Mike Brown “coaching” in the final seconds of a playoff game
Calm, cool and collected. Real smooth coach.
Michael Brown, where do I begin? From zero to hero to zero, the man is in every sense of the word an enigma. His unpredictable yet predictable style of coaching has left players, fans, sports analysts, and most likely at this point, the Laker’s front office scratching their heads. After a year and a couple of games, the public has openly voiced their displeasure towards the coach, asking for his resignation. How has it gotten this bad? Well, lets see…..
Brown’s Rise to Power
Before I dig into Mike Brown like a T-bone steak, I think its worth explaining his erm… background or lack thereof. First, if you look at greatest coaches in the NBA today, you’ll see that most have a rich background in basketball. Some noteworthy coaches like Phil Jackson and Jerry Sloan were once players, so they had an advantage of understanding how the game is played and its nuances due to their extensive experience. Mike Brown on the other hand, never played a single game in the NBA (played some college ball at a community college and university, go figure!) and made his rise as a head coach by starting off as a video coordinator intern and bouncing around through multiple assistant coaching gigs. Then by some stroke of luck, he got his chance with the Cavaliers and his team (aka LeBron) did deliver for a couple of seasons and even making the Finals once.
Notice I emphasized video coordinator. Now, Mike Brown is known as a stats guy who constantly reviews game tapes. His employer, the Lakers’ own Jim Buss was quoted as jokingly saying he hired Brown to get his hands on those recordings. Also, Brown has a penchant for saying the right things, or more like saying what people want to hear. The man is clearly gifted in the art of persuasion if he could woo the front office of the Lakers to buy into his plan. For goodness sake, even Kobe praised him in the beginning for his sharp attention to detail. This all sounds so beautiful on paper doesn’t it? While it may seem so, here are the reasons why fans in general have a dissenting opinion towards Mike Brown.
Problem #1: Questionable rotations
Every basketball player has their own strengths and weaknesses. It seems Brown has a tendency to have his players play roles in which they are not suited for. For instance, last season Mike made Ron Artest come off the bench in hopes to generate a sixth man ala Jamal Crawford. Such a failure was this experiment that not even a quarter through the season did the coach move Ron back into the starting lineup.
Another example and probably the most sad victim in Brown’s mad experiment was Ramon Sessions. In his first few games as a Laker, he played with his instincts which produced some very fruitful results. He was basically playing to his strengths with his slashing ability and good court vision. However, about a month in Mike intervened and something clearly changed. I saw Ramon not going to the basket as often and instead, settling for jump shots which was not an area he was not particularly strong in. By playoff time, he’d lost all his confidence and performed poorly in his given role as a spot up shooter. Mike admitted to the media that Ramon was confused about his role when he came up to the coach and said, “You know coach, going down the stretch, I didn’t have a great feel for what you wanted to do offensively.”
There is much more but I’m going to briefly list some of Brown’s other questionable rotations. Playing Blake at shooting guard, having Ebanks and Artest backup shooting guard, making Jamison the backup small forward, playing inexperienced and inept Darius Morris, and much much more. If you know these players and how they play, then you’ll see why people are scratching their heads at these decisions. Perhaps the worst part of all of this is instead of choosing to adjust and make the more obvious choice, Mike stubbornly continues to go with what he believes will work. Oh me and my….
Problem #2: Poor time management for star players
As good as Kobe and Pau Gasol still are, it is no secret that they’re no spring chickens at this juncture, thus necessitating that they get as much rest as possible. So far in this young season, Kobe is averaging 37 minutes while Pau a leading 37.6, very very high numbers for players at their advanced age. It is a Mike’s job as coach to ensure his players are well rested and not carrying the whole load but due to his questionable lineups, the Lakers are always trailing behind which forces Kobe and Pau to play those heavy minutes in the first place.
The worst was perhaps near the end of a 20+ blowout against Detroit, when Mike Brown in a stroke of genius decided to put back in the whole starting lineup despite the fact their lead was insurmountable. Injuries can make or break a team yet Brown decided even in the midst of a sure victory, he had to risk it for a reason that nobody can possibly comprehend.
Problem #3: Respect
Prior to Brown’s hire the Lakers had a coach by the name of Phil Jackson, a living legend and probably the best NBA coach of all time. He has the respect of fans, players, and coaches alike, who still continue to acknowledge him as an excellent coach who possesses a cool and witty vibe. Brown on the other hand, is definitely not the calm, cool, and collected type. If you need evidence watch the youtube video once again.
Most importantly, there seem to be moments when Brown is not involved in the timeout huddles or coming up with offensive or defensive play. In response to this anomaly, Mike revealed his philosophy of letting assistant coaches take control of the game every now and then. That’s kind of you Mike, but you should always be coaching during the most crucial moments of the game. If you need evidence observe the GIF image once again.
So what can Mike Brown expect for all this? Lack of respect of course! Countless times have I seen players shrug off and disregard Mike’s words and even sometimes deliberately disobey his commands. The one that sticks out most was last years game against the Celtics, where in a close game former Laker Andrew Bynum hit a game winning hookshot. During the post-game interview, Kobe admitted straight up that he shrugged off the play that was meant for him and instead went to Bynum who won the game for them. The proof is in the pudding ladies and gentlemen. Here is another gem/hint on how Laker players truly feel about Mike:
“Right now, coach is a stats guy. His background is video coordinator or whatever. So he’s all stats. But Ron Artest is all feel.” – Ron Artest
There are some more things to cover but I think I got the basics. None of this can be comforting to any fan, and while it is on the players to win the games, winning always starts from the top. Coaching is definitely a part of this and if that foundation crumbles, what will there be to build on? What can any team hope to build through Mike Brown?
Here is an article that just further solidifies the public’s view:
When it rains, it pours my friends.
It appears that the front office decided to read my post and decide to let Brown go. But in all seriousness, it looked like he was going be given at least a few more games given Jim Buss’ comment about not panicking just yet. At any rate, the Lakers cruised to a blowout tonight and I don’t think it is any coincidence that they played so well tonight.
With all that being said, this post was not meant to insult Mike Brown personally in any way whatsoever. To those out there who threatened him or his family personally on twitter, shame on you! At the end of the day, it is just a game and it is just asinine to take it any more seriously than that. I might write something in the future regarding this issue. Till then, peace!