The 2012 NBA regular season has been one of the most underwhelming years in the history of the Los Angeles Lakers' storied franchise. Just five games in, the team is 1-4 and presently facing global criticism for their stunning shortcomings.
Although the entire franchise is under attack, no individual has felt the destructive slander quite like head coach Mike Brown.
In the eyes of Lakers fans, Brown is presently on the hot seat. Not only is L.A. off to a 1-4 start, but they were dominated in the 2012 Western Conference Semi-Finals en route to a 4-1 series loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
All in all, they've lost eight of their past ten regular and postseason games. Including the 2012 preseason, they've lost 16 of their past 18 contests.
As a result of these deficiencies, speculation has mounted that the Lakers will make a move to bring in a new head coach. As for who that man may be, look no further than the legendary.
Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld.com reports that Jerry Sloan is one of the names rumored to take over for the Lake Show. As for who has speculated this might transpire, Kennedy proclaims that a "league source" has predicted the Lakers' future.
A future that begins December 1st.
“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.”
Sloan has established a reputation as one of the greatest coaches in NBA history. He was a reputable player and improved his legacy while roaming the sidelines, being named to the Hall of Fame in 2009 for his achievements as a head coach.
The question is, could Sloan actually fix what ails the reeling Los Angeles Lakers? To put it simply: yes.
Matching Pick and Roll Masters
The Los Angeles Lakers have the NBA's best pick-and-roll facilitator, Steve Nash, and finisher, Dwight Howard. In their two appearances together, however, it appears as if the Lakers' coaching staff is allergic to utilizing their world class abilities.
Fortunately for the Lake Show, Jerry Sloan just so happens to be the undisputed master of the pick-and-roll.
Sloan orchestrated the combination of John Stockton and Karl Malone, who are commonly referred to as the best pick-and-roll tandem in NBA history. Together, the duo helped reached monumental heights.
Stockton is the NBA's all-time leader in assists and Malone ranks second in league history in points scored.
One decade later, Sloan coached Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer to similar success. Since departing from Sloan's system, however, each have struggled in their own right.
Boozer has failed to produce as expected in Chicago and D-Will has come up short when abandoning the pick-and-roll in New Jersey.
With Nash known as the top pick-and-roll point guard and Howard believed to be an unstoppable finisher, why not bring in the coach who could best capitalize on their abilities? With Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol also in the fold, it seems as if the Lakers would have an elite offensive attack.
But what about defense?
Underrated Defensive Coach
Although Jerry Sloan's teams consistently allowed between 98.0 and 100.0 points per game, he is not a defensively inept coach. Sloan has also never had a player of Dwight Howard's caliber manning the defensive interior.
Although a very good defender, Karl Malone pales in comparison to D-12 as a shot blocker. Even if that is the only area Howard exceeds his quality of play.
With Howard in the paint, Sloan could rotate Steve Nash in ways that best enable him to get the team out in transition. He could also protect Nash from being exposed defensively, which is rather important considering this isn't John Stockton swiping pockets.
Most important of all, Sloan would create a halfcourt offense that would limit transition scoring opportunities for their opponents.
With the pick-and-roll in place, the Lakers can opt to collapse on the offensive glass or fall into their transition defense. With Metta World Peace and Kobe Bryant trailing, the team now has confidence in their ability to face transition scorers.
Even if they are not prolific in said area, at least they'll have improved.
For his career, Sloan has won 1,221 regular season games and an additional 98 in the postseason. He has made six Conference Finals appearances and led the Utah Jazz to the 1997 and '98 NBA Finals.
Unfortunately, Sloan would fall victim to Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in each of those series. Coincidentally, the coach on the opposite sideline was the man that the Los Angeles Lakers are desperate to replace.
Although Sloan has never won an NBA championship, he has 202 games of postseason experience. Most importantly, he has spent a majority of his career in the Western Conference.
That includes three consecutive series losses to Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers from 2008 to 2010.
With Sloan's postseason pedigree established, it is clear that he would be able to step in and lead the Lakers. He'd instantly improve their offense, create a system in which their personnel could thrive and provide confidence in his ability to find postseason success.
The question is, should we really be giving up on Mike Brown so soon?