One of Tyronn Lue's first tasks as head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers will be to install a more uptempo offense, defying statistics that indicate the team enjoys more success at a slower pace.
Cleveland was 23-5 this season under former head coach David Blatt when possessing the ball 90-99 times and 3-7 when possessing the ball 100 times or more, according to ESPN Stats & Info (h/t Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com).
Cavs superstar LeBron James said he's on board with Lue's decisions.
"This is what Coach wants to do, and this is what we're going to do," James said, per McMenamin. "This isn't a LeBron thing. I'm talking out of IQ of the game, but this is what Coach wants to do, so this is what we're going to do."
A look at the numbers reveals Cleveland is making the most of its transition possessions:
|Cleveland Cavaliers Transition Offense|
|Points Per Possession||1.19||1st|
|Effective Field-Goal Percentage||64.9%||2nd|
The Cavs could benefit from a faster-pace offense. They top the league in points per play in transition but average only 13.1 transitions per game, which ranks 17th, per ESPN Stats & Info (h/t McMenamin). James is connecting on 71 percent of his shots in transition, which is also No. 1 in the league.
Yet James has only twice played on a team ranked in the top half of the league in pace. During his rookie season in Cleveland, the Cavs were 13th in pace, and in his second season with the Miami Heat, they were 15th.
"One thing since I was a kid, I love to run the floor," James said. "And, it's funny, I always talk to RJ [Richard Jefferson], I say I should've been a West Coast player growing up, because they run the floor on the West Coast, and on the East Coast we dribble the ball and things of that nature."
James noted he needs to be in better shape for the offensive shift, per Fox Sports Ohio:
Blatt was fired Friday in a move reportedly made at James' discretion, per Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski.
Blatt led Cleveland to the NBA Finals in 2015, his first year, and the team owned the Eastern Conference's best record when he was let go. But his relationship with the superstar was unorthodox. Per NBA.com's Steve Aschburner, former Cavalier Brendan Haywood said on Sirius XM's NBA Today that Blatt "was very hesitant to challenge [James]" and that such apprehension led to his firing.
Cleveland wanted a new head coach, and with Lue already making alterations, perhaps the Cavs can find an identity that will help them contend against whichever Western Conference giant reaches the NBA Finals.