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Byron Scott: “I don’t think I got a fair shake”

Apr 20, 2013, 2:00 PM EDT

Cleveland Cavaliers  v Miami Heat Getty Images

When Byron Scott took the Cleveland Cavaliers job in 2010 they didn’t know yet if LeBron James would stay or go — although he had to know “go” was a good possibility the way things had shaken out the season before.

Scott, a veteran coach with a hard-nosed style, was in charge of a rebuilding project. They were not going to win much. He was tasked with helping his team grow.

After three seasons he was let go on Thursday. Scott spoke to the Plain Dealer about the experience.

“I’m disappointed, more than anything,” Scott said in a telephone interview. “I don’t think I got a fair shake.”

“I’ll land on my feet,” he said.

He will. He’ll get another shot, he’s respected around the league.

What did Scott in was defense — the Cavaliers were 27th in the NBA in defensive efficiency this past season, they were 25th and 29th Scott’s  two other seasons. To be fair, injuries like the one this season to Anderson Varejao impacted those numbers, but the Cavs never really improved on that end of the court. It’s hard to say that Scott was building a defensive culture there.

The question becomes: Is an old-school, long practice loving, grinding coach a good choice for a young team? Cavaliers players talked about being worn down at the end of the season. There was frustration in the locker room. Young teams need rules and boundaries, but they also need positive reinforcement and was there enough of that in Cleveland?

Cleveland is a job that could draw a name coach — they have a franchise anchor in Kyrie Irving, some nice role players and a lot of cap space. They are a team built to take big leaps in the next few years, meaning this is an important hire for them. All the next coach wants is a fair shot.

  1. jeffw - Apr 20, 2013 at 2:11 PM

    It’s his own fault. He is an experienced coach with a fairly good reputation. He should have waited for a better opportunity, rather than jumping into the cesspool that is Dan Gilbert and Cavilier basketball.

  2. mazblast - Apr 20, 2013 at 2:36 PM

    Sorry, Byron. You didn’t get the job done by any stretch of the imagination.

    It’s not “Showtime” any more. You were a fine player on some great teams, but never close to being The Guy. As a coach, you’ve never been close to being The Guy, either.

    Good luck on TNT next year, or wherever failed coaches with recognizable names go to while away their time and recite inanities.

    • coasttocoast12 - Apr 20, 2013 at 2:52 PM

      What were you expecting him to do ? Win the title with a team that hasn’t even completed the ‘rebuilding’ phase ?

      • slowclyde86 - Apr 20, 2013 at 10:41 PM

        No, not really. If the Cavs showed anything, anything at all, defensively, he would still be employed. Why is that so hard to understand?

  3. JMClarkent - Apr 20, 2013 at 3:07 PM

    I think that this is another example of a coach taking the fall for a GM. Kyrie is a stud (who missed about 22 games), but the battle for second best player with AV out is between Speights, Tristan Thompson and Dion Walters…

  4. 00maltliquor - Apr 20, 2013 at 3:20 PM

    He didn’t get a fair shake. At all.

  5. dalucks - Apr 20, 2013 at 3:42 PM

    I agree. Byron never should have went to Cleveland. He should be coaching the Lakers right now.

  6. lakerluver - Apr 20, 2013 at 3:55 PM

    Honestly, I don’t know if Byron’s a good coach or not. But I do know that Gilbert is not a very good owner. What did he expect from the coach? He couldn’t turn chicken “stuff” into chicken salad!!

  7. clevelandschronic2 - Apr 20, 2013 at 4:17 PM

    I love reading these posts by the faker fans trashing gilbert. What exactly did he do wrong as an owner besides the letter. Did he hire mike brown as a scapegoat for a yr then fire him 5 gms into a season. Or did gilbert lead phil jackson on by making him a offer to coach then go behind his back and hire dantonis bum ass? Everyone acting like gilbert kicked your dog or took your g/f. Plenty other owners who are worse. Just ask Sactown!! U idiots need to get some common sense.

    • Kurt Helin - Apr 21, 2013 at 11:07 PM

      He let LeBron have the run of the organization without setting limits.

  8. thenew013 - Apr 20, 2013 at 4:58 PM

    I wish he would elaborate instead of just saying that’s not fair. I mean cause I can be vague and say life isn’t fair.

  9. jimsjam33 - Apr 20, 2013 at 5:06 PM

    It might be a good thing Byron Scott . You should have taken the Lakers job this year , but who knows . Maybe the Lakers and Clippers will be looking for a coach next season . You would be perfect for either team in LA. We still think nothing but good things about you in this town .

  10. eugenesaxe - Apr 20, 2013 at 5:50 PM

    He rolled the dice on leb staying, and crapped out. Once that happened, you knew the team was in suck-mode.

  11. tampajoey - Apr 20, 2013 at 6:28 PM

    The Lakers should hire Byron Scott to change crybaby Dwight Howard’s diaper.

  12. boobcok - Apr 20, 2013 at 6:32 PM

    adding time to practice is an example of positive reinforcement.

  13. teke184 - Apr 20, 2013 at 6:54 PM

    Byron was the wrong coach for the Cavs’ rebuilding project. He sucks at developing any young player not named Chris Paul.

  14. chief0727 - Apr 20, 2013 at 7:33 PM

    I’m a little disappointed in Byron. This team digressed over the past year. By the end of the season it seemed the team quit on him, as well as him quitting on the team. They were in the bottom 3 in defense yet again under Byron. Too often they would bulid a 10-12 point lead and then he would sit quietly on the bench as the opposing team went on a 10-15 point run to win. I could argue they lost at least 5-10 games due to his coaching. Enoughs enough. I wish him well but he showed when the game was tight and on the line—he lacked the x’s and o’s to pull off a win.

  15. mrobinson14 - Apr 20, 2013 at 7:38 PM

    Why the heck does everyone think that it is all Gilbert????? It’s grant who fired him! Fire one to save yourself. Of course he didn’t get a fair shake! This is a business! Also, I am one who thinks that Byron should not have been fired. Best of luck Byron in all your endeavors.

  16. Mr. Wright 212 - Apr 20, 2013 at 9:34 PM

    I wondered why he took the job in the first place. They were a complete mess and he knew it, and still signed up for it. And the guys they’ve drafted — not a single one can stay healthy — which is why he didn’t get a fair shake. But he can’t be tight when he knew that this team wasn’t going anywhere anytime soon even if all their guys had been healthy.

  17. lakerluver - Apr 20, 2013 at 11:03 PM

    Byron will not coach the LAKERS. I think Mitch is serious when he says Mickey D will be the LAKERS coach next season. The only way that changes is if D12 pulls him aside and says if he stays, I leave. Back to Byron, he should’ve gotten another year. Gilbert didn’t learn anything from the whole LeBron fiasco. I feel bad for the Cavs fans because Kyrie will be out of there as soon as he possibly can. He wanted Byron as his coach and Gilbert totally ignored him.

  18. marcusfitzhugh - Apr 20, 2013 at 11:12 PM

    If Cleveland made the right decision, then we can expect to see them in the playoffs in the next two years. If not, they’ll regress. Just ask Jersey and New Orleans.

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