This is suicide.
I can’t think of any other word for it.
But I have gotten ahead of myself. For those of you still unaware of the coming apocalypse, various sources, including ESPN, claim that Mike Brown is the front runner among head coaching candidates for the Lakers.
Some of you may remember Mike Brown as head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers from 2005-2010.
The more attentive among you will remember Brown as the creator of the LBJ offense.
You know, the brilliant offensive scheme that solely revolved around the driving, shooting and passing ability of LeBron James.
This system proved highly effective during the regular season, but when James went up against a defense capable of protecting the rim or trapping him and forcing the involvement of his teammates, well, things kinda went south.
This is what you have to look forward to next season if the Lakers do hire Brown.
Except instead of LeBron James, whose unique physique and skill set lent itself towards being the team’s point guard, shooting guard, small forward, power forward and head coach, the LBJ offense will be centered on Kobe Bryant.
Bryant, who will be 33 years old at the start of the next season, has never been particularly adept at involving his teammates while remaining involved himself.
Sure, Bryant is good for a highlight-reel pass here and there, but he only has three gears: selfish, too selfish or too selfless.
How often has his decision-making turned the L.A. Lakers into the L.A. Spectators?
Without anyone to reel Bryant in, he frequently dribbles into double-teams, holds the ball longer than he should or forces jump shots you wouldn’t want to see at an All-Star game.
It's no coincidence that Bryant’s only season as a starter sans Phil Jackson sported the lowest field-goal percentage of his career as a starter (43.3).
What I simply cannot understand is why a team that says it can contend for title would ever hire Brown for a coach.
The Lakers fell apart the same way this year that they did in 2004: infighting and quitting.
If the Laker dynasty was going to be rebuilt with the Miami Heat (among other teams) rising, it would have required a coach capable of demanding excellence from the team.
It would have required a coach who could bust down the doors and grab players by the throat if he had to.
It would have required a coach capable of following ingredients like these.
How Brown, whose Cavaliers blatantly ignored him in the waning moments of their series against the Boston Celtics as he screamed for them to foul, can command enough respect to motivate this slothful, dead-spirited Laker team is beyond reason.
Among the few positives of Brown’s résumé is that he has a reputation as a solid defensive coach, but I can’t see why.
Though his Cavaliers were typically among the league leaders in points allowed per game, defense never really appeared to be a staple of their culture.
Aside from James, not one Cavalier on the team could be considered a top-tier defender.
How is that Brown’s fault? Good defensive coaches mold their players into good defensive players.
Think about Doc Rivers.
Ray Allen was not particularly known for his defense prior to arriving in Boston, and even though he still isn’t considered a premier defender, his effort on that end has grown in leaps and bounds.
Think about Larry Brown.
While the Detroit Pistons surrendered the fewest points of any team in the league prior to Brown’s arrival, they not only won the title in Brown’s first season, they also sported a plus-5.8 point differential as opposed to the plus-3.7 the previous year.
Think about Tom Thibodeau.
Sure, the Bulls were good on the defensive end before Thibodeau arrived, but they were not considered a top-tier team in that regard.
This season they were ranked second behind Boston for fewest points allowed and boasted the lowest field-goal percentage of any defense in the league.
What does all of this mean? Well, what do all of these teams have in common?
All of them have/had a team-first orientation and an unwavering system that guides them on both ends of the floor.
One common thread among all great defensive teams is that they are also disciplined in their offensive execution.
The more shots you make, the slower the pace of the game, and the slower the pace of the game, the more time you have to set your defense.
If you look back to the aforementioned Cavs-Celtics series, the Celtics ran the Cavaliers into the ground despite having a much, much older roster -- and the one positive thing that Cavalier team did have throughout its roster was hustle.
This old, lazy Laker team in place now won’t even make it past half court before it surrenders bucket after bucket from all the missed shots it’ll be throwing up.
What are the Lakers saying to their fans with this hiring?
Worse, what are the Lakers saying to Kobe Bryant and the rest of the team? Try to look as entertaining as you can, squeeze out another playoff series or two and in return we’ll hire the cheapest coach we can find?
I am strongly tempted to boycott the next season. If the Lakers don’t care about who they bring in, why should I?
Maybe this is what they mean when they say that all good things come to an end.
The Knicks were a great team for years in the '70s but have yet to win a title since ’73.
Despite being somewhat competitive in the '90s, forming a bitter rivalry with Miami and appearing in the ‘99 Finals, their recent acquisition of Carmelo Anthony is the only thing that has returned them to long-term relevancy.
The Pistons were a menacing team for years, both with Isiah Thomas and Bill Laimbeer and later in their Bad Boys II rendition led by Chauncey Billups and Rip Hamilton.
Both teams came apart at the seams overnight.
The Celtics had to wait 22 years to claim another title after their utterly dominant campaign in 1986.
Though all of the aforementioned franchises are proud and decorated, all of them made boneheaded decisions that contributed to their long-lasting dormancy.
Maybe now it’s the Lakers’ turn.
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