Former Cavs coach praises Donovan Mitchell and current team, expects good things from them this season

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Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Former Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Byron Scott recently filled star guard Donovan Mitchell and the current iteration of the team with praise.

“I like their youth, I really do,” Scott told Brandon Robinson. “They got a bunch of young guys that just play extremely hard. You got a superstar with Donovan Mitchell, who can close games out. You got a guy you can give the ball to and say, ‘Hey, win it for us.’ He’s a legit superstar, so I think Cleveland is going to be good again this year.”

Scott, 62, coached the Cavaliers for three seasons, from the 2010-11 season through the 2012-13 season. Cleveland really struggled to win games with Scott as the head coach, however, as the Cavaliers went 64-166 in 230 regular-season games under him, which equates to a winning percentage of 27.8.

Admittedly, Scott didn’t have a whole lot of talent to work with when he was coaching the Cavaliers. The summer before Scott’s first season as head coach of the franchise, superstar forward LeBron James left the team in free agency to join the Miami Heat and team up with Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade.

Scott’s most successful season as head coach of the Cavaliers came during his second season with the team, the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season. Cleveland finished the regular season with a 21-45 record, the third-worst record in the Eastern Conference.

Before Scott joined the NBA’s coaching ranks, he enjoyed a very successful playing career in the league. He was selected with the No. 4 overall pick in the 1983 NBA Draft and played for three teams — the Los Angeles Lakers, Indiana Pacers and Vancouver Grizzlies — across his 14 seasons in the NBA.

Scott is best known for his time playing for the storied Lakers franchise, however, as he spent 11 of his 14 seasons with the team. Arguably his best season as a Laker came during the 1987-88 season, as he averaged a career-high 21.7 points per game to go along with 4.1 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game in 81 games played during the regular season (all starts).

The 1987-88 Lakers went on to win the NBA title, as they defeated the Detroit Pistons in seven games in the 1988 NBA Finals.

Here’s to hoping that Scott’s prediction about the Cavaliers being a good team this season will come to fruition. It’s likely it will, considering the Cavaliers are better on paper than they were a season ago.

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Jesse is a sports journalist with extensive experience covering the NBA. He has worked as a staff writer at SB Nation’s CelticsBlog and The Knicks Wall.