During the 2012 NBA offseason, the Los Angeles Lakers acquired two-time MVP Steve Nash and three-time Defensive Player of the Year Dwight Howard. Upon doing so, the Lake Show paired Nash and Howard with superstar teammates in Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol.
As one could only expect, the league-wide belief became that the Lakers were the favorites to win the Western Conference crown.
Although there was speculation that the team would take time to develop chemistry, no one predicted this.
The Lakers started the season with three consecutive losses. Although they discovered a change in fortune when they defeated the Detroit Pistons, it appears as if the team is already in panic mode.
Just ask Kobe Bryant (via USA Today).
The first man to face the blame is head coach Mike Brown. Despite the brevity of his campaign, many have labeled Brown as the weak link in an otherwise stellar Lakers roster.
Whether or not that is the case is debatable. What cannot be debated, however, is that Brown is officially on the hot seat.
Unlike a majority of coaches under pressure, it appears as if Brown could have a specific replacement hot on his heels. According to Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld.com, Hall of Fame head coach Jerry Sloan could be on the prowl.
“Jerry Sloan to L.A. by December 1,” one league source predicted. “Nash and Howard are the new Stockton and Malone. He wants a ring, not to mention the money. He didn’t seriously consider Orlando, Charlotte or Portland [openings] over the summer because he knew Los Angeles would open up.”
It'd be hard to mask excitement over the potential of Sloan coming to Los Angeles. The fact of the matter is, the coming together of Sloan and the Lakers is not even a possibility until Brown has been fired.
Here's how Brown can prevent that from happening.
Develop the Pick-and-Roll
If the Los Angeles Lakers continue losing and the Jerry Sloan rumors grow stronger, there is one place that fans and executives will look: the pick-and-roll.
Sloan is the unanimous choice amongst basketball purists to be named the master of the pick-and-roll. He's led the likes of John Stockton and Karl Malone, who are widely considered to be the best pick-and-roll tandem of all time.
Sloan has also coached Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer, who led the Jazz to four consecutive postseason berths behind that very play.
With Steve Nash and Dwight Howard on the roster, that makes the Lakers the next candidate to claim the title of the best pick-and-roll tandem in the NBA. If Brown is unable to take advantage of said pairing, however, the calls for Sloan will grow larger.
Nash cannot return soon enough from injury (via Ken Berger of CBS Sports).
Prove the Princeton Works
If the Lakers are to pass on the pick-and-roll as the primary source of offense and continue with the Princeton, it better start functioning.
Although many will jump out and claim that team defense is the reason they're losing, that is a product of poor chemistry. As for the other end, it is genuinely unclear whether or not the Lakers' players are fit for this style of offense.
If they aren't, you can bet the bank that Jerry Sloan will be a flashing image in the minds of the Lakers' higher-ups.
Begin to Win
Seems rather self-explanatory, doesn't it?
Although he has never won an NBA championship, Jerry Sloan is one of the most decorated head coaches in NBA history. Sloan is third all time with 1,221 victories and 11th with a win percentage of .603.
Coincidentally, Mike Brown is sixth with a .658 win percentage. The difference is, Brown only has 313 career victories.
Sloan reached the postseason in all but three of the 26 years he served as a head coach. In that time, he won seven division titles, made six conference finals appearances and found his way to two NBA Finals.
If Brown isn't able to discover a way to lead the Lakers to that type of success, why wait in bringing in the man who can?
Mike Brown has a long way to go in reaching the lofty expectations set by the Lakers' brass. If he doesn't act fast, however, he could lose his job to one of the all-time great legends of coaching.