Tyronn Lue was introduced as the Cleveland Cavaliers' new head coach at a press conference Saturday morning, and the 38-year-old former NBA role player didn't waste any time laying out his vision for the defending Eastern Conference champions.
Despite leading the East, the Cavs announced Friday that David Blatt had been relieved of his head coaching duties in favor of Lue.
On the heels of that decision, Lue said it was a positive step in his coaching career, according to Chris Haynes of the Plain Dealer:
Tyronn Lue said he got 716 text messages. "It was a good day for me, but a bad day for Blatt."— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) January 23, 2016
The Cavaliers were 83-40 in one-and-a-half seasons under Blatt, and they made a trip to the NBA Finals last year, but there were persistent questions about whether he was the right man for the job.
Lue, who has been part of the Cavs staff since 2014 and an NBA assistant coach since 2009, said he has what it takes to improve on what Blatt did during his time in Cleveland, per ESPN.com's Dave McMenamin:
Tyronn Lue on what he'll do differently than Blatt: "I wouldn't say 'differently,' I would say 'better.'"— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) January 23, 2016
The 1998 first-round pick offered some examples of how he intends to do that:
Tyronn Lue says he will use Kevin Love on elbow more and get him more post touches. But he stressed to Love that sacrificing is still key.— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) January 23, 2016
In addition, Lue said he'd use more of the Cavs' bench, according to Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal:
Lue said he wants to use 10-man rotation, bring Mo Williams back into rotation— Jason Lloyd (@JasonLloydABJ) January 23, 2016
One of the primary complaints about Blatt from outsiders was the notion that the inmates ran the asylum, with stars like LeBron James and Kyrie Irving not being brought to task when needed. If Lue is able to better incorporate players like Kevin Love and Mo Williams, that could help balance the team.
James, the four-time NBA MVP, brushed off the idea that he in some way spearheaded Blatt's departure—which Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski reported Friday—per Haynes:
LeBron James on people thinking he influenced Blatt's ouster: "I can't get caught up in worrying about what other people think."— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) January 23, 2016
James also said he did not expect a coaching change:
LeBron James says he was surprised and caught off guard with the news of David Blatt's firing. Said it was unfortunate.— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) January 23, 2016
Standing up to a player the caliber of James can't be easy, but James said Saturday he intends to get in line behind Lue, per WKYC Sports:
Every indication is the rest of the Cavaliers feel the same way as James does about Lue's leadership, according to Haynes:
Tyronn Lue came off confident, transparent and authentic. He has full support of locker room. We'll see how it plays out.— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) January 23, 2016
Because of the talent on its roster, Cleveland would have been favored to represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals even if Blatt had been retained.
Cleveland will almost certainly be a heavy underdog if it encounters either of those teams come season's end, but with the players seemingly more willing to accept Lue as a leader than they did Blatt, a change at the top may have been just what the organization needed to take another step toward a championship.
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