At first glance it might seem as though Tyronn Lue the Head Coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee have little in common. The Donald has orange hair and Lue has no hair.
Look again. Last year Lue was the assistant coach who stopped first year head coach David Blatt from making what would have been a bad game time mistake. It made Lue look like the expert and Blatt look like what he was . . . a first year NBA coach. The mistake almost happened – it didn’t happen. The Cavs went on lose in the Finals without two of their all-stars.
Here we are in the Eastern finals, not yet the Finals. That Coach Lue is a first time coach is showing all over the place, like a slip that is just too big to hide under a dress. Players and owners alike clamor for a former NBA player as a coach. They think having played in the game is an advantage.
There is no substitute for experience. Period. Having played in the game is not the same as having coached the game. Game 3 and 4 in Toronto have exposed Coach Lue’s warts as a first time head coach. He has not adjusted well to the intensity the team encountered in Toronto. So his players have not adjusted well. He let LeBron go the last 5 minutes of the game, with the game tied, without making one point. He used a very odd line up in the last important minutes of the game: LeBron with basically four subs in the most important game of the season.
Yes Coach Lue is bright and yes he is on a forward trajectory. His resume got him a start as an assistant in the NBA. He didn’t have to start at a lower stature. A first time coach is going to make mistakes, just like your first time at anything you are going to make mistakes. Do you really want your open heart surgery to be done by a first time surgeon?
Miami Heat Head Coach Eric Spoelstra started his career with a job that gave him the important job of editing game tape. Even super coach Bill Belichick started as a special assistant coach. Which probably meant he could show players to the bathroom. There is a value in learning along the way to the summit.
This year we have seen presidential candidates be valued for their lack of experience rather than for their wealth of experience. Voters seem to feel that if someone is smart or successful that they can learn. Of course they can. But at what cost? In the CAVS case the cost may be an NBA championship this year.
In the case of this country the cost could be irreparable.