INDEPENDENCE: As questions about his job security rise, Cavaliers coach Byron Scott said he can’t evaluate the job he has done yet because he doesn’t have all the pieces. He refuses to publicly defend himself, so Tristan Thompson chose Thursday to do it for him.
“All the rumors about Coach Scott, hot seat and all that crap, that’s bogus,” Thompson said. “It’s up to us to go out and compete and play hard because we’re the ones out there. When he was out there playing, he won championships. It’s up to us to go out there and play.”
Unfortunately, the Cavs haven’t done a very good job of playing lately, which is what has pushed Scott’s security into the forefront. The Cavs drag a 10-game losing streak into Boston today, the third double-digit losing streak in Scott’s three years.
Asked Thursday whether or not he feels good about the job he has done here, Scott responded, “I haven’t had all my pieces, so I don’t know. I can’t even grade myself right now. And if I did, I’d probably say a ‘C’ or an incomplete. That’s just being honest.”
Scott said he expected the Cavs’ rebuilding project to take between three and five years, the first time anyone in the organization has put a timetable on the development.
“It’s still right on that timetable, as far as I’m concerned,” Scott said. “But there’s been some times it’s probably been tougher than I expected. But if it doesn’t kill you, it makes you stronger.”
The Cavs are 62-160 (.279 winning percentage) under Scott. When this season ends in two weeks, the Cavs’ winning percentage will rank second in history behind the Chicago Bulls for the worst three-year stretch following a 50-win season, according to STATS.
The Bulls from 1998-2001 won just 21 percent of their games following Michael Jordan’s retirement.
The Cavs held what Thompson termed an “in-house meeting” on Thursday. Scott struggled to sleep following Wednesday’s embarrassing home loss to the Brooklyn Nets, when the Cavs showed little effort and trailed by 30 at the half. He awoke at 3:33 a.m. with plenty of issues on his mind, although he wouldn’t disclose what they were.
Scott said one player spoke up in Thursday’s meeting and called the performance against the Nets unacceptable. He wouldn’t say who the player was, but said it was one of the young guys.
One player in the Cavs’ locker room, speaking on condition of anonymity, ripped Scott to the Beacon Journal about the team’s practice habits, while other players have privately questioned everything from his substitution patterns to use of timeouts and defensive schemes.
The Cavs have been ravaged by injuries this year, but have consistently ranked as one of the league’s worst defensive teams the past three seasons.
Scott has been given a couple of opportunities to defend himself and the job he has done with the Cavaliers, but he has consistently declined.
“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 that we’re under. So I don’t really feel that I need to defend myself. Simple as that.”
Asked about the job his coach has done, Thompson called Scott a “father figure” in the strongest endorsement the beleaguered coach has received from anyone in the organization.
“I don’t know where the talks are coming from, but I guess that’s what you guys talk about when teams lose 10 in a row,” Thompson said. “Byron and the coaching staff have been phenomenal this year. They’ve given us scouting reports and film. They’ve done what they needed to do for us to be successful. It comes to us as players, the starting five, the bench, coming out and competing and playing like men.
“We need to come out there and be men and be pros and compete. They can’t control that. That’s up to us. Whatever you’re saying about Coach Scott, he’s doing his part and all the coaching staff is doing their part. We’ve got to step up as men and play.”
Jason Lloyd can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Cavs blog at http://www.ohio.com/cavs. Follow him on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/JasonLloydABJ. Follow ABJ sports on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.