Not LeBron James! Former Cavs Coach Picks the Most Talented Player He Coached

Published 01/04/2021, 7:57 AM EST
Cavaliers forward LeBron James in action against the Clippers on Friday, Jan. 16, 2015, at Staples Center in Los Angeles. (Photo by Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)


David Blatt coached the Cleveland Cavaliers for 18 months and led them to the 2015 NBA Finals in his rookie year. During his tenure, he had arguably the greatest player of the 21st century, LeBron James under his command.

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He also had the young and talented Kyrie Irving on the Cavs’ roster. Kyrie has always been an enigma; so what was Blatt’s bond with him like?

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“I loved coaching Kyrie, I had a very good relationship with him. I thought he was eager and anxious to learn and to grow. And to develop his exceptional skill set,” said Blatt.

Blatt details what Kyrie Irving needs to do to be successful with the Brooklyn Nets

The former Boston Celtics guard’s handles are some of the best-ever in NBA history. Blatt was also blown away by the potential he had in him. To the extent that he thinks that Kyrie was even more gifted than ‘King James’. Blatt said:

“It was fascinating to just see him practice every day, you know. You’d just sit back and wait for him to do something that no one else had ever done or could ever do… just from a pure talent standpoint… Kyrie even more talented (than LeBron) and probably LeBron would tell you that. He would do things on a daily basis that would make you literally just say ‘Wow! Did he just do that?'”

CLEVELAND, OH – SEPTEMBER 26: Kevin Love #0, LeBron James #23 and Kyrie Irving #2 during media day at Cleveland Clinic Courts on September 26, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory copyright notice. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

The jovial 2014 All-Star MVP is onto his next NBA adventure with the Brooklyn Nets. Since he’s always been plagued by various injuries that have never allowed him to play more than 75 games in a regular-season, Blatt wants him to be injury-free to unlock his true potential alongside Kevin Durant and said:

“He’s got to stay healthy, and he’s never managed to be healthy for an extended period of time. If he can do that… The sky is still the limit for that guy.”

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Blatt did not always see eye-to-eye with Irving and LeBron James

It is no secret that Blatt and the players did not get along with each other. Blatt was infamous for his ‘untimely’ timeouts with LeBron James & Co. Here is Kyrie expressing his displeasure one time:

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So the front office fired Blatt in January 2016 and promoted assistant Ty Lue to his position. The rest as they say is history.

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Bharat Aggarwal

705 articles

Bharat Aggarwal is a sports analyst for EssentiallySports, covering Formula 1 and NBA. A Delhi University graduate, Bharat has multi-year experience in sports writing, having closely worked with the content strategy aspect as well. Bharat Aggarwal supports Manchester United, Lewis Hamilton, Cristiano Ronaldo, Rafael Nadal, Dirk Nowitzki, Sachin Tendulkar, Ayrton Senna, Kristaps Porzingis, and Dallas Mavericks.

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