Lakers' coaching search now focused on Ty Lue, but does he make sense for anyone but LeBron James?
From a style standpoint, what would this mean for Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram?
With the news that the Phoenix Suns , the path appears to have cleared for the Lakers to soon make Ty Lue their next coach. The Lakers, of course, interviewed, and have been considering, both Williams and Lue, but league sources who've spoken with CBS Sports believe Lue had become the Lakers' priority even before Williams landed with the Suns. Either way, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Lue to the Lakers is looking like a good bet.
The Lakers' interest in Lue obviously begins with LeBron James. They went to three straight NBA Finals together in Cleveland. They won the 2016 championship. Bottom line, LeBron likes Lue, he respects him, and right now, a happy and motivated LeBron is more important than anything else this team can do to get on the right track.
Beyond the LeBron connection and endorsement, if this does happen, you have to wonder about the fit between's Lue's style and the rest of the roster. Pretty simply, Lue employs a style that caters to LeBron. Not that that's a bad thing. He's LeBron. You could argue the Lakers should've committed a bit more to that last season, not just from a style standpoint but in terms of the way they built their roster.
Traditionally, LeBron's teams have been at their best when he has the ball at the top with three or even four shooters around him to space the floor. He's still the best passer in the world, and arguably the best penetrator too, and when you have to decide between helping down off shooters or letting LeBron go one on one to the hole, you're in an impossible dilemma. Lue basically leveraged that dilemma for three years in Cleveland. It was all he and the Cavs needed in the Eastern Conference.
"All about LeBron is what's comfortable for Lue," a Western Conference scout told CBS Sports.
But the Lakers don't currently have a roster particularly suited to supporting LeBron. They have old guys who can't shoot and young guys who want to run and play free and open. Would Lue and LeBron bend to the young guys a little bit? Would guys like Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram be forced into uncomfortable positions as half secondary playmakers and half spot-up shooters?
"I love Lue," a league assistant coach told CBS Sports. "But we've never really seen his style outside of LeBron."
You sensing a theme here? The Lakers, if they hire Lue, are going to be all about LeBron. Which begs the question: Will the Lakers remake this roster to fit what LeBron and Lue have traditionally had success doing? We know they would make a move for Anthony Davis if that trade were to fall back on their table, but even if they don't get Davis, they do have room for a max player and you have to wonder if a few of those young guys would still be on the table for a non-Davis trade on top of that.
Whatever the case, the Lakers ARE NOT going to waste another season with LeBron. They fully expect to add at least one really food free agent, and with some better roster building around the edges, this is a team that is close to being really, really good.
"The Lakers needed to add shooting last year because they didn't account for injuries," another Western Conference scout told CBS Sports. "When they were healthy, they had enough for LeBron to work with, but he was never going to play 82 games again. That's where they went wrong. So, yeah, they can address a few things with the roster. But even with what they've got, that was a better team than it looked like by their record. They would've been in the top-four conversation [in the Western Conference] this year without the injuries. Anyone who doesn't believe that wasn't paying attention."
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