The Lakers have zeroed in on Tyronn Lue as their (probable) next head coach, but not without recommendations from former executives Phil Jackson and Magic Johnson, as well as the tacit endorsement of LeBron James.
You can now count Kevin Love among the chorus of people giving Ty Lue their vote.
On “First Things First,” the Cavalier forward who played under Lue for almost three seasons expressed why he believes Lue would be a “great” coach for the Lakers.
“I love Ty Lue ... Definitely if he’s not their first pick, he should be right there at the top, because he’s an unbelievable X’s and O’s guy. A players’ coach, a guy that’s very approachable that you can talk to, and I think with the personnel that they have he would be great. As well as already feeling familiar and being familiar with LeBron, and not only having that friendship but being able to coach LeBron and get in his ear because Ty really knows the game, and he’s been around the game, been around Jordan. He’s been around those great Lakers teams (with) Shaq and Kobe. Been around Phil, been around Doc, a lot of great basketball minds. So I think the more time that Ty Lue has as a head coach, he’s only going to get better. He would be a great decision.”
Love is obviously indebted to Lue after Cavaliers won a title in 2015-16, but Lue also helped revitalize Love’s role in Cleveland after he was relatively marginalized on offense under David Blatt. Even after his minutes fluctuated in the 2016 NBA Finals following a concussion, Love rewarded Lue’s faith in him with one of the defining moments of the series, a stop on Stephen Curry in the final minute of Game 7.
The strategic adjustments Lue made during the playoffs are part of the reason Love highlighted his tactical ability as a head coach. Former players are often pigeon-holed as ‘players’ coaches’ because of their ability to manage relationships, something Rachel Nichols noted on “The Jump” Friday, but that moniker does a disservice to Lue’s understanding of the game and his knowledge of X’s and O’s.
As Love pointed out, Lue has developed his coaching bona fides having served as an assistant coach under great coaches like Phil Jackson and Doc Rivers, another former player universally regarded for his play design. Rivers joked last year that Lue stole all of his after-timeout plays and has tweaked them over the years with his own teams.
Love also believes Lue has the right personality to coach in Los Angeles, something that unfortunately can’t be overlooked given the spotlight that comes with this job.
“He’s an L.A. guy. It doesn’t always work well for people like that, but I think Ty Lue is a guy that is made to coach a team like L.A. and either inherit or take over a great team like we have, but also build a culture, build a team and know how to deal with each and every player as an individual.”
If and when Lue becomes the next head Lakers head coach, he will have immediate high expectations and be under a pressure cooker. It can’t hurt to have so many people in his corner believing that he will succeed.