Cavaliers ready or not, preseason starts on Monday

The latest from Wine and Gold camp as Coach Beilein continues to install his system

Jake Kauffman
October 06, 2019 - 6:06 pm
iami Heat guard Dion Waiters (11) drives to the basket against Cleveland Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson (13) in the fourth quarter at Quicken Loans Arena.

© David Richard-USA TODAY Sports


Cleveland (92.3 The Fan) - John Beilein and the Cavaliers have practiced, scrimmaged, gone through film work, even drawn up plays and schemes on whiteboards and they get their first chance to show off what they've learned Monday night at RocketMortgage Fieldhouse against Buenos Aires Sanlorenzo from Argentina. 

The new head man in Wine and Gold knows there'll be some growing pains after throwing so much, so soon on his new team.

“New coaching staff, new people, we have a lot of volume and we had a really good scrimmage," said Beilein after wrapping up their final practice before their preseason tips off.  "You’re gonna have great practices and you’re gonna have ones that are good but not great so we’ve been going back and forth with a whole bunch of them. I wish I could say we’re ready to play tomorrow but we’ll find out where we are.”

Veteran big man Tristan Thompson says training camp has been going well under Beilein so he expects some of Coach's concepts to already take hold Monday at the Fieldhouse.

“Coach just wants us to be free, just play, react, so it’s not so much X’s and O’s, kinda just a feel for the game so go out there and just play," said Thompson. "Most of the guys have played with each other for a year so we’re comfortable with each other, we just have to play and read and react.”

Although Coach Beilein wants his Cavaliers to play free and easy, Thompson knows they'll have to buckle down and buy into assistant JC Bickerstaff's defensive schemes if they hope to have a successful season in Cleveland starting Monday night.

“I think it’s just the first game so our approach should be to put in our defensive principles, just build that foundation," said T.T. "The emphasis is not so much on the offense but more so defensively just because of how bad we were last year. JB’s been great, he’s a basketball mind, he’s been around. Bernie (his father) was around with Mike Brown. Right now, he’s keeping it very simple, which I agree with him. It’s been really basic, let’s master that, let’s build a foundation, start from the basement and move up.”

Despite the accelerated pace that they've installed the new team concepts, Beinlein has already seen flashes of the Wine and Gold executing effortlessly but knows that won't be the case all season long including in their preseason opener.

"We had a play in practice that we might have mentioned one time and you could see a pro making a play to another pro," said Beilein. "I didn’t need to coach it anymore and I had given it to them one time. I think what happens when you only have 5 days before your first game, you end up having slippage in really fundamental areas that you haven’t emphasized enough and you have turnovers and you have bad transition defense, things you’d like to rep out more to sure that they happen organically.”

Tipoff with Buenos Aires Sanlorenzo is Monday night at 6 pm from the RocketMortgage Fieldhouse.