THE NEMACOLIN RESORT tucked away in the hills of southern Pennsylvania, a high-end property with a castle hotel, two golf courses, and a modern spa with everything from men’s facials to intravenous nutrient infusions.
In September, the Cleveland Cavaliers coaching staff signed up for a stay and enjoyed absolutely nothing.
For days, the group, led by coach JB Bickerstaff, was locked in a conference room watching a movie, studying analysis and working through meals.
“It’s a really nice place,” says Bickerstaff. “But mainly we work.”
Preseason coaching retirements are common in the NBA, but the mission the Cavs had for that trip was not. In a league that has been on a decade-long march to get smaller and faster, the Cavs were thinking about how they were going to grow.
Larger, in fact, than anything the NBA has seen in a generation.
And so what began inside a hotel conference room about 70 miles south of Pittsburgh has thrown a procession of teams through a league that has fallen in love with small ball off balance.
Using a starting lineup of three 7-footers and reinstating a former All-Star player, the Cavs have made their way into Eastern Conference contention. And doing so has not only turned the fortunes around for a franchise not long ago predicted to continue its basement East residency, it also served as a resurrection that could disrupt the construction of the NBA roster.