Report: Some Cavs Players Are Expressing Grievances Over First-Year Head Coach John Beilein’s Style

The Cleveland Cavaliers turned some heads when they hired John Beilein to be their head coach this past offseason. While Beilein has long been a respected name in the world of basketball, it’s not easy making the jump to the league for the first time as a 66 year old with no NBA experience at all and essentially all four decades of his head coaching career coming at the college level.

As it turns out, it took 20 games for some grievances with Beilein’s style to make their way from the surface. According to a piece by Shams Charania and Joe Vardon of The Athletic, a collection of players — which “are not limited to one demographic” based on age and experience — are unhappy with some of the methods used by their head coach, going as far as to turn to lead assistant J.B. Bickerstaff for advice.

The piece indicates that, unsurprisingly, Beilein’s style of coaching has grown a bit “grating” as the team finds itself at 5-15 and on a four game losing streak.

Veterans and younger players, from all corners of the roster, are frustrated with what they see as the pitfalls of a college environment Beilein brought with him. When the Cavs were 4-5, players viewed some of these things as quirks of a coach with a different approach.

Now, they consider them grating. Grievances include his nitpicking over basic fundamentals, too much harping in lengthy film sessions, not enough versatility on offense, and a broader lack of understanding of the NBA game and opposing players. Some of that comes with this being his first year in the league.

It’s important to stress that Beilein is 20 games into a reported five-year contract and growing pains as he gets used to brand new circumstances aren’t particularly stunning. Plus bad stuff gets amplified during stretches filled with losses, and the Cavs are 1-9 over their last 10 games. Still, the fact that these sorts of gripes are coming out so early from, ostensibly, youngsters and veteran players is a curious and less than ideal twist.

Unless things go completely off the rails and there’s an all-out player revolt, it’s hard to see Cleveland moving on from Beilein any time soon, which is probably the right decision. This season was always going to be about learning and building towards the future, something that applies to both players and their new head coach. Given the team’s record and this report, it certainly appears that this is still the case.