INDEPENDENCE (92.3 The Fan) – If the seat for Cleveland Cavaliers coach Byron Scott is getting hotter, he isn’t feeling the heat.
With the Cavaliers mired in a 10-game losing streak, Scott isn’t worried if he will keep his job. He also doesn’t feel the need to explain or defend himself as the critics begin to grow and the patience of fans begins to wear thin with a team that is the 3rd worst in the NBA this season at 22-52.
“I don’t necessarily think I need to defend myself to the public or especially in the papers,” Scott said. “I know what I’m doing here. I know what type of job I’m doing. I know what I’m given. I know what we’re working with. I know the situation we’re under.
“So I don’t really feel the need to defend myself.”
Following Wednesday night’s embarrassing 113-95 loss to the Brooklyn Nets, after which Scott admitted his team didn’t show up to play, the team held a closed door meeting prior to practice Thursday in Independence.
The message was simple – show up to play every night, which has not been the case on several occasions this season.
“It’s not rocket science,” Scott said. “What I’m asking guys to do is go out there and compete hard every single night and whatever happens after that happens.”
Kyrie Irving, C.J. Miles and Luke Walton all said Wednesday night following the Nets loss that despite looks to the contrary, they have not quit on Scott.
Thursday it was forward Tristan Thompson who had Scott’s back. He said that Scott is more than just a coach to him.
“He’s like a father to me,” Thompson said. “I talk to him. We have a relationship off the court. He’s like a father to me, he’s not not just coach Scott. He’s like my dad.”
The most recent nosedive for the Cavaliers under Scott’s leadership has many questioning if he should return next season despite having the option on his contract already picked up in October.
Thompson doesn’t see Scott getting the boot or being deserving of it.
“Coach Scott has done everything asked of him as a coach,” Thompson said. “All that rumors about coach Scott and hot seat and all that crap, that’s bogus. It’s up to us to come out and compete and play hard because we’re the ones out there. When he was out there playing, you guys know what happened. He won championships. So it’s up to us to come out there and play.”
Scott was hired by the Cavaliers before LeBron James made his decision in 2010.
Regardless of James’ decision, the organization felt they were getting a championship caliber coach for James or one who could mentor young players in a rebuild should they have to go that route.
Unfortunately, they had to go into full blown tank and rebuild mode with Scott at the helm and it’s seen the Cavaliers win just 62 games since James’ departure.
As part of that experience with rebuilds, which Scott said takes 3-5 years, he has endured several lengthy losing streaks over his coaching career in New Jersey, New Orleans and now Cleveland.
Scott led the Cavaliers during a professional sports record-tying 26-game losing streak during the 2010-11 season. He’s lost 11 in a row once, 10 games in a row – including the current streak – now 3 times to go along with 3 9-game slides and a pair of 8 game losing streaks.
According to Elias, Scott has the third worst winning percentage as a coach with 1 team – a minimum of 200 games – in NBA history. Only Tim Floyd (Chicago) .205 and Ron Rothstein (Miami) are worse.
That’s a lot of losing for Scott to endure.
He’s sick of it but in his eyes it’s up to the players to get fed up with it as well.
“If guys don’t fear or hate losing as much as I do, we’re going to keep going through what we’re going through,” Scott said. “You have to the point where you hate losing. In the ‘80s, we hated losing games. It was gut-wrenching. I don’t know if we’ve gone through that. I have. I don’t know if they have.”
A young roster compounded by injuries to Anderson Varejao and Irving the last 2 seasons have thrown a monkey wrench into the master plan. When asked to assess the job he’s done the last 3 years, Scott had trouble giving an honest assessment.
“I don’t know,” Scott said. “I haven’t had all my pieces. I can’t even grade myself right now. I’d probably give myself a C or incomplete.
“It’s been tough. I expected to take 3-5 years. It’s still on that timetable. There have been times it’s been tougher than I expected. If it doesn’t kill you, it makes you stronger.”