Cavaliers coach J.B. Bickerstaff believes finishing the season would be important to his young team, writes Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. The Cavs still own the worst record in the East at 19-46, but they went 5-6 after Bickerstaff replaced John Beilein as head coach last month, including wins over the Nuggets, Heat and Sixers.
“I would hope to play the final 17 games, to be honest with you,” he said. “Where we are and how important that is to us as a team in building and the taste it can leave as we go into what would have been a summer break — guys wanting to go out, work, prepare and get better because they start to see some things heading in the right direction. That momentum I think was going to be and would be important for us.
“The toughest thing in this league is learning how to win and we were starting to get to the point in fourth quarters. So, for us as a group, that’s meaningful. Obviously the league will do what it deems best for the entire league and our fans, but for us, I would love to have those games.”
Bickerstaff adds that he hasn’t been tested for the coronavirus and all his players remain healthy. Cleveland hosted Utah on March 2, nine days before a positive test by Jazz center Rudy Gobert sparked the shutdown of the league.
There’s more from Cleveland:
- Small forward may be the primary position the Cavaliers try to upgrade during the offseason, Fedor predicts in a separate piece. Cedi Osman, the starter for the past two years, might be better off as a reserve, Fedor suggests. First-round pick Dylan Windler wasn’t able to play at all because of injuries and will be starting from scratch next season. Kevin Porter Jr. could be the most talented member of Cleveland’s young core, but many in the organization view him as a shooting guard.
- Three-point shooting and passing are also areas that need improvement, Fedor adds. Center Tristan Thompson leads the team from beyond the arc at 39.1%, while Matthew Dellavedova is clearly the best passer in the organization.
- It didn’t take long for Lindsay Gottlieb to win the respect of the players in her first season as an assistant coach, Fedor notes in another story. Andre Drummond connected with her right away after being acquired from the Pistons. “I immediately gravitated towards her and have ever since,” Drummond said. “I always preach positivity. She sees that. Any time she sees me get down on myself, she always comes over and gives me a pat on the leg and tells me to stay positive and I will be fine.”