5 Coaches Who Could Do a Better Job with L.A. Lakers Than Mike Brown
As he should be. His job just got a lot easier on account of adding a dominant defender to a lineup that already boasted Gasol, Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and a halfway decent supporting cast.
His job also just got a lot harder.
Yes, there are tools at his disposal. But there will also be expectations at every turn. If he thought a second-round ouster to the Oklahoma City Thunder would ruffle some Purple and Gold feathers, just imagine what life would be like in the event he produces anything less than an immediate championship.
Jack Nicholson might become a Clippers fan.
The criticism directed Brown's way hasn't been especially fair, nor will it be. It almost never is with head coaches.
But, it's also fair to say that Brown isn't the game's best coach. More importantly, he may not be the best coach for these Lakers. That may say more about the roster than it does about Brown, but it takes two to tango in this game.
Here are five coaches who just might be a better fit for this chapter of LA's dynasty.
Rick Adelman might not be the first guy who comes to mind when you're thinking about championship coaches, but he's quietly had one heck of a career.
He was the brains behind the Portland Trail Blazers rise to Western Conference prominence in the early '90s, taking the team to the NBA Finals twice in futile efforts against the Detroit Pistons in 1990 and the Chicago Bulls in 1992.
He came close to doing so again with the Sacramento Kings in 2002, but fell short in a classic Western Conference finals against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Though ringless in his tenure with Sacramento, he ensured the team remained one of the league's best for the better part of his seven seasons there.
Most importantly, he's one of the very best at running the Princeton offense the Lakers are now adopting. He would help the club make the most of its new system, guiding a roster full of old dogs attempting to learn some new tricks.
Yes, the notion of Doc Rivers switching sides to the rival Los Angeles Lakers sounds about as absurd as Ray Allen going to the Miami Heat just a couple of months after his team lost to said Heat.
In other words, anything is possible.
Unlikely though it may be, Rivers has proven to be one of the NBA's very best coaches, winning a title and consistently challenging to win another. Few guys are so adept at bringing out the best from their team, especially on the defensive end.
More importantly, we know Rivers can coach just about anyone. He's channeled Kevin Garnett's intensity into a productive kind of leadership, and he's kept the sometimes erratic Rajon Rondo on track.
Rivers asks a lot from his players, but he also respects him. Given the pedigree of the Lakers' superstars, that's precisely the kind of coach they need.
The Los Angeles Lakers ranked 15th league-wide last season in points allowed.
Adding Dwight Howard to the mix will help that, but Steve Nash and Antawn Jamison certainly won't. No matter how many points this team can score, it's hard to feel especially confident in their title aspirations without some assurance the defense will get better.
The chances the Chicago Bulls will let their former Coach of the Year go anywhere are infinitesimally small, and it's just as unlikely he'd want to give up on coaching former MVP Derrick Rose anytime soon.
Still, Lakers fans can dream, can't they?
Mike Brown was billed as a defensive guru, but something hasn't been working quite right. Perhaps that has more to do with the personnel than it does the coach, but there's no question Thibodeau has turned marginal defensive players into pretty competent ones.
Just ask Ronnie Brewer.
The only team on the planet that's indisputably more talented than the new-look Los Angeles Lakers is Team USA.
So, who better to take L.A. by the reigns than the guy who's won two Olympic gold medals? Mike Krzyzewski knows how to work with the biggest stars on the planet, and he's probably one of the very few men who could command Kobe Bryant's genuine respect.
He might also be one of the very few men who even Dwight Howard couldn't get fired.
The Lakers made a run at Coach K back in 2004, but he wasn't ready to leave Duke just yet.
Perhaps the prospect of coaching Howard and seeing Kobe's career through might change his mind. If Mike Brown doesn't get the job done this year, the organization could definitely try again.
You had to see this one coming. It's the unsaid sentiment that surely haunts every locker-room speech Mike Brown gave last season.
Of course, it's not at all fair to Brown.
There's something wrong about about a world in which Kobe Bryant is still playing and Phil Jackson isn't coaching him. The 66-year-old may have been ready for a break, but if there were ever a series of events that could change his mind, bringing Steve Nash and Dwight Howard to the family just might be it.
Jackson isn't just one of the greatest to ever coach the game. After a career shepherding the likes of Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Shaquille O'Neal and Bryant, he understand how to handle superstars.
He also knows how to handle guys like Dennis Rodman and Metta World Peace.