26 May 2011

Is Mike Brown a Good Fit With the Lakers?

The head man with the Los Angeles Lakers is now Mike Brown, who was last seen moonlighting at ESPN after being fired as head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers after LeBron James he failed to bring a title back to Cleveland. Now he has the unenviable task in following the greatest coach in NBA history, Phil Jackson.
Is he a good fit with Showtime out in LA?
First off, I feel that Brown took too much of the blame for not winning a title in Cleveland. It was not easy to be a coach of the Cavaliers as James was developing into the best player in all of basketball because he took all the credit when the team won, while the blame fell on Brown when the team lost. People forget that James choked in his final series with the Cavs against the Celtics. People don't give Danny Ferry much blame despite the fact he did not put a great team around James. It just all seemed to fall on Brown, and undeservedly so.
That said, Brown is a very good coach. He excels at coaching defense, which was his speciality when he was an assitant coach to Gregg Popovich in San Antonio and Rick Carlisle in Indiana before heading to the Forest City. His teams always play disciplined and work hard. And while he is not known for his offensive prowess, he did something that makes so much sense that nobody really does it, adapt the offense to the players. Early on in Cleveland the team was built more towards a slow tempo and crashing the glass, while his later teams played a more freewheeling style featuring a lot of threeballs. And he has always been one who is not afraid of delegating tasks to his staff below him.
Now Lakers fans expecting a return to the days of Showtime under Pat Riley with a fastpaced attack will be disappointed as Brown features a slower gamestyle, which better suits this current Lakers team that does not have a dynamic point guard. But he will get this team to focus more on defense and should help Pau Gasol get tougher down low. It will be interesting to see how he helps Andrew Bynum develop and mature in the beast he has the talent to be.
One thing I was a little curious by with this hire was that Kobe Bryant was not consulted about the hire. The team is squarely in Kobe's hands and don't forget how he was vocal about how he wanted longtime assistant Brian Shaw getting the job. We'll see how Brown learns from his experience with one diva to deal with another. But all in all, a good hire.

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