A plan for David Blatt

The Cavs' new coach is a master strategist, but buy-in from LeBron is crucial

Updated: July 19, 2014, 1:58 PM ET
By David Thorpe | ESPN Insider

David Blatt is the most qualified man in history to ever earn his first NBA head-coaching job.

It's an entirely fair assertion. Sure, lots of great college coaches become NBA head coaches, as do some NBA assistants who spend years honing their craft and learning the league before they are promoted to the top spot on the bench.

However, among rookie head coaches in 2014-15, Blatt stands alone. He has more than two decades of head-coaching experience in Israel, Russia and other overseas leagues. He's matched up with the world's top teams outside of the NBA -- in leagues boasting talent far better than any college team -- and won. When you've won as many league titles and tournament championships as Blatt has, it's clear he's a master at both game preparation and tactical operations, as well as game management.

Blatt probably is one of the top eight coaches in the world right now, a list headed by Gregg Popovich and one that includes one or two European coaches. And yet, all the credentials and compliments mean very little as Blatt takes over in Cleveland. In some ways, he was sitting in one of the hottest seats in the NBA the minute LeBron James announced his return to his hometown team. If it doesn't work with LeBron, it doesn't work.

So here are three things Blatt must do to keep his first coaching gig in the NBA.