The argument was made by some that after the acquisitions of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George the Los Angeles Clippers had the better roster out of the two LA teams. At least that was the talks around NBA circles to begin the season pre-covid.
However, the Lakers are your 2020 Champions and they didn’t even have to worry about their hallway rivals, because the “better team” failed to close out the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Semifinals. This started talks of potential change. With a beaming light on Doc Rivers who hadn’t gotten the franchise to the conference finals, let alone the NBA finals.
Now with Rivers gone, it was time for the organization to find a new leader to guide this ship. Insert Ty Lue. Whom owner Steve Ballmer believes is the perfect fit for the role of head coach.
“While there were a lot of great coaches, we had to get the best of the best,” Ballmer said. “The best of the best was Ty Lue.”
President of Basketball Operations Lawrence Frank would echo those sentiments and added that he loves Lue’s feel for the game. In addition, he has the resume and the X’s and O’s to lead this team to where they just witnessed their rivals accomplished this season. Hoisting the championship trophy.
“Ty has been where we want to go,” he said. “He’s taken a supremely talented team, who was faced with challenges to the peak of the NBA.”
Without question, Lue was going to be one of the leagues most sought after prospects as a head coach. Yet, he felt good about stepping into the role as the Clippers head coach. In addition, says that it was the Clippers that chose him and not he choosing the clippers.
“It feels good to be wanted,” he said. “I’m happy and excited because they took a chance on me in giving me the opportunity to be here.”
Lue is in an interesting position as head coach. He’s always had great pressure on him since he’s become a head coach in the league. Before his tenure in Cleveland with the Cavaliers, he was on the staff of Rivers in Boston and Los Angeles. In addition, not only inherits but is now being asked to finish the job that his mentor started with the Clippers. Something that’s been tough for Lue to think about.
“It’s been tough,” Lue said. “Doc’s been my mentor since I’ve been in the league and coaching and he gave me my first opportunity. Without Doc I wouldn’t be in the position that I am today,” Lue continued. “It’s a tough loss for all of us.”
However, the pressure didn’t just begin with him now being the coach of the Clippers. He took a Cleveland team to the finals and coached the team to their first NBA title. He’s just now being looked to do it again. This time in LA. Yet, the pressure is something that Lue isn’t worried about.
“If you don’t have pressure, you don’t have a chance of winning the championship,” Lue stated. “When you have pressure, that means you’re in a situation to win. I want to be one of the great coaches and I want to be great,” he continued. “In order to do that you have to win.”
The pressure will not stop at the doorstep of Lue alone. It will also be at the feet of Leonard and George. Your two stars who you essentially mortgaged your future for in hopes of winning a title. Lue stated that he believes that health or the lack thereof was a huge reason why the team had trouble being cohesive on the floor. In addition, isn’t going to ask anything different out of his two-way dynamos. All he asks is for them to set the tone on defense.
“They’re going to have to adjust to my system and program,” stated Lue. “But I also have to be able to adjust to them and their comfort zone and what makes them better.”
There probably won’t be much adjusting due to the fact that Lue was here just last season. However, you’d feel that maybe your two cornerstones could be more vocal as leaders of the team. Lue doesn’t feel that the onus falls directly on them. In addition, feels the leadership can be a collective effort.
“Leadership is different,” said Lue. “You’re not going to have the best players be your natural leaders. I think a lot of leadership is going to have to come from me,” added Lue. “I think it’ll also come from Kawhi, PG, Lou and Pat Beverley. It’s going to be a collective.”
The organization feels confident in who their selection is in their decision as head coach. This is a guy who has a championship as the guy drawing up plays. In addition, he’s learned from great coaches and played with some of the NBA’s best. However, it’s now time to try and bring a title home to Los Angeles. This time the Clippers. Lue believes that he can bring that success.
“I know what it looks like, I know what it takes,” Lou said. “I’m excited because the roster is unbelievable. To have a chance and an opportunity to coach a team like the Clippers, I love the roster, I love the team and I love what they stand for as an organization.