On Thursday night, Los Angeles Clippers Head coach Ty Lue had nothing but positive words for the Los Angeles Lakers. Lue, who coached LeBron James for the Cleveland Cavaliers, mentioned that he believes that the struggling Lakers will eventually figure it out because he's seen James do the impossible before.
"Even though they've struggled, they'll be able to figure it out. I have no doubt about that. I've seen 'Bron in tough situations before. I've always seen him come out on top," Lue said, prior before both teams faced each other for the last time in the regular season.
The Lakers' biggest regret
Since Ty Lue took the helm for the Clippers, he's won seven straight games against the Lakers. Lue's coaching brilliance is depicted in the system he can instill with his given pieces. Look at how competitive the Clippers are right now despite missing their superstars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. The injured Clippers have proven they're better than this season's Lakers as the former won all four games.
The Lakers' ultimate fumble is not hiring Ty Lue in the summer of 2019. According to Fox Sports broadcaster Nick Wright, the Lakers were so close to signing Lue, but it turns out Kurt and Linda Rambis prevented this from happening. This was a massive mistake for the Lakers, especially considering Frank Vogel and the organization might part ways next offseason.
Imagine what Lue could've done for this Lakers team?
An important lesson learned.
When asked why the Lakers were blown out (132-111) by the Clippers on Thursday, James said that the Lakers defense is one big reason the team has lost games like this all year.
"We're a Frank Vogel team, so it's a defense-first. It's been challenging for us this year defensively... We've lost a lot of games because our defense has broken down."
LeBron James, via Jacob Rude
The Lakers are ranked 16th in the league in defense because the pieces they have do not match Vogel's drop coverage defense. As displayed during their 2020 championship run, Vogel's system required efficient point-of-attack defense, quality wing help, and anchor bigs who could provide support in the paint. This Lakers roster isn't built for this scheme; hence the team's defense continues to be in shambles.
One lesson the Purple and Gold can learn from the little brother AKA the Clippers is how they've built their roster. The Clippers have the right supporting cast around their superstars and the pieces that match Lue's drive-and-kick dominant offense. The Lakers, who've chased superstars over the past couple of years, are now realizing that acquiring these superstars doesn't always translate to championships.
Sometimes, it's about having an efficient system that bolds well with the organization's identity and culture. That's exactly what the Clippers have done over the past two years.