Friday, November 9, 2012

Good Riddance, Mike Brown

The Mike Brown era is over, and while the future of the Lakers' super team is uncertain, one thing that is very certain is the Brown era will not be beloved in purple and gold history. From the beginning, it seemed like a bad idea, especially when you take into account the reports that Kobe wasn't consulted on the choice of the former Cavs' coach to fill Phil Jackson's gigantic Birkenstocks. Everyone knows at this point that Kobe is (to put it lightly) a tough guy to please, and not the easiest dude to get along with. Actually, he might be the toughest person in the world to get along with this side of Ann Coulter or 50 Cent. Nobody likes him, but coaches especially seem to have the types of relationships with him that people usually have with their proctologists. So since the Lakers are Kobe's team (and were even more so before last season) you probably want to run a couple resumes by him first before you go hiring anyone. Still, the Lakers ended up winning 50+ games, and getting a game off the eventual Western Conference champs in the playoffs under the Al Roker lookalike. This season, though, expectations are much different. After picking up a 2 time former MVP and some people's idea of the 2nd best player in the league, nothing short of a parade down Figueroa is acceptable. This isn't the job for a guy who rode the coat tails of LeBron to a coach of the year award. If a team that boasted that kind of star power played their home games in Newark, you'd need a high profile coach to lead them, never mind in Hollywood (not that a team in Newark could ever land those types of players, but you know what I mean). So today the inevitable happened, and the ax came down on the head coach, since you can't fire Antawn Jamison (although who wouldn't want to do that?). The Lakers have been bad by any standards thus far this season. Sure, you can talk about giving them time to gel, and repeat the fact that their big 4 have played about 5 quarters together this year, but the fact of the matter is the Lakers have won a grand, whopping total of 1 game since May. ONE GAME. That includes, regular season, preseason, postseason, pick up games in Metta World Peace's back yard, NBA 2k13 on Xbox, everything. This would be a slow start for the Bobcats, let a lone a team who some giddy analysts thought could win 70 games this season. Naysayers who point to the fact that Eric Spoelstra heard similar rumors of being fired a couple seasons ago before eventually turning things around should remember that this team doesn't have a couple seasons to turn things around. Bron, Wade and Bosh were and are still all in their 20s, while Nash and Kobe played their first games during the Clinton administration. This team was built to win now. And not with any goofy Princeton offense, and offense that was created so unathletic White political science majors could outsmart more athletic teams. Even if it was actually Kobe's idea to implement it, it has so far turned out to be a disaster and unsurprisingly so. Steve Nash is perhaps the greatest pick and roll point guard of all time, Pau Gasol is a gifted high post player, and Kobe is perhaps the greatest isolation scorer in history. Dwight Howard is a beast wherever he is on the court. Trying to force those guys into a gimmicky offense is insane. The NBA game isn't that complicated, you run a few pick and rolls, a few iso plays, toss in a couple other set plays and call it a night. The Princeton O worked in Sacramento because that team ran first and then used it as a secondary offense if the fast break didn't work, or the other team got back on defense. Also, the best Kings teams featured Vlade Divac and Chris Webber, two of the best passing big man in league history. Gasol and Dwight are decent passers (especially Gasol) but that's not their strong suits.

And the spotlight might burn bright in Miami but not as bright as it does in LA. As I mentioned earlier, a team like this needs a Riley, or Phil Jackson. Not Mike Brown. All signs point towards Mike D'Antoni coming in to pick up the pieces, much like he was intended to do after Isiah Thomas was finally relieved of his duties in New York. We know how that turned out, but at least for now, the situation seems to be a little different in LA. While Mike D. and Carmelo Anthony never got along, we know that Kobe respects him, even to the point of idolizing D'antoni as a youth growing up in Italy. D'Antoni (as hard as it is to believe) was like Jordan over there because of his smooth game and Italian last name. Kobe even chose to wear number 8 in honor of D'Antoni and whenever a D'antoni coached team would play the Lakers, they'd engage in some good natured Italian trash talk. And we already know about his history with Nash. This is far from a done deal, with Phil Jackson rumors flying, and everyone from Coach K to Jeff Van Gundy's name being thrown about. However the new coaching saga plays out here though, we can be sure of one thing. Firing Mike Brown was the right decision. It might seem like bad timing, but he never should have been hired in the first place.

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