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J.B. Bickerstaff dusts off pressure as Cavs head to an urgent 23/24 season

Photo: Cleveland Cavaliers/Twitter

J.B. Bickerstaff isn’t sweating about his current tenure as he continues to be the head coach for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

In an interview with Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Bickerstaff dismissed the idea of feeling pressure in his position moving forward after the Cavs failed to live up to expectations last 2022-23 season.

“Pressure from what? I think the funny thing for us coaches when it comes to pressure is you want to have a good team and you want expectations. If you have a team with no expectations, as a coach, competitor, and player, that is ultimately not the job you’re looking for. The word pressure is kind of comical, to be honest with you, because you have a good team and that’s what you want,” he said.

“… Pressure isn’t a word that coaches really think about because it’s our job to continue to get better. I think we have done that here. From where we started with this team to where we are now, there is no way to say we haven’t done the job building this the right way. Look at the environment. Look at individual development. Look at team development. There are no holes. Our job is to continue to do what we’ve already done but also continue to get better. That’s what we want.”

The Cavaliers underachieved last season after amassing hype and anticipation upon acquiring All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell in a blockbuster trade. Amid posting the fourth-best regular season record in the East at 51-31, the club suffered at the hands of the less-favored New York Knicks in their five-game, first-round encounter.

Following the elimination, murmurs swirled around Bickerstaff’s ability and capacity to handle the promising squad. The last postseason is just his second appearance at the playoff stage for his entire coaching career.

Back in 2021, team president Koby Altman handed Bickerstaff a multi-year extension that locked the 44-year-old mentor at their side through the 2026-27 season.

Bickerstaff started his time in Cleveland as an assistant back in 2019-20. He immediately filled the team’s head coaching mantle after John Beilein filed his resignation in the middle of the said season.

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