Cavs coach Larry Drew won’t address future until after the season

Drew praises players for professionalism in handling rebuild this year

Daryl Ruiter
April 07, 2019 - 1:54 pm
Jan 23, 2019; Boston, MA, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Larry Drew reacts on the side line during the first half Boston Celtics at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

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Cleveland, OH (92.3 The Fan) – It is widely assumed that Larry Drew will not return to the Cavaliers next season, but he’s earned the right to stay if he wants to.

But for now, Drew has put any discussions about his future on hold.

“No, no, no discussion about my future,” Drew said prior to Sunday’s 112-90 loss to the San Antonio Spurs. “We decided to wait until the season’s completely over before we discuss that.”

The Cavs fell to 19-62 Sunday afternoon and although the season saw Cleveland start the campaign losing 11 of their first 12 games, have a 12-game losing streak and lose 20 of 22 games, a surge in the second half of the season has made year one of the rebuild in the post-LeBron era part II palatable.

After the All-Star break the Cavs won seven of 14 and despite losing their last nine, optimism is abundant, and Drew is a big reason for that.

If you ask Drew, the credit goes to his players.

“It hasn’t been easy, not at all,” Drew said. “Anytime you go through a situation where you’re going through a rebuilding process and understanding that in rebuilding there’s a strong possibility that you’re going to take some lumps and bruises and we definitely have done that yet we’ve been able to maintain a level of professionalism on and off the floor, in our locker room.”

In what has been a difficult year filled with injuries, losses and adversity, Drew believes that there has been a valuable lesson learned.

“You have to take the bitter with the sweet. You have to take the good with the bad,” Drew said. “It’s not always going to be the way you want it, but you have to learn how to deal with tough times. You have to learn to deal with rough times, you have to learn to deal with adversity, and those are the things that make you a stronger person.”

There has been very little sulking or grumbling within the locker room this season. The chaos that typically surrounds the organization has been absent under Drew. One of the reasons for that is that Drew has gone out of his way to make sure his players didn’t lose the joy of the game.

“A big part of my job is to make sure that they do stay upbeat,” Drew said. “I know when they go through tough periods how demanding that can be.”

During a recent practice Drew had players switch roles. The bigs played the guard positions and the guards had to go down low and play the roles of forwards and centers.

“You gotta sprinkle in there some things that make it fun,” Drew said. “It can’t always feel like work. Sometimes you have to do a few things that will kinda break the monotony of a long season and keep things interesting.”

The Cavs rebuild this season accomplished its primary objective Friday night with their 120-114 loss at Golden State that saw them shave a 21-point deficit to three in the closing minutes by securing a share of the best odds to win the NBA Draft Lottery.

The team has played hard night in and night out under Drew despite not having the roster they’ve had the previous four seasons capable of competing with anyone in the league.

“Our guys have done a phenomenal job of maintaining a level of professionalism and going out every night and playing hard,” Drew said. “We understand that we’re not going to play well every night but we’re going to play hard and our guys have done that.”

Cleveland will finish no worse than third in the standings and under the new lottery rules adopted this year, they share 14 percent odds with the New York Knicks and Phoenix Suns to nab to top pick for the fifth time since 2003.