John Beilein has been having some growing pains as an NBA coach. For years, Beilein was an NCAA coach who pulled off quite a bit of success. The NCAA and NBA are two completely different leagues and Beilein has learned that the hard way. The Cleveland Cavaliers are near the bottom of the Eastern Conference and are struggling to string wins together. Beilein has received a ton of criticism for his coaching and yesterday, he found himself in a strange predicament.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski, Beilein told his players that they weren’t playing “like a bunch of thugs” anymore. Cavs players were reportedly shocked by his comments which led to a stern talking-to from his coaching staff. Beilein recently apologized for the faux-pas and said he meant to say “slugs.”
“I didn’t realize I had said the word ‘thugs’ but my staff told me later I did and so I must have said it. I meant to say slugs, as in slow moving,” Beilein said. “We weren’t playing hard before…now we were playing harder. That’s what I was trying to say. I meant it as a compliment.”
Beilein’s explanation appears to be quite convenient and based on the reactions to Woj’s story, not many people are buying it. At the end of the day, all that matters is how his players feel about him. It will be interesting to see how the team responds to him in the following days.