What Tyronn Lue was able to accomplish with the Los Angeles Clippers this season was nothing short of incredible. Yes, they finished lower in the standings than they did last season, when they finished as the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference, but they still competed for a playoff spot despite the fact that they were missing Paul George for more than half of the season and Kawhi Leonard for the entirety of the regular season.
Again, incredible. So why isn’t Lue getting more love in the Coach of the Year conversation?
Well, for starters, his team didn’t win enough games. The irony is that the Clippers likely wouldn’t have won as many games without him at the helm, but that doesn’t change the fact that other coaches had more successful seasons under similar circumstances.
Taylor Jenkins, for example, led the Grizzlies to the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference with Ja Morant sidelined for a good chunk of the season. Obviously having the youth and depth that the Grizzlies have doesn’t hurt, but Jenkins made the pieces work.
Jenkins finished second to Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams in this week’s SB Nation Reacts survey, but that just goes to show how stiff the competition for Coach of the Year was this year.
Fortunately for Lue, he’ll get the chance to show that he’s on the same level in the postseason. If the Clippers win their play-in game against the Timberwolves on Tuesday, Lue will play Williams in the first round. If they lose on Tuesday, the Clippers with play Jenkins and the Grizzlies.
In both series, there will be more interesting battles than the one on the sidelines, but make no mistake: Lue will be looking to make a statement in every game and his players will do their best to help him.