Though it didn’t work out for his former coach, Larry Nance Jr. has nothing but respect for John Beilein during his brief time with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
It’s been an incredibly frustrating and challenging year for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Even though John Beilein left the Michigan Wolverines to be Cleveland’s next head coach on a long-term deal, he didn’t even last the season. It didn’t work out, but power forward Larry Nance Jr. has nothing but respect for his former head coach, as his team looks to move forward under J.B. Bickerstaff.
“You know, it just might have been the team, it might have been the timing. Who knows?” said Nance to FanSided‘s Mark Carman on behalf of Goodyear and his non-profit, Athletes vs. Chron’s and Colitis, a disease Nance was diagnosed with at the age of 16.
“[Beilein] has had an absolutely unbelievable career. He’s a no-doubt, top-five college coach in the history of the game. You can’t knock his coaching resume. He’s a brilliant basketball mind, but giving the timing, it could have been anything.”
“There is certainly no lack of respect there. It just happened to be his time to move on. I wish him the best in everything, but I think the team is very excited about turning over a new leaf.”
Carman and Nance would discuss why even elite college coaches like Beilein don’t always succeed in at the professional level. For every Brad Stevens in the NBA, there’s a Rick Pitino. For every Pete Carroll in the NFL, there’s a Nick Saban. It’s fascinating, but it’s certainly unpredictable how things will go when a long-time college coach makes the jump to the pros. It helps having great players.
Overall, Nance and his teammates seem really excited about the direction the team is going in under Bickerstaff. Beilein resigned from his post on Feb. 19 with a miserable 14-40 record through 54 games. Since Feb. 21, the Cavaliers have gone 3-5 under Bickerstaff.
This is the third NBA team Bickerstaff gets to lead having coached the Houston Rockets and Memphis Grizzlies previously. Though Cleveland is not making the Eastern Conference Playoffs again this year, perhaps the team can set a solid foundation heading into next season? Nance looks to be a big part of that.
Ultimately, the Cavaliers’ brief marriage to Beilein wasn’t meant to be. Just because two parties want to make it work doesn’t mean it will. Even if we’re bummed with the results, Nance being this open about the respect he has for his former coach shows us the Cavaliers have a positive outlook and want to make this thing work under Bickerstaff going forward. No hard feelings here.
Larry Nance Jr. spoke with FanSided on behalf of Goodyear and his non-profit, Athlete’s vs. Chron’s and Colitis.