New Laker Coach Mike Brown Deserves a Chance, Not Criticism and Ridicule

Greg StarddardContributor IIIMay 27, 2011

BOSTON - FEBRUARY 25:  Head coach Mike Brown of the Cleveland Cavaliers looks on during a time out in the first half against the Boston Celtics at the TD Garden on February 25, 2010 in Boston, Massachusetts.  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 Elsa/Getty Images)
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It's not like he's been coaching a middle school basketball team, and surprisingly found himself the new head coach of two-time champion Los Angeles Lakers.

Mike Brown has won a lot of games in the NBA, coached one of the league's top players, and taken a team to the NBA Finals.  Brown isn't some castoff from the D-League. But if you listen to the whispers and cries out of L.A., his hiring was the biggest mistake in many years for the Purple and Gold. 

You know what? Give the man a shot.

No one can overlook his coaching record of 272-138.  He's won more than his share of games. He took the Cleveland Cavaliers to the playoffs several times. They made it to the NBA championship series in 2007. 

The first in Cavs history. He basically resurrected a franchise in a city that is starving for a championship.  But I hear very few people talking about what he's accomplished in the NBA. Perhaps the problem isn't his coaching pedigree, as much as if it's a good fit for Rodeo Drive.

Dude is definitely understated.  He's not wearing the $15,000 suits.  He's certainly not Hollywood material.  Don't expect him to be in the new Steven Spielberg movie. He's a homebody. 

Nothing wrong with that.  But as coach of the Laker, you take on more than sideline duties.  You represent the very culture of Los Angeles.  In L.A., it's all about the Lakers, and nothing else.  It's a lot of pressure.  And don't forget to win a championship along the way.

The Los Angeles Times referred to Brown as a "Rudy 2." That's in reference to former coach Rudy Tomjanovich's eight-month stint as coach of the Lakers before Phil Jackson came out of retirement.

Don't know if that's fair. But funny, I'll admit that.  Is Brown a short term solution for the Lakers. I don't know. he hasn't coached his first game at Staples, and hasn't made any roster moves with GM Mitch Kupchac yet.

Let's see what Brown can do.

You know it isn't easy coaching super stars. Jackson found that out with Michael Jordan and Dennis Rodman in Chicago and with Kobe and Shaq in L.A. It takes a special kind of coach to weather those storms.

And they're plenty of them when you have popular and talented players with fans following them on the road like they're rock stars.  Big money, big athletes, and a big spotlight 24/7. Brown handled that in Cleveland with the LeBron.  Handled it well, and won some games.  Something to be said for that.

He'll have the same scenario in Los Angeles with Kobe.  Sort of.  Los Angeles brings that "fish in a fishbowl" lifestyle. Everything Brown does will be closely examined and dissected. Cleveland isn't L.A. and Brown would be wise to embrace that early.  I think he will. I hopes he does. Quickly.

Unfortunately, Brown's hire isn't creating a "buzz" in Los Angeles. And that could be problematic. He needs to be genuinely welcomed by the city and the Laker faithful. 

That isn't happening right now and it needs to change. Brown needs to get out of Cleveland and on the West Coast and stay there if he wants to succeed at this job.  He must eat, breathe and live Los Angeles if he hopes to survive.

I'd like to see him with Magic. Consulting with Kareem. Hanging out with Showtime. Let's show him the Laker Way. He won't last without it.

I've yet to see Los Angeles wrap its arms around Brown.  I'm not feeling the love. Seems to be old news already, and that's not good. He should be on page one of the L.A. Times, instead of a column about how he won't last.

It's one of the toughest jobs in all of professional sports. That path is decorated with championship trophies, Hall of Fame Players. historic games and the toast of the town. It's big business in the Southland, and one must realize the opportunities and pitfalls. It won't be easy.

Brown will have to live up to the standards set by Showtime Coach Pat Riley. Riley guided Laker championship teams through its glory years. He was blessed with Magic, Kareem, James Worthy, Byron Scott, Kurt Rambis, Michael Cooper, and Norm Nixon. Didn't get any better than that.

The brand took off and has been a successful business blueprint ever since thanks to Dr. Jerry Buss.  Jackson later came on board and continued the Laker dynasty. I won't even get into the formative years under Jerry West, Wilt Chamberlain and Elgin Baylor. Simply put, Brown is on the hot seat before he coaches his first Laker game.

Welcome to town, Mike.

Brown has the credentials, but faces intense scrutiny right out the gate. They expect championships in Los Angeles and nothing else. Everything else is considered a failure. Hoist the trophy and we can talk. Without hoisting, one can find the going rough.

And enough of the Rick Adelman and Mike Dunleavy stuff. Yes, both are great coaches. Adelman has a career record of 945-616. Been around a long time, Had a good run lately in Houston, but the Rockets didn't win the championship.

Nevertheless, Adelman would've been a safe pick. Dunleavy posts a 613-716 record. Both are coaches in high regard, but Jim Buss pulled a wild card. Let's hope it works, for everyone's sake.

Look, I don't know if Brown is gonna work in L.A. or not. I have my doubts. But let's see if he's ready to take the bulls by the horn.

He deserves a shot at an impossible job, right?