“When a 30-year-old superstar joins your team, the window (to win a title) is pretty defined. Now, the course of action is ALL IN … WIN NOW! It’s a very risky proposition (because it can lead to mistakes), but [LeBron James’] presence demands that you take those risks.”
That’s Cleveland Cavaliers GM David Griffin, speaking specifically about the sudden shift in goals which occurred for his team in a span of days this past summer. What once was a team with a new coach, young talent and a hope to make the postseason had suddenly become a “win at all costs” unit. When James joins your team, typically the entire culture is changed overnight, and this is exactly what happened with Cleveland.
The shift was monumental for new coach David Blatt, as well. Recruited to help take an underachieving group of players and get the best out of them with hopes for perhaps a six or seven seed, tops, Blatt was suddenly charged with bringing a roster featuring James, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving to the Promised Land.
Sunday is step one. The Cavs host the Boston Celtics in the opening round of the 2015 NBA Playoffs, a matchup many think they can handle with ease. Topping this, Cleveland is currently the Vegas favorite to win it all this postseason.
It’s certainly high expectations, especially for Blatt, who came into this season with zero NBA experience. However, as we saw in the quote which opened the article, the window for a championship in Cleveland has been defined. It’s win now, no questions asked.
With this in mind, is the pressure on Blatt higher than anyone else affiliated with the Cavs? Is the task laid in front of him clearly distinct? Quite simply, is it title or bust for Blatt?