Clippers, Tyronn Lue excited to start fresh after last season’s letdown

Tyronn Lue said he was so excited to go to work Sunday morning that he had sleep problems, the enthusiasm was evident on the Clippers’ first full day of practice – even over the faint pixels and crunch of a pre-practice video conference on distance.

“I’m just ready to get started,” said Lue, a second-time head coach at the age of 43 after being promoted to lead assistant following Doc Rivers’ departure in September.

“Ready for this opportunity. Guys are thrilled, my tech staff are thrilled, we have amazing staff that we’ve put together, so excited about the whole trip. ”

Excited, sure, but also annoyed.

Patrick Beverley said he doesn’t know how last season ended, still painfully the shame of a 3-1 lead to Denver in the semifinals of the Western Conference.

The attitude here is guys are pissed off. What is good. We should be pissed off after our exit in the playoffs last year, ”said Beverley, the 32-year-old security guard who has played the emotional leader of the Clippers for the past three seasons.

“Everyone’s a little pissed off, so it’s a little bit quieter place to work and guys are more locked in and more focused. And so it should be. ”

Beverley later added, “T-Lue also brings something different, something more dynamic. And the feeling is that we want to get our lick back. When I say lick back, I mean just like your mom, (if) someone hits you growing up, your mom tells you to hit them back. That’s getting your lick back.

“We have been hit by the Nuggets and we want to get our lick back. That is our focus. ”

And while Beverley pointed out that because the core of the Clippers returns, “collective when it comes to gluing and stuff like that, it’s pretty easy,” and while newly signed wing Nic Batum noted that years of experience will make fitting easier for veterans like him (and Serge Ibaka’s center), Lue suggested his squad are heading for a learning curve.

“It’s a new system,” he said. ‘We are all new here. I am new, my coaching staff is new, we have recruited new players. The whole system is new to everyone. It’s not like they come in and just try to be absorbed into something we did last year. I think we have a whole new program. So we’re all going to learn together, so it shouldn’t be that hard. ”

Lue has promised that when the season starts on December 22, the Clippers will play faster, move the ball more and get players to places where they feel most comfortable and are likely to succeed.

Clippers star Paul George lamented Rivers’ strategies for trapping him during a performance on the podcast “All The Smoke” (released Thursday, but teased last week).

“Doc tried to play me like a Ray Allen or a JJ Redick, all pin-downs,” George said. ‘I can, but that’s not my game. I need some flow, I need some mixes of pick and roll and post ups, ”said George, trying to soften those comments last week by blaming some of the blame for the collapse of the Clippers’ playoff on himself.

On Sunday, Rivers told reporters in Philadelphia that it was indeed the fault of going around – but he joked that George shouldn’t expect a very different approach with Lue at the wheel.

“Ty Lue was sitting next to me, so he better hope it’s not adjustments,” Rivers said. “It won’t be much different.”

But Lue had a very different message for the media in LA earlier on Sunday.

“We have some new stuff,” said Lue, who led the Cleveland Cavaliers to three consecutive NBA Finals appearances in his first head coach term, including the franchise’s first title in 2016.

“I’ve learned from Doc my entire career, from Boston to my first chance at the Clippers. Everything I did was Doc Rivers powered. But when I took over in Cleveland, I saw that some of the things I was doing with Doc in Boston or with the Clippers didn’t necessarily translate this to our team in Cleveland.

“Just take what Doc taught me and use some of those things. But I could also follow my own program where I learned and took some things from Phil Jackson and Brad Stevens, Steve Kerr. You just go through the coaching circuit and you just look at teams that are doing good things and who are good coaches. You just take things from each team and implement it in your team as it suits. ”

And that’s got the Clippers excited, including newcomer Batum, who described the anticipatory edge he’s felt with the Clippers since arriving a week ago.

“We know what happened to that team last year,” said Batum, the 6-foot attacker signed with the Clippers after Charlotte waived him a week ago. “Sometimes when something goes wrong with the team, with great players and good players, like with this team, those guys just want to redeem themselves and have a great season. I think that’s what we could do this year. ”