Tyronn Lue replaced David Blatt midseason in 2016 as head coach of the Cavaliers because the players wanted him — Blatt couldn’t get buy-in from the players, and they wanted Lue. The players’ coach has kept it simple with his team’s Xs and Os and just let his talent shine. And that got him a title.
Kyrie Irving wanted out of Cleveland this summer and landed in Boston as part of a trade — and he has thrived. He is averaging 21.8 points and 5.6 assists per night, and has started to look more comfortable game after game. He’s developed a good chemistry with Al Horford and seems to be finding his way more in Brad Stevens’ motion offense.
Kyrie Irving went on the podcast Holding Court with Geno Auriemma (featuring the legendary University of Connecticut’s women’s basketball team) and was asked about playing for the well-respected Stevens. (Hat tip NESN’s Dakota Randall and Bleacher Report).
“Brad fits perfectly in terms of that because he has an intellectual mind and is an intellectual human being,” Irving said. “It was something I was unbelievably craving in terms of what I wanted for my career.”
Irving wanted to praise Stevens, did he also mean to throw shade and Lue?
Know this for sure, Lue doesn’t care. He’s not easily offended like that.
Irving has praised Stevens before without throwing shade, as he did speaking to NBC Sports Boston.
“Oh, man, I wouldn’t want to be with another coach,” Irving said. “Because he is that intellectual. He is that high-character guy. He’s growth-oriented. He wants the best for his team. He’s realistic about his goals, about the mission…
“That’s who he is. He’s a smart individual that knows basketball.”
Stevens also is a smart individual who knows the earth is round, but let’s not go down that road again.
Different coaches have different styles, and the style of Lue was what the Cavaliers needed. Irving has done nothing but praise Stevens every chance he’s gotten, the change of scenery works for him, but Irving has a ring and Lue helped him get that.