I caught up with ex-Cavalier Donyell Marshall yesterday, who in July, was named to the George Washington University Men's Basketball staff. We talked about his time with the Cavaliers during that '07 Finals run, his thoughts on playing for Mike Brown, as well as his coaching career set to get underway this season with GW. Our conversation is below.
Stepien Rules: A few years ago in that run the Cavaliers team had, you made six threes in that game six of the EC semis and that team ended up going to the NBA Finals. Can you talk a little bit about that team, and that run that season?
Donyell Marshall: That team was a team that was unified, we fought hard for each other. If you look at the regular season we were in the top-10 in defense in the NBA, and in the playoffs we were the number one defensive team in the NBA. You know, its amazing how a lot of people feel that we were lucky to get to the championship. They sit up here and say 'look at the teams we played.' The last time I recalled, you tried to position yourself to get the easiest schedule to get to the championship [laughs]. That's why teams try to get the number one seed, and it's not our fault that we played everybody who was put in front of us and we beat them. Unfortunately, when we played San Antonio they were probably just more experienced and knew what to do when it came championship time.
I think that people don't give that team enough respect, especially in the Cleveland area. I think when you look at it, we were the only team from that area to ever make it to the championship. Whether you thought we were the best Cleveland team or not, really doesn't matter, but what matters is we're still the only team to ever let you experience that. And I think that you don't give enough credit.
These last couple teams, yes they won sixty games, or sixty something games, so yeah they might have been the best regular season team, but we were the best postseason team.
What do you think that '07 team had that these past couple teams didn't have?