Thursday, June 20, 2024
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Clippers coach Lue and the Harden problem

James Harden has been traded and has been playing for the Los Angeles Clippers for a few games. It’s not really going smoothly yet. A mammoth task awaits coach Tyronn Lue

So he got his way. James Harden no longer wanted to play in a team led by Daryl Morey and refused to play for the Philadelphia 76ers. A trade initially stalled, but in the end it worked out with the wish of “The Beard”, who moved to Los Angeles to join the Clippers.

But things are still not going well at all in the new team. In four games with the Clippers, Harden & Co. have suffered four defeats. After a disappointing start, L.A. has just three wins from nine games. “He’s too polite,” coach Tyronn Lue said recently about Harden’s initial performances.

Then the coach went into more detail: “He’s led the league in assists the last two or three years. He’s created plays for others, ran the pick-n-roll. He’s great. We have to allow him to be himself. I think the whole group has heard that and understands it. He’s a little more comfortable now, but he doesn’t want to step on anyone’s toes. And I understand that, that he has respect for Paul George, Kawhi Leonard and Russell Westbrook because they’ve all been here. But we need James to play like James and not pretend – and it’s up to me to make that happen. “

“It doesn’t get much harder than that “

And that’s the big problem. Lue has to somehow manage to bring the “Big Four” consisting of Harden, Westbrook, Leonard and George together. They all play very dominantly and like to have the ball. It hasn’t worked so far, but of course the season is still in its early stages and there is still plenty of time before the play-offs get down to business.

Nevertheless, it is clear that the task is immensely difficult for the head coach. “You get a player who is ball-dominant, who starts with Westbrook. What are the most difficult tasks you have to solve as a coach during a season? Putting James Harden next to Russell Westbrook in a team with Paul George and Kawhi Leonard. I don’t think it gets much harder than that. You have to rethink your whole rotation. You have to see how you distribute the shots now,” said the German basketball expert André “Dré” Voigt in his podcast “Got Nexxt”.

This is precisely the task now facing Lue and his coaching team. The four stars have to harmonize. If they do, the Clippers will be one of the hot contenders for the title. The next chance to come together will be against the champions from Denver on Wednesday night (4 a.m., CET).



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