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A story posted Sunday by ESPN’s Brian Windhorst shed some light on the relationship between Cavaliers star LeBron James and his latest coach, Tyronn Lue.
Perhaps the most telling paragraph:
Regardless of Lue’s game plans, strategy, in-game moves or whatever, his most important job is to connect with and have the respect of James. This is a central reason he’s in the job and David Blatt is no longer. If Lue can consistently reach James, he will have a better opportunity to work on the rest of it.
There’s a lot of things that have to align for the Cavs to win 16 playoff games. That mountain becomes more passable if Lue and James work together.
James does indeed seem to respond more positively to Lue than any coach he’s had at the professional level. That says something, as James had a fairly strong working relationship with Erik Spoelstra while with the Heat.
Also, Lue is not intimidated by James’ star power — but doesn’t go out of his way to show it. The coach is clearly not out to prove anything. Lue is generally laid-back with James (and the entire team), yet still manages to earn his players’ respect.
James appears to have picked it up a bit, getting into “playoff mode,” as the Cavs (55-22) move closer to securing the top seed in the Eastern Conference.
Some of that likely is the result of LeBron just being LeBron. He’s typically at his finest at this time of year.
But as Windhorst noted, some of that may be the result of the relationship between LeBron and Lue. Good things tend to happen when the star player views things in a similar manner as the coach.
We may be seeing that taking shape now with the Cavs.