The Los Angeles Lakers decided Mike Brown wasn't the right coach for the job, letting him go after a 1-4 start, as reported by Sam Amick of USA Today. While there will be plenty of speculation about the future, assistant Bernie Bickerstaff, now interim head coach, will get the team back on track.
According to Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times, Bickerstaff is going to lead the Lakers against the Golden State Warriors tonight while the team conducts a wide-ranging search to find Brown's full-time replacement as head coach.
While the removal of Brown isn't a major surprise considering his shaky status had been floating around the rumor mill for a couple days (via Marc Stein of ESPN.com), the decision to do it so quickly was unexpected. After all, five games is just six percent of the regular season.
The reactionary move will surely lead to a lot of drama around the Lakers—even more than usual—in the coming days. Luckily, Bickerstaff has seen it all during his time as a coach and executive, and he should be able to right the ship.
That's exactly what the Lakers need right now: stability. After an offseason shakeup and the sudden choice to let Brown go, the season is already teetering on the edge of a cliff, and the team invested too much to see it fall apart already.
Bickerstaff has coached the Seattle SuperSonics, Denver Nuggets, Washington Wizards and Charlotte Bobcats during his career. His career record is below .500, but none of those teams possessed the level of talent the Lakers have.
His first decision will be figuring out what to do with the offense. Brown was in the middle of changing to a Princeton-style approach, which had mixed results, but never really had a chance to take off due to Steve Nash's injury.
Moving forward with a simpler offense would probably be the way to go. It's tough to implement a new system with Nash sidelined and Howard still working his way into game shape after back surgery.
After spending the entire summer trying to find ways to take pressure off Kobe Bryant, the Lakers are basically right back to where they were last season. The team's nearly identical scoring averages proves that.
Ultimately, Bickerstaff must find a way to end the early downward spiral, control the media craziness and get the team back to basics. The Lakers have too much talent to keep playing as poorly as they have, and they need a steady hand to guide the way.
The 68-year-old basketball lifer will provide that and more. The Lakers are in good hands.
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