Winning Championships Is in His Blood
David Blatt – First Israeli Coach In The NBA
March 19, 2015
By Bosmat Eynav
David Blatt was born on May 22, 1959. He grew up in the town of Framingham, Boston, Completed a degree in English literature at Princeton University. During his studies he played as a guard under legendary coach Pete Carril.
Blatt had great success as coach of Maccabi Tel Aviv Israel and won the Euro Cup League five times.
Blatt was also the coach of the Russian national team in the years 2006-2012 and led it to its first and historic European championship. His team also won the bronze medal in the 2011 and 2012 Olympic Games.
On May 16, 2014 he coached Maccabi Tel Aviv into the Final Four of the Euro League for the 15th time in club history and won.
Winning the Maccabi Tel Aviv Cup was a big surprise, since that Maccabi team was the underdog .
In July 7, 2014 Blatt was named Coach of the Year in the Euro League.
In 2014 he announced he was leaving Maccabi Tel Aviv to go into the NBA and became coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The plan was for Blatt to train a young team that probably wouldn’t do much in the playoffs right away but mostly install his European system .The intention was to build a solid foundation for the young players who hadn’t made the playoffs in the recent past.
Even NBA coaching legend Greg Popovich (5 championships) appreciated Blatt’s coaching ability and invited him several times from Europe to San Antonio where Popovich shared his staff to ease his path to the NBA.
However, unexpectedly LaBron James signed with Cleveland and the plan changed immediately when the Cavaliers went all out to compete for a championship by acquiring Kevin Love in a trade with Minnesota.
The Cavaliers become one of the favorites to win the NBA championship but the chemistry wasn’t right and the team began loosing. The victim in the media was obviously Coach Blatt.
Brilliantly, however, the roster was changed with two important trades. Dion Waiters was traded to Oklahoma City, and two new guards were acquired from New York, J.R. Smith and Ian Shumpert. Then 7-foot center Timofey Moscov,who had been coached by Blatt on the Russian national team, was acquired from Denver .
The team’s chemistry became much better.
As a journalist I support the right to speak our minds freely, but with all my respect to the media I’m thinking it was too early to execute Coach Blatt’s strategy, especially when we’re talking about a brilliant coach with a lot of accomplishments on his record even though the wins weren’t in the NBA.
Giving time, the Cavaliers became the number two team in the Eastern Conference by winning 21 of 27 games. One very important recent win came at San Antonio in an over time thriller.
Right now the Cavaliers have become the threat that people thought they’d be at the start of the season.
So ,don’t you think the media sometimes runs too fast to a conclusion?
Blatt, Popovich and Doc Rivers share a common base in their leadership. They’re all visionary men who look at the big picture instead of over reacting to small set backs.
I wish we could all learn from that approach and particularly from this story how to withhold rough criticism and give each other more time and space to show our skills.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Before joining the Observer staff Bosmat Eynav was a journalist in Israel when David Blatt was winning championships there)