Tyronn Lue: C
Lue is flat out the toughest grade to assign of all on the list. In the end, he did make some key mistakes throughout the regular season and playoffs (mainly lineups, but more on that in the minute.) However, he did get this team to what always felt like was their destiny: a loss to Golden State in the NBA Finals.
At times, Lue gave certain players too much leeway (looking at you Jeff Green). There was the whole “Dwyane Wade is our starter, wait, no he’s not” debacle. There was Isaiah Thomas disrupting the entire culture when he returned in January. There was a slowness to adjust against both Indiana (it was around Game 5 when Lue stopped switching everything on defense) and Boston (Tristan Thompson should have started from the very beginning) in the playoffs. There was a lack of any kind of defensive system from the regular season for the Cavs to fall back on against Golden State.
But despite all of that, Lue is the easy scapegoat on a team that has plenty of people to blame. At the end of the day, Lue can only control the personnel he is given. From the beginning of the year, it was clear the Cavs didn’t have enough to take down Golden State.
Lue also, of course, had a rough year individually, as he had to take time away from the team due to anxiety-related issues.
The biggest takeaways this year for Lue and the rest of his coaching staff are: 1) Figure out a way to manage lineups bettter and make adjustments on the fly and 2) Come up with some sort of defensive system for their personnel next year.
Lue is hardly blameless in the Cavaliers struggles— but not everything is his fault. Realistically, his blame lies somewhere squarely in the middle.
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