After each Cavaliers game, head coach Byron Scott adresses the media, discussing key points in the recently-finished game or the players who were involved in meaninful ways. But the latest bout of close losses, per Scott, has not necessarily been decided by a talent gap, but moreso due to a lack of focus on the “little things” and not playing with high effort for a full 48 minutes.
It’s a day and age where the professional athlete has taken on a bit of a different persona than those that came before them. Whether it is the talk of “brands,” or a concern about the next contract, its a day in age where fans feel that they are becoming less and less important and the players – some of whom were coddled since junior high – tend to merely go through the motions and collect their weekly game checks.
And it’s a day and age that Scott deems “scary.”
Though Scott is clear in his assertion that he should not have to remind certain players to give full effort, he admits that it is becoming more and more prevalent within the entire NBA.
“Around this league, it’s like that,” said Scott on Monday afternoon. “I’m sure I’m not the only coach that has to tell his guys that they have to go out and play hard every single night, ‘We have to compete tonight’ and things like that. I talk to other coaches and it’s almost universal, which is kind of weird. To me, that should be a part of your job, to compete and play hard every single night.”
Kind of weird may be putting it a bit lightly in a day when players’ salaries and ticket prices continue to increase with each additional season.
Whether it is a Browns team starving for playmakers, an Indians team going back to the basics with fundamental fielding or a Cavaliers team looking to prove that they were not merely one man for the last seven years, the fans of this here blue-collar town want to see 108 men on professional rosters with heart, determination and the willingness to give the cliché 110 percent on game day/night.
The final four games of the 2009 Browns season, Eric Mangini was given immense credit for getting the most out of a bruised and battered roster that was clad with former practice squad bodies and waiver wire additions. In the midst of a rebuild, Manny Acta will have the opportunity to work with several young players who are looking to make it on the active roster for opening day. And in the case of Scott, while he feels that there was a rough patch in terms of effort a few weeks ago, his team has gotten back on track as they enter a very rigorous stretch of their scheudule.
“Our guys have been doing that lately, but we are still doing a lot of the little things that we’re not supposed to do,” said Scott.
In the end, he feels that, as head coach of an NBA franchise, it is up to him to keep today’s NBA player focused on the task at hand regardless of what their record is. To Scott, it’s about moving forward, learning from mistakes and controlling the controlable.
“My job is to be a little more harsh, keep them a little more accountable as we can’t keep making the same mistakes.”
(AP Photo/Tom Strickland)