Latest posts by Colton Jones (see all)
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Tyronn Lue realizes things are going to be quite a bit different for him and the Cleveland Cavaliers going forward.
LeBron James is gone, for a second time, and with him went the Cavaliers’ chances of reaching the Finals for a fifth consecutive time.
However, facing the daunting task of being an NBA head coach for the first time without James as the focal point is not something Lue fears.
Instead, it’s a challenge the 41-year-old embraces.
“I’m a competitor,” Lue told Joe Vardon of cleveland.com in Las Vegas, before the Cavaliers took on the Chicago Bulls their second Summer League game. “It’s a new challenge. Only coaching 2 1/2 years, having a veteran team for those three years pretty much, and now having a young team, now I have to teach more, more practices. More attention to detail. I think you can mold these guys into who you want them to be.”
Lue certainly faced plenty of challenges last season, including some serious ones not attached to basketball. He suffered personal health issues spurred by anxiety that forced him to step away from the team for two full weeks of games. Dealing with the daily tumult of coaching a team with James at the fore, two roster makeovers and a plethora of injuries all combined to exacerbate his situation.
Lue said the news James was leaving Cleveland for Los Angeles was “hard to swallow.” He said during a conversation with the four-time MVP, he thanked James for “everything he’s done for me.
“Making me a championship coach, understanding what it takes, the hard work we’ve got to put in every day,” he said.
Lue intends to install a different offensive system when training camp opens in September, with the intent of playing through their only remaining All-Star, Kevin Love. It’s expected the system will require more players to do more things, such as passing, cutting, screening, etc.
With James the obvious focal point, that type of system would not have worked as the Cavaliers’ had a roster full of specialist-type players who could play alongside James.
“He’s the best player in the world,” Lue said. “When you have a player like that you have to tailor your offense, tailor the things you do around him. To make sure he’s at his best. I think this year, seeing him, people say it’s arguably the best year of his career in his 15th season, so we tried to make sure we put him in the right spots on the floor, had the right surrounding pieces around him.
“We’re going to have to manufacture points and assists other ways, which, by the offense I plan on running and doing, we’re going to be able to do some of that.”