Why Kobe Should Tell Magic Johnson to Shut Up Too
It seems that everybody has something to input into what the Los Angeles Lakers should be doing with their team. Whether you think Steve Nash should be pounding the ball with the pick-and-roll, or Kobe Bryant should be playing in isolation or Dwight Howard should post up and have the ball fed to him, there's criticism around every corner.
Fans, media, shameless bloggers who constantly add their input but don't think they're part of the problem (Is that me? That's probably me.); commentators, old players, new players, current players. Everybody seems to have something to say.
When it all comes down to it, however, nobody knows exactly what's going on behind the closed doors in the Lakers practices or in the locker rooms. We can assume, insinuate and constantly pick apart any little hint or clue we get, but the fact is it will never be concrete evidence. After the players and coaches, nobody knows.
The only problem is that people talking creates a whirlwind that eventually grows into a full-on panic, even if it isn't the actual team that's panicking. The front office catches wind of the panic tornado and eventually decides that something needs to be done, whether or not anything actually needs to be done.
Realistically, that's the reason that Mike Brown was fired. When Mitch Kupchak addressed the release of Brown, he spoke about the Princeton Offense and the player's failure to grasp it and succeed.
If that's the case, then Los Angeles' front office has some incredibly high standards, as the Lakers had the sixth-highest scoring offense at the time of Brown's dismissal.
Realistically, Mike Brown was fired because patience takes time, and the Lakers' front office can't handle it when they have to be patient, especially when the public perception is starting to get down on the team.
It makes things even worse when there are former players and people in high regard with the public with ties to the Lakers are harping on what the team needs to do. It gets the public riled up and sends the front office into this frenzy.
That's exactly what Magic Johnson has been up to since Brown was fired. In an interview with USA Today, Johnson prattled on about the Lakers' "win now" mentality as the reason that Brown was fired:
"That's the reason why Mike is out, because the Lakers are about winning championships. They're not about waiting. Some people have complained, and said different things - no, he didn't get a fair shake. The Lakers don't give people fair shakes. It's not about fair shakes. It's about whether you can produce or not."
What Johnson said is extremely interesting, not because he's uncovered some kind of holy grail of knowledge here, but because he's pointing out the problem with the Lakers, while simultaneously being part of the problem with the Lakers.
He acknowledges that the Lakers aren't going to sit around and wait for championships to happen, which is fine, but at some point the people involved there have to realize that five games is not an indicative sample of the entire season. The knee-jerk overreaction (firing Brown) may end up being the right decision, but it wasn't based on realistic reasons.
A little over a week ago when Kobe Bryant was responding to critics about the Lakers' struggles, he came out and told everyone that patience is necessary in implementing a new offense. He even went as far as to call out the over-reactors:
"Mike (Brown), it would be a little tougher for him to say that. So I’ll say it for him: Everybody shut up. Let us work and at the end of the day everyone will be pleased at the end of the day."
It may sound a bit harsh, but that actually seems like great advice to the detractors. This isn't like football, losing a string of games isn't going to keep them out of the playoffs, but the overreacting to losses can only have a negative effect on the team.
Kobe needs to go a little bit further and address these comments to more than just the Lakers fans who can't understand why their team is struggling, he needs to turn the comments on Magic as well.
In fact, just play this on a loop, and any time somebody tries to make an assumption about the Lakers based on a limited amount of evidence, or while completely ignoring evidence that detracts from their argument (like the Lakers when they fired Brown), just direct their attention to the looping tape.
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