Just three weeks after parting ways with Doc Rivers, the Los Angeles Clippers officially found their new head coach in Tyronn Lue.
Lue, who spent last season as an assistant under Rivers, recently agreed to a five-year deal to become the next head coach of the Clippers. According to The Athletic, the Clippers had a list of 10 candidates, and five of them were seriously considered. However, the Clippers ultimately decided to hire Lue because they considered him an elite tactician — someone who could use a carefully planned strategy to achieve a specific goal. Furthermore, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George were reportedly on board with Lue’s hiring.
That brings us to the question of whether the Clippers made the right decision by hiring Tyronn Lue. During his time as head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Lue coached two superstars in LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, plus another star in Kevin Love. Additionally, he managed to win an NBA title with a team filled with talent and large egos, which is similar to what the Clippers have right now.
One thing about Lue is that he’s not afraid to call out his players. For example, in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals, LeBron James committed several turnovers that resulted in scored baskets on the other end by the Golden State Warriors. During halftime, Lue confronted LeBron and told him he needs to play better. LeBron was reportedly furious with Lue, but he did take the advice. LeBron finished the game with 27 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists to lead the Cavs to their first NBA title.
That’s exactly the type of coach the Clippers need this upcoming season. Someone who isn’t afraid to call out their players. Someone who will bench their players if they’re playing bad. Someone who will motivate their players and keep them intact as a group.
The Clippers had several internal problems this past season. Several players, including Lou Williams, Montrezl Harrell and Patrick Beverley, were reportedly upset with the preferential treatment that Leonard received from the organization. Harrell and Williams claimed the story was fake, but there were numerous reports about their chemistry problems all season long. Some of that has to do with the injuries that plagued them throughout the regular season. They only played 11 games fully healthy in the regular season, which was most certainly a concern.
Nevertheless, now that the Clippers have Lue as their head coach, hopefully, all these locker room and chemistry problems can be fixed. As mentioned before, Lue has experience coaching a team filled with talent and big egos. And, hopefully, the Clippers learned the lesson that they cannot play inconsistently throughout the regular season and then flip the switch in the playoffs.
Also, one player who will very much benefit from Lue’s hiring is Kawhi Leonard. Lue isn’t afraid to call out his players, and that’s exactly the type of coach Leonard needs. Even though Leonard is one of the best basketball players in the world, he does make mistakes and needs to be called out when necessary and not be coddled too much.
When he was with the Toronto Raptors, Nick Nurse never necessarily called him out, but Phil Handy, Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka did. During his days with the San Antonio Spurs, Gregg Popovich would always call him out if he saw something that he didn’t like. That’s what makes Leonard a better basketball player. Leonard uses that as motivation, which ultimately pushes him to perform to his best abilities.
Considering that Kawhi Leonard and Paul George could potentially opt out after this upcoming season, this will be a championship-or-bust season for the Clippers. With that said, there will be a lot of pressure on Lue in leading the Clippers to an NBA title this upcoming season. However, given his proven track record with the Cavs, there’s no doubt Lue has what it takes to lead the Clippers to their first NBA title in franchise history.