Tyronn Lue is known as one of the best coaches in the NBA, and in 2016, he checked a huge box by leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to an NBA title.
Of course, that was a special year for the organization. LeBron James delivered on his promise to bring a championship to Cleveland, as he helped the Cavs overcome a 3-1 deficit in the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors.
Today, James is with the Los Angeles Lakers. He has already added another title to his resume since leaving the Cavs in 2018, as he helped the Lakers win it all in 2020.
Lue, meanwhile, is also in L.A. these days, but not with the Lakers. He’s in his third season as head coach of the Los Angeles Clippers.
Former Cavs big man Kendrick Perkins believes Lue is motivated to prove that he can coach a team to a title without having James around.
"You know the great thing about Ty Lue: He still has a chip on his shoulder… Ty Lue wants to win a championship without LeBron to show how great he actually is."
— 𝐓𝐚𝐥𝐤𝐢𝐧' 𝐍𝐁𝐀 (@_Talkin_NBA) November 30, 2022
The Clippers haven’t been at full strength for much of this season, but Lue still has the team playing well. Going into Wednesday’s game against the Utah Jazz, the Clippers are 13-9 on the season.
Lue found a way to get the most out of his squad last season as well. Despite Kawhi Leonard missing the whole season and Paul George appearing in just 31 games, the Clippers finished the 2021-22 campaign with a winning record.
This season, health is going to be key for the Clippers if they want to challenge for the title. Leonard’s availability has been a major storyline, as he’s only played in five out of a possible 22 games so far in the campaign.
But if Leonard and George are healthy and playing well when the postseason arrives, the Clippers are going to be an extremely tough out in the Western Conference. The team has an impressive supporting cast around its stars, and if the dominoes fall L.A.’s way, this could be a special season for the squad.
Regardless of whether Lue truly does feel like he needs to win a title without James, he’s certainly going to do everything in his power to lead the Clippers to the promised land this season.