Sunday, November 11, 2012
Lakers Firing Mike Brown Wasn't Fair ... But It Was Right
Don't get me wrong. I think Brown is a good guy, a good coach and pretty much got jobbed in this whole deal. Still, he didn't belong. He wasn't Laker-like and certainly wasn't a fit for the roster that has been assembled. The things he wanted to do may have worked for a different team but it was wrong for this one right now.
This is a win-now franchise. Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash may only have a few seasons left. Dwight Howard is in the final year of his contract and could sign elsewhere if he wants. There is absolutely no youth on this team to build the future on. This is as win-now a franchise as there could ever be. So installing a Princeton offense or whatever you want to call it may have been the wrong idea. The learning curve is very thin. And the fact that your defense ... which is your calling card ... has been poor really kills your scheme.
It doesn't help that no one was in love with the hiring of Brown during the summer of 2011 and no one really had his back.
Not to say that it may not have worked. It just would've taken longer than maybe he had time to do it in. Yes, Brown did get jobbed. He inherited a Phil Jackson Laker team that had lost its identity. He had essentially no training camp last season to get anything done. Not to mention his roster was completely screwed up when David Stern inexplicitly nixed a trade that would've sent Chris Paul to the Lakers ... which the collateral damage meant Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol (both were included in the deal) suffered emotional issues -- which led Odom to being traded for nothing. Brown went through a major roster overhaul this season when Dwight Howard and Nash were added (among others). He wanted to install the Princeton offense but saw Nash, Howard and Kobe miss a lot of preseason time due to various injuries and recoveries. In the Lakers' first five games of the season, Kobe Bryant had a sore foot, Howard was out of shape after back surgery and Nash has played all of a game and a half. Under normal circumstances, he deserved more time.
The thought was Brown had the upcoming six game homestand to right the ship. If there wasn't any improvement then he was gone. Only the Lakers laid a huge egg in Utah to drop to a 1-4 record and it sent up huge red flags. The brain trust of the Lakers met and discussed it and they decided the end was now.
My issue with it all was the fact that you KNOW that this was discussed during the offseason. You don't fire a coach this soon into a season without having doubts about him prior to the season. I can see them deciding early on "we'll let him start this season but we'll cut him loose if this doesn't look good." With names like Phil Jackson, Mike D'Antoni, Jerry Sloan, Nate McMillian, Mike Dunleavy, the Van Gundys and several others that there are plenty of really good coaches out there that would love the Lakers' gig.
And that's where we are at now.
The key is to get this thing back on track ASAP. The talent is there and if Phil Jackson decides to come back then it would be a bit seamless to plug him in. Three main cogs understand the triangle offense (Kobe, Ron Artest and Gasol) but it should be simple for Howard to pick up. How Jackson uses Nash ... by far the best point guard Jackson would ever have coached ... will be interesting to watch. Either way, this should lead for another wild season in L.A.
Brought to you by the Sportz Assassin at 3:45 PM