Thursday, June 10, 2010

Is Izzo the man for Cleveland?

One of everyone's favorite sports stories right now is whether or not Tom Izzo is going to leave his position as head coach of the Michigan State men's basketball team to become coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Each day there seems to be new speculation saying he is leaning toward taking the Cleveland job, only for there later to be a report saying he'll be staying in Michigan State. However, the past few days have warranted mostly stories of the former.

Izzo was reportedly in Cleveland today with Cavs owner Dan Gilbert. That obviously gives no real indication on whether or not he will take the job, but it does give seem like he is leaning toward taking the job. He has also reportedly been offered a contract of at least $6 million, which is double his MSU salary. But let's forget about dollars and cents for a moment.

Is Tom Izzo the right man to coach the Cavs?

Izzo definitely has championship coaching experience, which is a must for any coach Cleveland hires, especially if they do so before LeBron James makes his decision. In 15 seasons with the Spartans, Izzo has one championship (2000), six Final Four appearances and six Big Ten Championships. He has a .745 winning percentage in NCAA Tournament games, proving he can win games when it matters most.

He uses a defensive-based system and has shown an ability to rebuild, which will both be beneficial to the Cavs. I'm not going to say the Cavs are an old team, but I'm also not going to say they are young. With a lack of draft picks lately, the new coach needs to know how to find talent among players thought to be mediocre. As a college coach, that's been part of Izzo's job description for years.

Byron Scott's name surfaced recently as well. While he does provide an intriguing case, I still think I'd pick Izzo given the choice. Scott was on three championship Lakers teams in the 1980s, but he never matched that success as a coach, reaching the playoffs twice with New Orleans but never making it past the Conference Semifinals and losing the NBA Finals twice with New Jersey. He coached nine full seasons. He is known for making stars of point guards (Jason Kidd and Chris Paul) but that has no bearing on Cleveland unless Daniel Gibson becomes a full-time starter if Mo Williams is traded.

Do I believe either of these men will make better coaches than Mike Brown? Absolutely not. But do I think a change needed made? Yes I do. It's funny how sports work sometimes isn't it?

Izzo from

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