Donta Hall‘s second 10-day contract with the Pistons was about to expire when the NBA suspended its season. Keith Langlois of Pistons.com explores whether the rookie power forward has a future with the franchise.