Will Firing Tyron Lue fix the Cavs’ Problems?

Tyron Lue

Here’s why it will and why it will not

Whenever a team struggles on the court, the blame always goes to the coach. ALWAYS. But sometimes, firing your own head coach, who led your team to big wins and championships, doesn’t fix anything.
With the case of Tyronn Lue, coach of the LeBron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers, it’s likely that he will be the next NBA head coach to lose his job this season. Why?
Here’s why:
Instead of leading the Eastern Conference, the Cavaliers are currently in the 3rd spot with a 27-18 record. They are only half a game ahead of the Miami Heat. They have dropped 7 of their previous 10 games and things aren’t looking good for the Cavs as they are set to face the San Antonio Spurs.
Defensive problems have been visible in 5 of the last 6 games of the Cavs as they gave up a whopping 148 points against the Oklahoma City Thunder in front of their fans. And apparently, Tyronn Lue was to blame for those defensive lapses.
And apparently, the Cavs are not practicing more often than they should be- that is according to Isaiah Thomas who said that he can only get back into basketball shape if the Cavs are practicing.
So, if the Cavs are not practicing as frequent as they should be given their ongoing struggles, and none of Tyronn Lue’s defensive strategies seems to be producing more wins for Cleveland, will firing him fix things?

Yes

Assuming that the Cavs’ front office has grown tired of seeing Tyronn Lue’s seemingly puzzled face especially when the Cavs are trailing by a big margin, firing him MIGHT be a good move for Cleveland assuming that they will hire a more experienced head coach to replace him, it will help in terms of providing a new face at the helm which could also allow a fresher aura to enter the locker room. But again, that depends on who will replace Tyronn Lue and how will the players react.

Nope!

Regardless of who will replace Tyronn Lue if the problems are continuing to build up internally meaning the problems are caused by the players themselves, then firing Tyronn Lue will be useless because the internal problems will be left undealt with. Success won’t happen overnight and so does ending the Cavs’ struggles. The Cavs will need to make sure that Tyronn Lue’s coaching has been the source of their problems before they could terminate his contract because whether the Cavs will admit it or not, Tyronn Lue has done an amazing job of guiding the Cavs since taking over from David Blatt.Coach Kye has even guided the Cavs when they took down the empire of the Golden State Warriors in the Finals, 3-1.

Conclusion

Assuming that the Cavs pull the trigger on Tyronn Lue, who should they hire to replace him? The best choice would be David Fizdale who was fired by the Memphis Grizzlies earlier this season. Why him? He was one of Erik Spoelstra’s assistants when the Miami Heat had LeBron James so his familiarity with LeBron’s game can work the wonders for the Cavs. 
But at the end of the day, it will be all up to LeBron James himself. And to the Cavs’ front office, too. 

The Struggle is REAL for LeBron and the Cavs

Lebron James and Stephen Curry

LeBron admits this season is the hardest for him

When the Cleveland Cavaliers swapped Kyrie Irving for Isaiah Thomas who, at the time of the trade, was still recovering from the injury he sustained during the last playoffs, many people were worried that this deal would have a rippling effect to the success rate of the Cavs. Despite getting Derrick Rose who was also dealing with his own injury problems among other matters, and Dwayne Wade, the defending Eastern Conference Champions are not as dominant as they used to be during the previous 3 seasons despite LeBron James playing another MVP-worthy season.
The Cavs began the season inconsistently and right now, they are nowhere near the super team that they should be. Why? If they are, then they should be holding the best record in the Eastern Conference, to say the least. Instead, the Cavs are in the 3rd spot in the East with a 26-17 record- 7 games behind the East-leading Boston Celtics.
Recently, LeBron James, who is averaging 27 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.1 blocks in 43 games this season has finally admitted one thing that has been observed by many: the 2017-2018 season has been the hardest for LeBron. 

How bad is it? 

Since December 19, 2017, the Cleveland Cavaliers have gone 3-9 and are riding on a 4-game losing streak. The Cavs lost to the Golden State Warriors, twice, and to the Celtics of Kyrie Irving. But one of the ugliest defeats that the Cavs have to endure this season was the one against the Toronto Raptors, 133-99. That, by the way, was the most lopsided defeat that has been absorbed by the Cavs. It was so horrible that LeBron James was seen yelling at his teammates at the bench as if he was the coach. 

Conclusion

If the Cavs can’t figure things out before the playoffs, it will put Tyronn Lue’s coaching job in jeopardy and worse, it will almost secure LeBron James’ ticket out of Cleveland. However, we shouldn’t count the Cavs just yet because whether we like it or not, the Cavs are still seasoned for another Finals trip assuming the Cavs make it past the Celtics. And who knows? These struggles might benefit the Cavs in the long run. 

Wade’s Coming off the Bench Producing Good Results for the Cavs

Dwyane Wade only started 3 games this season. And he doesn’t mind at all

Despite being 35 years old, Dwyane Wade will always be one of the greatest shooting guards we have in this league right now. He has won 3 championships with LeBron James during their playing years with the Miami Heat. He took his talents to the Chicago Bulls that didn’t even produce a playoff appearance for the Bulls. 
Now that he’s back alongside his pal, the King, the Cleveland Cavaliers now have one of the most exciting dynamic duos we have seen these past few years. And by the way, after their early struggles to start off this season, the Cavs are now on a 12-game winning streak after beating the Chicago Bulls, 113-91. This current streak of the Cavs has enabled them to slowly catch up with the East-leading Boston Celtics as the Cavs now hold a 17-7 record which puts them in 2nd place in the Eastern Conference.
Now, what worked well for the Cavs this season so far? Aside from LeBron James’ unquestionable brilliance and dominance this season, the mere fact that Dwyane Wade is coming off the bench to provide the leadership when LeBron is resting has done wonders for the Cavs. With Derrick Rose still preparing for his return to the line-up and, Isaiah Thomas still recovering from his injury, that left Tyronn Lue without a choice but to start JR Smith alongside Jose Calderon in some games.
Dwyane Wade’s coming off the bench, as mentioned, has produced positive results for Cleveland and that was evident when Wade scored 24 points against Chicago- shooting 69% from the field while grabbing 6 rebounds in 26 minutes of action. Wade has averaged 11 points per game this season- one of the lowest in his 14-year career but we all know that Wade can still explode for 30+ points anytime.

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While we don’t know how long Dwyane Wade will be coming off the bench this season for the Cavs but if we look at this scenario: LeBron James and Kevin Love providing the spark early on while Wade providing the additional reinforcement off the bench, then there’s no way the Cavs cannot catch-up and overtake the Celtics in the standings.

Conclusion

If anything, we have to commend Dwyane Wade’s attitude towards coming off the bench because even though he’s a legitimate superstar, he embraces his new role for the Cavs with open arms. He can produce 30 points or more in a snap regardless if he’s a starter or not. One way or another, Wade’s contributions to the Cavs are big and that’s why they are winning at the moment.  

By the Numbers: Cavs Rout Pistons, Claim 5th Straight Win

That is despite a low-scoring game from LeBron James

LeBron James was one of the 6 Cavs who scored in double figures. 
After faltering, fading and suffering embarrassing losses during the early stages of the regular season, the Cleveland Cavaliers, the defending Eastern Conference Champions, are finally catching up and finally, gaining grounds as they are finally becoming the team that the rest of the East used to fear during the past 3 seasons: a legitimate super team.
The Cavs exploded for 36 points in the first quarter, scored 37 in the second quarter and never looked back as they beat the Detroit Pistons, 116-88 to extend their winning streak to 5 games.
So what worked well for the Cavs? Let’s check the numbers below:

The Cavs’ Impressive Start

As they say in basketball, when you start the game great, the greater chance you will win the game. And that was one of the things that enabled Cleveland to nab their 5th consecutive win. In fact, 16 of the 36 points that the Cavs scored in the first quarter against the Pistons came from none other than LeBron James. And Tyronn Lue’s boys didn’t stop there as they scored 37 points in the next quarter. Impressive, isn’t it?

Balanced Scoring: 6 Cavs in Double Figures

  • Kevin Love: 19 points
  • Jae Crowder: 18 points
  • LeBron James: 18 points
  • Jose Calderon: 14 points
  • Channing Frye: 11 points
  • Jeff Green: 10 points

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In a game where no one from either squad scored above 20 points, balanced scoring proved to be the difference as LeBron James, after scoring 16 in the first quarter alone, ended the night by scoring 2 points the rest of the game, finishing with 18 points. But he didn’t have to carry the load alone, Kevin Love and Jae Crowder chipped in with 19 and 18 respectively but what proved to be another difference in the game was the fact that Tyronn Lue started Jose Calderon who scored 14 points in just 24 minutes of action.  

Conclusion

If anything, this is exactly the Cleveland Cavaliers that we’ve been searching for. Mind you, folks. Iman Shumpert is out. So is Derrick Rose. And don’t forget about Isaiah Thomas. If the Cavs can win without the guys that are mentioned, guys who are shooters and one former league MVP, then the Cavs are actually undermanned, to begin with. And they are fine with it. So far. 

A Wheeler’s Opinion: Isaiah Thomas could Rescue Fading Cavs(?)

Given the Cavs’ struggles, they will need all  the help they can get

Isaiah Thomas Cleveland Cavaliers
Could Thomas help improve the Cavs’ situation?

The last time we all saw Isaiah Thomas play in an actual NBA game, it was during last season’s playoffs while still playing for the Boston Celtics in a season that saw Thomas emerged as one of the prominent scorers in the league, especially during clutch situations.
In fact, many pundits were saying that had Thomas was not injured during the latter part of the 2016-2017 season which sidelined him eventually during the Eastern Conference Finals, the Celtics would have at least, challenged the supremacy of the eventual, Eastern Conference champions, Cleveland Cavaliers.
Fast forward to the 2017-2018 season. The Cavs granted the trade demand of Kyrie Irving and sent him to the Celtics in exchange for Thomas plus other reliable players. While the Cavs knew that trading for Thomas would mean that the team will wait until IT has fully recovered from his injury, they went on with the trade anyway.
Having Kyrie Irving leading Boston has proved that the Celtics are the true winner of the trade as they are currently sitting atop the East, thanks to their ongoing 9-game winning streak. The Cavs, on the other hand, despite signing Dwayne Wade and Derrick Rose during the offseason, are nowhere near the Top 8 in the East, thanks to their 4-6 record, good for 12th place.
Given the observations by Coach Tyronn Lue and the members of the Cavs’ medical staff, Isaiah Thomas might be returning earlier than what was originally predicted which is January of 2018. In fact, Assistant Coach Phil Handy handled Thomas’ workout earlier this week and had nothing but praises towards IT.
Here’s the question, folks, will Isaiah Thomas improve the situation in Cleveland?

Definitely

Assuming that Isaiah Thomas returns soon and has no more whatsoever effects of his injury, he will provide the much-needed reinforcement to LeBron James who has been leading the team in scoring with his 28 points per game. Also, having IT on the court will ease off the pressure from Rose who is also dealing with tons of injuries. But the most important thing here, Isaiah Thomas can help the Cavs, especially in clutch situations because in their latest defeat, an embarrassing 117-115 loss at the hands of the Atlanta Hawks, the Cavs have multiple chances to tie the game at the end and yet, they faltered. 

Nope

Let’s face it, folks. Once a player gets injured, most of the time, that player won’t be the same aggressive player that he was once before the injury as we saw in Derrick Rose for example. While we have yet to see Isaiah Thomas play this season, there’s a high chance that he’ll still feel some soreness and that will slow him down and eventually, the entire Cleveland squad. 

Conclusion

Given the miserable situation in Cleveland, it will not be a  surprise if Tyronn Lue gets tempted to rush Isaiah Thomas’ return.  While IT has the capability to explode for 30 points in a snap, as we saw last season, it all depends on how well he is feeling come his debut for the Cavs. But one thing is certain, the Cavs will need all the help they can get or Tyronn Lue might lose his coaching job. Or worse, LeBron might leave for LA, sooner than predicted. 

By the Numbers: 3 Things that Failed the Cavs Against Indiana

And because of these things, the Cavs endured their 4th consecutive loss

The Pacers outscored the Cavs, 32-22 in the 4th quarter to come out with the win.

The defending Eastern Conference champions reloaded themselves during the busy off-season, bringing in Dwayne Wade back alongside LeBron and getting Isaiah Thomas and a bunch of role players from Boston in a deal that sent Kyrie Irving to the Celtics. 
While those deals made the Cleveland Cavaliers, a much-stronger-on-paper “super team” which, according to their fans, can finally match-up well against the Golden State Warriors- should both teams meet again in the NBA Finals.
Now, let’s not get ahead of ourselves and stay in the course of the regular season, for now. 
8 games into the new season, the Cavaliers are now 3-5, the same record that LeBron James has in his 8 trips to the Finals. 
After starting the season with a win over the Celtics which was followed by another victory against the Bucks, the Cavs went 1-5 since then, including 4 straight losses, the last one from the hands of the Indiana Pacers who are by the way, playing well despite being without a consistent center or a superstar after trading away long-time star player, Paul George to the Oklahoma City Thunder during the early months of the 2018-2018 off-season.
So what happened to the Cavs against the Pacers? Below are the numbers:

22% Shooting from Deep

Let’s start with the worst one. To begin with, the Cavs are shooting 34% from long distance during the course of those 8 games- placing them tied for the 19th spot in that category. Against the Pacers however, LeBron James and company only made 7 OUT OF 31 ATTEMPTS from the 3-point line- that’s 22% 3-point field goal shooting, folks. And yet they allowed Indiana to hit 16 of their 26 attempts from that area. You see the difference? It was a huge difference. 
Need any more? Here are the players who miserably struggled from outside:
  • Kevin Love: 2 of 6
  • LeBron James: 1 of 5
  • JR Smith: 2 of 6
  • Jae Crowder: 0 of 5
  • Kyle Korver: 1 of 5

8 Turnovers for The King

While there’s no doubt in everyone’s mind, or at the very least, in the minds of his fans, that LeBron James is on a course to win another MVP this season. But, how can you even win a basketball game if you are careless with the ball? Despite his 33 points, 6 rebounds and 11 assists against the Pacers, one of the many things that haunted LeBron and eventually the Cavs, was his 8 turnovers- that’s half of the turnovers Cavs had during the entire game. 

Lack of Intensity from the Starters

If your starters are struggling, then pray that your bench steps up. In this case, the bench of Tyronn Lue outscored the bench players of Indiana, 34-18. The problem was: the Cavs’ starters failed to match the intensity and consistency of the Pacers’ first five as the latter outscored the former, 106-73. Indiana could have beaten the Cavs by relying on their starters alone but fortunately, they had little help from off the bench. 

Conclusion

Maybe the Cavs are dealing with many things nowadays, LeBron’s impending departure, Derrick Rose’s injury, Dwayne Wade coming off the bench, possible chemistry issue. You name it. Maybe having too many superstars have finally caught on the Cavs. Maybe it’s affecting their chemistry to begin with. Maybe. Maybe. Maybe. If they don’t sort things out by themselves, then they won’t be making it back to the Finals this season. Just maybe. 

Cavs Coach Lue Scouting Former NBA Player McCants

Image result for rashad mccants trilogy 2017

Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue was allegedly at the BIG 3 Championship scouting out talent Rashad McCants.
McCants was a first round pick back in 2005 when the Timberwolves selected him fourteenth overall.
On April 30, 2017, McCants was selected as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 BIG3 Draft by Trilogy (basketball). On August 26, 2017, Trilogy won the first-ever Big3 League Championship. McCants had 22 points on 55% shooting and was named Championship MVP.
McCants is free agent and can add depth to Cleveland Cavaliers bench.