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It's been a rocky first season in Los Angeles for Mike Brown.
In Los Angeles, Mike Brown is encountering some of the same problems that Mike D'Antoni is in New York. Brown's Lakers are having a much better season than the Knicks. They currently sport a 25-16 record and are in position to claim the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference playoffs.
The expectation level in Los Angeles is far higher than that in New York, though. In New York, Knicks fans would probably be happy with a decent regular-season record and a few playoff wins. In Los Angeles, the Lakers are expected to win the division, win the conference finals and ideally win the NBA Championship.
All Brown has been tasked with doing is to follow in the footsteps of one of the all-time winningest coaches in NBA history, Phil Jackson. That and also guide a superstar with over 15 years of experience under his belt to a title, while also incorporating a young and possibly budding superstar center who has yet to play a full season of consistent basketball in his six years in the league.
It never was going to be easy and so far it hasn't been. In spite of some fantastic players, the Lakers have some real holes on the team. They need a perimeter scorer to ease the defensive burden on Kobe Bryant. They need a point guard who can keep up with the league's elite crop of talent at that position.
The team and coach have also been victimized by circumstances beyond their control. In the weeks leading up to the season, general manager Mitch Kupchak pulled the trigger on a massive trade to rectify the point guard situation and acquire Chris Paul. The deal was vetoed by the league office, but not before it had gone public.
The results were a fracturing of team unity. Veteran Lamar Odom, who had not anticipated being dealt out of Los Angeles, was part of the trade. When it got vetoed, he reacted out of emotion and demanded he be dealt out of town in another deal.
Kupchak made that happen for Odom, but it cost the team a talented and versatile player who loved playing on the Lakers. They've yet to fill that void.
Meanwhile, the heat on Brown and his ability as a coach has become an openly debated issue.
The Los Angeles Lakers and Mike Brown are in a much better situation than what D'Antoni finds himself facing in New York, but if the Lakers suffer another early playoff exit and then were to start slowly next season....well, you can't fire the players.