The head coaching battle that will decide the 2017 NBA Finals - here's how they compare

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Due to Steve Kerr's continuing health issues, the Golden State Warriors will be coached by assistant Mike Brown during the early part of this year's NBA Finals.

Whether or not Kerr is healthy enough to return before the series is decided remains to be seen, but the Warriors are in capable hands either way.

The Cavaliers, meanwhile, are led by Tyronn Lue, who was the head coach during last year's title run and is eager to get a second ring for his collection.

Brown and Lue have taken different paths to get where they are now, but there are some similarities in their situations as well.

Here's a look at how the two coaches in this year's NBA Finals stack up against one another:


Brown has way more head coaching experience in the NBA, having led the Cleveland Cavaliers from 2005 to 2010 and again from 2013 to 2014.

Between those stints with the Cavs, he also coached the Los Angeles Lakers from 2011 to 2012. However, he was fired from all three of his coaching jobs.

Lue, on the other hand, landed his first head coaching gig in the middle of last season, taking over for the fired David Blatt and guiding the Cavs to the NBA title.

Though Lue is 1-for-1 when it comes to winning rings, Brown has the advantage when it comes to experience. He's seen more things in late-game situations and has experience coaching LeBron James, so he gets the edge in this category.


LeBron James often gets a rap as a player who undermines his coach - just ask David Blatt. Therefore, even if Lue is pulling the strings, it's unlikely he'll get any credit for it.

The Cavs also have plenty of star power, with James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love all capable of making big plays without help from their coach.

Brown, though, is in a similar situation with the Warriors, who have Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant and Draymond Green in the mix. All of those outstanding athletes are equally capable of taking matters into their own hands and rendering their coach less effective.

In fact, the Warriors have proven that not having Kerr in the mix isn't a huge disadvantage on game days, as they've amassed a 12-0 record so far this postseason.

Kerr, Brown and Lue's biggest contributions to their teams' success unquestionably comes in practice, but this year is providing what could turn into a case study on exactly how effective NBA coaches are when the games are actually being played.


Brown has earned a (well-deserved) reputation as one of the nicest guys in the league. He seems to be genuinely popular with his players and the rest of the coaching staff.

However, Lue - who can be more outspoken than Brown at times - seems to have a similar status with his squad.

Neither are afraid to make his feelings known when the situation warrants it, but Lue has a reputation for being a little bit more hard-nosed than his Golden State counterpart.

Though the games over the coming weeks will be decided by the players on the court, Brown and Lue both have a lot on the line in this year's title round. Brown could coach his way into another head coaching job and Lue could add another piece to what's quickly becoming an impressive resume.

LeBron James
Cleveland Cavaliers
Central Division
Eastern Conference
Kevin Durant
Oklahoma City Thunder
Northwest Division
Western Conference

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