JB Bickerstaff Sounds Off on Front Office After Cavaliers Crush Rockets

JB Bickerstaff Cleveland Cavaliers

Getty Head coach J. B. Bickerstaff of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Cleveland Cavaliers were one of two NBA franchises that didn’t pull off a single trade ahead of last month’s deadline. It wasn’t for lack of need; for weeks, the Cavaliers were linked to a slew of Issac Okoro replacements at the swing position.

Ultimately, though, the front office decided to stand pat and forge ahead with the roster as presently constructed. After all, the team pulled off one of the summer’s biggest blockbusters by trading for then-Jazz star Donovan Mitchell.

And on Sunday, it all seemed to be worth it. After the Cavs’ win over the Rockets secured the team’s first postseason berth in five years, head coach JB Bickerstaff praised the front office for its “top-down” approach to culture setting.

“I think organizationally this is a big deal to come from where we came from and every year continue to take steps in the right direction,” Bickerstaff said after the game, per the Cavaliers’ official YouTube channel. “All the hard work that people in this organization have put in to help get us here should be acknowledged. This is top-down. This is something that has been done as a collective. We told the guys to enjoy this, but we ain’t done yet.”

Cavs vs Rockets Post Game: J.B. BickerstaffCleveland Cavaliers Head Coach J.B. Bickerstaff spoke to the media following a 108-91 win over the Houston Rockets on March 26, 2023.2023-03-27T01:01:31Z

This year’s playoff run was a long one coming for an organization starved of late-April basketball.

Darius Garland Calls Out Cavaliers Rebuild

In fact, while the Cavaliers have made myriad playoffs and even won a title as recently as 2016, the team was long viewed as reliant on star power alone to propel it to any sort of postseason relevance.

For instance, this year marks the first time since 1998 that the Cavaliers will go to the playoffs without LeBron James on the roster. Instead, the Cavs have prioritized organically building and developing a culture instead of all-in trades for stars á la Kevin Love.

And for Darius Garland, Sunday’s playoff berth was a long time coming.

“It was really tough,” Garland told cleveland.com about the Cavs’ lengthy rebuild. “I’m lowkey speechless because I’ve been here for the longest and I’ve seen it from the mud. It’s great to be here now. It’s a step in the right direction.”

Garland, who has been with the Cavaliers since he was drafted in 2019, also stressed the same line as Bickerstaff.

“But not done yet,” Garland concluded.

Donovan Mitchell Sounds Off on Caris LeVert

While Garland, Evan Mobley, and Isaac Okoro will be playing postseason basketball for the first time in their careers, the same cannot be said of Mitchell.

Mitchell appeared in the playoffs for Utah in every season since coming into the league. He may never have translated the Jazz’s regular season successes into playoff triumphs, but the player knows a thing or two about what it takes to get there.

And after the Rockets game, Mitchell praised his teammates, especially Caris LeVert, for coming into their own this season.

“I think it’s just a mindset,” Mitchell said of the Cavaliers’ fourth-quarter improvements. “Obviously, our defense is the key of it. We’re finding different things offensively. Different guys contributing, I think Evan (Mobley) and Caris LeVert, I think those two guys, in particular, have taken a huge step in their own right and their own way. I think Caris is finding himself. This is the Caris LeVert that we all know. I think during the year he’s trying to figure things out and where he fits in and whatnot.”

Cavs vs Rockets Post Game: Donovan MitchellCleveland Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell spoke with the media following a 108-91 win over the Houston Rockets on March 26, 2023.2023-03-27T01:22:27Z

The Cavaliers get one night of rest before taking on the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday.

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