This past spring and summer were seasons to remember for Jewish basketball coach David Blatt. In May, he guided Israel's Maccabi Tel Aviv franchise to the European championship. In June, he realized a lifelong dream by landing a National Basketball Association (NBA) head coaching job, with the Cleveland Cavaliers. In July, the Cavaliers signed LeBron James, the man widely considered to be the best player on the planet.
But Blatt's good fortune seems to have stalled, with the Cavaliers—among the NBA's preseason favorites to win a championship—sporting a disappointing 18-12 record so far this season and ESPN reporting that there is a "growing level of worry" about Blatt's "ability to reach the team."
In an interview with JNS.org back in July, Blatt said that patience would be a virtue for the young Cavaliers, despite the high expectations that came with LeBron's celebrated return to the team after he had spent four seasons with the Miami Heat.
“We have to be very smart and deliberate in building our team into the highest-quality team possible and to compete every night,” Blatt said. “We’ll see what happens. Talking about a championship on day one is a little premature. Certainly we will come to compete and be the highest level team we can be right away.”
Will the Cavaliers’ ownership grant Blatt the time he says he needs to execute his vision? Given the high stakes involved for any team employing LeBron, that's anyone's guess.