Tyronn Lue’s Clippers challenge is all about ‘chemistry’
The talent is there. Getting it to work together is Tyronn Lue’s biggest challenge.
Lue officially took over as Clippers coach on Wednesday after Doc Rivers was let go following a 3-1 collapse against the Nuggets in the Western Conference semifinals.
“We’re talking about chemistry and continuity, and it’s not more so off the court and guys not liking each other,” Lue, who was an assistant coach under Rivers, told reporters Wednesday. “It was hard to get continuity and chemistry throughout the season because we didn’t have a lot of practice time for our starting unit or our whole team for a large part of the season.
“When we talk about chemistry and continuity, it’s more so on the basketball court of just being familiar with guys.”
In the aftermath of the NBA bubble playoff debacle, players publicly stressed that was an issue.
Guard Lou Williams said “talent bailed us out” and two-time NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard specifically stated they needed to “build some chemistry.”
“It’s no secret we have had a difficult month,” Clippers president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank said. “We lost a series we were in position to win. We said goodbye to a coach we all greatly admire. We all take responsibility for what took place and have been working hard toward making the necessary improvements.
“The first step was finding the best head coach to lead us forward and grow with our group.”
Perhaps more concerning is what the players did not say publicly. Stories leaked out about frustration with the two star players — Leonard and Paul George. Some questioned George’s leadership as he struggled throughout the postseason. Clippers veterans were also reportedly annoyed with the preferential treatment Leonard received between his load management games off and frequent tardiness they attributed to him living in San Diego.
“It’s something that I have to talk to with the medical staff and performance team,” Lue said when asked specifically about the load management after Leonard played in 57 of the Clippers’ 72 games last season.
“I can’t answer that question right now, but the most important thing is the health of our players.”
This is Lue’s second time as a head coach and this situation is somewhat similar to the first. When the Cavaliers fired head coach David Blatt midway through the 2015-16 season, Lue proved he could lead a group that consisted of LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love that overcame a 3-1 series deficit to the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals.
Lue was fired following an 0-6 start to the 2018-19 season — after James left for the Lakers — but spent the past two years preparing for this next opportunity. He reportedly consulted his mentors, watched endless film and designed new plays. Per USA Today, Lue even improved his sleeping patterns and diet to lose 35 pounds.
“I’m big on pressure because if you don’t have pressure that doesn’t mean you have a chance of winning the championship,” Lue said. “When you talk about pressure, that means you’re in a situation to win. That’s what I want to do. I want to be one of the greatest coaches.”
Source : Mollie Walker Link