The Sixers head into this offseason in search of a head coach for the first time since April 2013, and the organization needs to get it right as Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons enter the primes of their respective careers.
A few potential names have been tossed around in the early going, and one that has gained a bit of traction – for a number of reasons – is current Clippers assistant and former Cavs head coach Tyronn Lue.
Lue, who until now was solely known in Philadelphia as the victim of Allen Iverson’s stepover, is a expected to be the first “focus” of the Sixers’ coaching search, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, which means it’s time to start paying attention to what makes Lue tick.
In an appearance this week on JJ Redick’s podcast, Kevin Love discussed what makes Lue such a solid coach, and the particular skill that Love highlighted will probably resonate with Sixers fans’ current frustrations.
Here’s what Love had to say:
Ty Lue is great.
With Ty Lue, it was like, ‘Okay, we were an underachieving regular season team.’ But when it came time for the playoffs, he was like, ‘I got this.’ Everything he set up for us, he just had a brilliant mind for his schemes, and his Xs and Os, his ATOs, everything that he did. It just made more sense moving forward when it came to playoff time.
Hmm. An underachieving regular season? Could use a push in the playoffs? That sure sounds like a certain local basketball team we might know.
Something Brett Brown never quite figured out was how to get his team to take things up a notch in the playoffs, particularly this season, when they were swept by the Celtics. Ben Simmons’ injury handicapped the team in a major way, but Brown’s inability to wring a single win from his players was particularly discouraging, as were the repeated mistakes and lack of adjustments across the four-game series – the half-court struggles, the pick-and-roll defense, the list goes on and on.
NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Noah Levick took a look at Lue’s potential candidacy earlier this week:
There are quite a few positives on Lue’s resume. He took over as the Cavs’ head coach during the middle of the 2015-16 season and immediately helped the franchise win its first NBA title. He won Eastern Conference championships the next two seasons, as well, falling to the Warriors’ dynasty in the NBA Finals. Having an ultra-versatile basketball savant and one of the greatest players ever on your team in LeBron James doesn’t hurt, but Lue’s playoff success should give him an edge over many other potential candidates.
If Lue is the kind of coach who can maximize his players’ abilities in the postseason – which the Sixers were supposedly “built for”, before it became clear they were not – he should be near the top of the list.
And it helps to have a player like Love, who won a championship on a team that successfully blended disparate playing styles to win in the modern era, singing your praises.
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