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Phoenix vet David Griffin takes over Cleveland Cavaliers mess

The Cleveland Cavaliers found themselves in a giant mess so they fired their GM and replaced him with someone who "grew up" with the Phoenix Suns.

Griffin is the short one on the right.
Griffin is the short one on the right.
Barry Gossage

Make no mistake, today's announcement from Cleveland that David Griffin will replace Chris Grant as the GM of the Cavs on an interim basis doesn't change the fact that Griff is a Phoenix Sun. The man is a Phoenix native who graduated from Arizona State. He started with the Suns in 1993 as an intern in the media relations department and moved his way up the ranks to become the Vice President of Basketball Operations in 2007. He was Steve Kerr's number two and was a big part of that great 2009-2010 team.

Griffin left Phoenix when Kerr did after that season and ended up with as assistant GM with the Cavs and now he'll get his chance at the wheel.

Of course, it's not an enviable task given the shape that team is in. In Mike Brown he inherits a coach who's biggest achievements appeared to be giving the ball to LeBron James and staying out of the way. The roster is filled with young players who, except for Kyrie Irving, were probably drafted too high and he's got an owner in Dan Gilbert who isn't shy about throwing is weight around.

Still, Dave is a great basketball mind who like the Suns current GM, mixes analytics and the "eye test".  In years past I had great conversations with Griff about his process for scouting talent and recall vividly his passion for evaluating character and putting the right guys together in the locker room.

...David Griffin, told me last year after returning from the MIT Sloan Sports Geek-fest Conference that the Suns not only use advanced stats, but are a leader in the NBA in using advanced methods of psychological evaluation.

See, you can walk and chew gum at the same time. Or in this case, count things and understand people, too.

It's no accident that the Suns have good chemistry. They strive for it. They think about it. They understand and discuss players' personalities and pass on guys who are talented if they don't fit with the right mentality.

I have no idea who much influence Griffin had over the Cavs recent draft decisions but instinctively wouldn't think that a Dion Waiters would be his type of guy. I guess we'll see what happens next with the Cavs who on paper have the talent to make the playoffs in the weak East but are currently sitting in the 12th seed with a 16-33 record.

Will he have the freedom to fire a coach on big contract and move some of those players to fix what certainly seems like a dysfunctional roster?  For his sake, I hope so.

Anyway, best of luck to a true son of Phoenix.

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