Well, That Was Quick
You Heard It Here Last
After stumbling out of the gate to an 0-6 start, the Cleveland Cavaliers decided to fire coach Tyronn Lue. After getting the boot just six games in, Lue is tied for second place on the all-time “quickest” NBA coach firings.
This is the same Tyronn Lue who led the Cavs to a championship in 2016 and then back to the finals in the two years since.
Lue had the second highest winning percentage among active coaches over the same span and honestly had his team not run into a near-unbeatable Golden State the last two years, they’d likely have at least one more championship banner hanging in their raftors.
Anyone who is not familiar with this situation would likely attribute all of Lue’s success as a head coach to the fact that he was lucky enough to coach LeBron. However, I think he deserves more credit than that.
He took a highly criticized 2015/2016 team and led them not only to the finals, but to an impossible comeback after being down 3-1 in the series.
When you have LeBron on your team, the temptation is to play him as much as possible, night in and night out.
This was likely amplified given the fact that Cleveland had done a terrible job managing their roster and salaries and they had a significant lack of depth for most of Lue’s tenure.
Lue did not give in to this temptation and instead made sure his starters saw plenty of rest throughout the season. This was met with with scrutiny, particularly when the Cavs would lose close games.
But having a healthy and well-rested team seemed to pay off brilliantly every year in the playoffs, especially given the fact that they had dealt with several injuries in the season prior to Lue’s promotion.
The most surprising thing to come out of Lue’s firing is what Cavs’ management thought of the whole situation.
They had hoped he could lead the team back to the playoffs and felt the team had significantly underperformed thus far in the season.
After losing LeBron, I think Gregg Popovich is about the only coach who could have taken the Cavaliers to the playoffs.
And even he would struggle mightily to pull that off.
Tyler Dean is a senior studying finance and math.