Q: Coach we haven’t spoke for a little while so first I want to ask you how things are going so far in your first season:
A: It’s been exciting. I think our coaching staff has done a great job of creating the environment that we were looking for when we envisioned this in the offseason when we moved to Cleveland. The players: the effort they give and the way they’re competing night in & night out, it makes for a super exciting part of the year right now. We are starting the regular season and just now starting to play how we want to play.
Q: Sounds pretty positive there! But on the flip side to that, one of the challenges in the NBA G League is all of the player movement, especially during these COVID times. How have you adjusted?
A: I think a big part of it is that we preach a lot about being authentic, being yourself and enjoying the process no matter what it is. We try to bring a lot of joy to our day to day regardless of what’s happening and what the results have predicted. With the player movement, it’s all been for positive reasons. Guys are getting 10 Days or if someone gets a Two-Way, those are all extremely positive pieces and are celebrated in our environment. For myself and our staff in regards to that player movement, we try to just find solutions. As I’ve found in my short time here and my longer time as an NBA assistant, it’s all about finding solutions more than identifying the problems. You can definitely find problems with roster inconsistency that can throw you off day by day, but that doesn’t go with our environment and the people we have here. We preach to be authentic, be yourself and enjoy those moments as part of the process. Joy is a huge thing that can cover up a lot of negative and I think our players have taken this approach. They’ve all celebrated each other and have compassion for each other that I’ve been supper happy with.
Q: Speaking of challenges with player movement, we saw something that I’ve never seen before in one of our games last week. In Grand Rapids, Trey Landers was deemed inactive and ejected in the middle of the game and then deemed active later on in the game and returned to play. Have you ever seen anything like that before and how do you handle that as the Head Coach?
A: No, I’ve definitely never seen that happen before (laughs). It was tough because everyone involved all had good intentions and it never got heated, but it all went against us in the middle of the game. The officials made the call that because he wasn’t listed in the score sheet at the start of the game, he should have been inactive and was subsequently ejected with a technical foul. They played it according to the rules, but the problem is Trey was indeed an active player on our roster, who mind you played the night before, and the mistake was made because the scorer’s table in Grand Rapids had an outdated roster. Luckily with technology that we are afforded, we were able to connect with the League Office and get the decision reversed & technical rescinded to get Trey back in the game to start the fourth quarter. It was a really unfortunate situation, especially because it was Trey who had to suffer, but I appreciated it being corrected and the officials being so great about it after the fact. I just hope we can improve the checks & balances process there in the future to prevent something like that from happening again.
Q: Well hopefully we won’t see anymore of those as the regular season rolls on! But with the regular season now ramping up over the next 2.5 months, how excited are you to really get going now?
A: A lot of games in front of us that I’m really excited to get into a flow. With the Showcase Cup schedule, the games were spread out and had a lot of down time where it was tough to feel the flow of things from a play consistency standpoint. Now we will start to see players’ trends and get a better feel for how to improve things when they’re going poorly. You have many more opportunities to see things on the game floor rather than just on the practice floor. I think the players are excited to play more games compete at a higher level and use these opportunities to further their careers.