As the Cavs open up their season this evening against the Toronto Raptors, a lot has been made about how many of the players will do without LeBron James. Besides for how the players will fare, it will be interesting to see how Tyronn Lue coaches. For Lue, this season is a great opportunity to show how good of a coach he can be.
The current roster has a good mix of veterans and youth. Lue’s relationship with older players like Kevin Love, George Hill and J.R. Smith will go a long way in seeing if the Cavs can make a playoff run. The development of younger players like rookie Collin Sexton, Cedi Osman and Ante Zizic can keep Lue’s detractors quiet as the Cavs embark on a less successful few seasons.
Interestingly, his current coaching situation may look a lot like his playing career. As a player, Lue was a journeyman point guard. He played with and against some of the best players of the previous basketball generation like Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant and Allen Iverson. However, his best seasons came when he played for teams that did not have a big superstar, rather a good team with the occasional All-Star. If that last line does not describe the 2018-2019 Cavs, I do not know a line that would.
After his playing career was over, the Boston Celtics hired Lue as director of basketball development. As mentioned earlier, developing players will be a large part of what this season is about for the Cavs. Without LeBron on the team, many players who had gotten minimal minutes in previous seasons will have the chance to play a lot more.
One final thought, success for this team will not show up in the standings. Many will say that it’s time to get rid of Lue. After a few losses, be prepared for the Twitterverse to start tweeting with the hashtag #FireLue. This line of thinking is very wrong. Our expectations as fans need to be different than the past few years. We need to be happy if we make it into the playoffs, but more importantly, we need to be happy with individualized improvement and growth from this team.
However this season goes down, it is going to be an interesting one.