Mike Brown fired by Los Angeles Lakers
Posted by Jeff Lingard
Mike Brown was fired by the Lakers Friday afternoon after a 1-4 start even though Steve Nash was hurt for the last 3 games. Brown was criticized for trying to implement the Princeton offence which is a weave and cut based offence where Nash’s first move was a pass to another player on the perimeter. Most experts thought that a Nash/Howard or a Bryant/Gasol pick and roll scheme was the right fit for the Lakers. Apparently the Lakers front office has agreed and has decided that the Princeton offence will be scrapped. This is too bad for Brown who has now had two unenviable jobs, coaching a spoiled LeBron James with an inadequate supporting cast and then replacing Phil Jackson on the Lakers. I hope he gets a chance with a team like a Golden State or Charlotte to rehabilitate his image.
The funny thing is the case for firing Brown was not the offence (ranked 6th in the league in offensive efficiency) but the defence. Brown is known for being an excellent defensive coach and his teams in Cleveland were consistently one of the league’s best. This Lakers team was unable to mesh defensively and are currently 22nd in the league in defensive efficiency. This is their real problem as teams are simply running them off the court. Once Dwight Howard is back to full health the defence will improve but not to the point where the team is a top ten defence.
As for possible replacements, Stan Van Gundy, who would be the best available free agent, is not an option because of his relationship with Howard. I don’t think Jerry Sloan is the right fit unless the players buy in as he is a no-nonsense coach. Could Phil Jackson return for a third stint in LA? It is possible but I doubt it. Mike D’Antoni would install the correct offence for this team but his defensive shortcomings are well known plus he is recovering from knee replacement surgery. Brian Shaw did not leave on good terms and installing the Triangle without a training camp is not a good idea. An outside of the box choice would be someone like Larry Bird who was a good head coach in Indiana and would command the respect of the players.
Time will tell if this was the right move for the Lakers. The problem is that usually when the coach is fired the players know that they are next to go if the team doesn’t improve. Other than Howard or Gasol this doesn’t apply as I don’t see the Lakers trading Nash or Bryant.