Mike Brown Will Have Jim Buss' Confidence, but Not for Much Longer

Dan Favale@@danfavaleFeatured ColumnistNovember 8, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 02:  Head coach Mike Brown of the Los Angeles Lakers gives instructions during the game against the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center on November 2, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  The Clippers won 105-95.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Mike Brown isn't the odd man out for the Los Angeles Lakers.


After a horrific start to the season, the Lakers have found themselves at the bottom of the NBA's Pacific.



Not just because Los Angeles has the most star struck roster in all of basketball, but because it's a division the franchise one with an inferior roster only last season.

So obviously something is wrong.

Anytime a team carrying over $100 million in payroll finds themselves trailing both the chaotic Sacramento Kings and Steve Nash-less Phoenix Suns, there's obviously something wrong.

But what?

Coach Brown and that God-awful Princeton offense of his? Or is it on the players and their failure to grab hold of a complex system?

Your guess is as good as Lakers executive vice president Jim Buss', who, according to Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com, is inclined to maintain faith in Los Angeles' current head honcho:

"I have no problems with Mike Brown at all," Buss said. "He just works too hard and he's too knowledgeable for this to be happening.

"So either the system is flawed or something's going on. Or, like the Triangle, it's very hard to pick up and understand. I'm not a basketball mind like he is or the players are, and the players are fine with it, so I just have to be patient."

Now, like Buss, not everyone may be in possession of a superlative basketball mind, but it doesn't take a basketball-wielding genius to see that something is wrong with the Lakers.

It also doesn't take a genius–or much of a mind at all—to realize that preaching patience in Tinseltown is a foreign practice.

All it takes is one look at Kobe Bryant to realize that.

Understandably, super-teams take time to mesh. They don't take time to form, but chemistry cannot be obtained overnight the way household names can. I've been breaking records for the past three weeks stressing how much the Miami Heat struggled out of the gate and emphasizing that these things take time.

At the same time, however, patience is not a luxury the Lakers are afforded.

Their star-rific quartet was supposed to be bigger than that of the Heat's. But Miami won four of its first five, Los Angeles did the exact opposite.

And that's a problem.

Because at their worst, the Heat were one game over .500. The Lakers have already surpassed such a disappointing plateau. So something has to be done.

Is that something cutting Brown loose?

Perhaps, but Buss doesn't seem ready to accept that just yet. After all, a key component of championship teams is continuity. Starting a game of musical coaches instills just the opposite.

Which means it's natural for Buss and the rest of the organization to want to give this more time. A cursory glance down the docket suggests that this convocation has to work.

It's too talented not too.

Sure, Los Angeles is struggling more than the Big Three in Miami did, but this team is also tasked with satiating more egos, incorporating even more diverse skill-sets.

Yet is that really the problem?

The Heat's struggles were the result of a lack of cohesion.

LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh were still familiarizing themselves with one another in the beginning. They weren't losing games because they were struggling to grasp an offensive scheme.

They were simply struggling to adjust to one another.

For the Lakers, though, it's different. Their issues stem from a lack of familiarity and systematic defects. In other words, the Princeton offense—the offense Brown himself advocated—is the main issue. 

And all you need to know about that offense is that it requires little to no transitional execution, or even a competent point guard.


It's the enemy of Nash.

The Lakers are averaging just 8.2 fast break points per game this season, but are turning the ball over 18.6 times per bout as well—third-highest in the league.

So let's get this straight.

Los Angeles is committing turnovers at a large enough rate that suggests it loves to run, yet putting up hardly any points in transition, because they don't.

That's a bad combination, and one that Buss and the rest of the franchise won't be able to overlook much longer, if they're overlooking it at all.

Yes, the season has just begun, but the Lakers are already dropping the ball in all facets of the game—literally.

With that in mind, we can be certain that Buss isn't remaining patient, he's simply tolerating the poor display of basketball currently being put forth.

And yes, there is difference.

Despite what ESPN analyst Antonio Davis believes, the blame can not be evenly spread across the team at this point. If the Lakers were losing because players were simply blowing assignments, playing downright terrible or simply noncommittal, it's a different story.

But this is systematic, not the result of a lack of effort or will.

Make no mistake that Los Angeles' shortcomings are on Brown's shoulders. Whether or not the system is too complex to run successfully out of the gate is irrelevant. It's his job to ensure that, at the very least, progress is evident.

Right now, however, it isn't.

Thus, no matter how patient or tolerant Buss and the front office perceive themselves to be, we have to accept that they're undoubtedly wearing thin on both.

So unless the head coach pulls this sinking ship afloat soon, any remaining patience or tolerance within Los Angeles will cease to exist.

Leaving Brown himself out of a job. 



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