Initially, I had the same reaction as many of my friends: I was appalled at the hire of Mike Brown. I didn't think the option of Brown replacing the legendary Phil Jackson was actually possible. I felt with this move, the Lakers instantly became the laughing stock of the NBA (I actually had someone tell me this).
After getting over my impulse reaction, I had plenty of time to digest the surprising hire. There are many positives that Brown brings to the table, and he could do a lot of good for this Lakers team.
If Mike Brown is known for anything thus far in his NBA coaching career, its his ability to coach defense. I love this because it points to the fact that the Lakers are going to focus on defense next season—and hopefully this offseason.
As much as I love Phil Jackson, after this year's fizzle out in the second round of the playoffs to the Dallas Mavericks, it's clear that Los Angeles needs to change something. The easiest thing to change, without major overhaul, is the guy who calls the shots. Brown is an extremely hard worker who will do everything he can to lead this team to victory. The more I read about him, the happier I become with the hire.
Say Goodbye to the Triangle
This is the part I'm happiest about. Anyone who has watched the Lakers play has had to have seen their tendency to stand around and watch Kobe try to do it all on offense. The thing about the Triangle is that at times it promotes an offensive game like this. Though it includes an unlimited amount of options—passes, cuts and off-ball screens—it is easy to get stuck in a "give the ball to Kobe" rut. With Mike Brown taking over the helm, his motion offense will more than likely be implemented (more on that later).
Unfortunately, along with the positives of Mike Brown, some pretty big question marks (negatives?) seem to tag along.
He May Let Kobe Walk All Over Him
One of the biggest things people saw in Cleveland was that Brown continuously let LeBron take over and walk all over him. On numerous occasions we saw LeBron actually take the whiteboard and pen during timeouts and become the coach. Though you like your players to be coaches on the floor, during timeouts you generally want your actual coach to do the coaching.
He Hasn't Been Known As an Offensive Genius
While Brown has been known for his defensive-minded approach, many have criticized him for his lack of ingenuity on the offensive side of the ball. What many seem to forget, is that during a large portion of his tenure, Cleveland didn't have much besides LeBron. Once more players started to roll in, he handed over the offensive reigns over to his assistants.
Hasn't Shown That He Is an Adjustments Guy
In the 2007 NBA Finals, when the Cavaliers were swept by the San Antonio Spurs, Brown failed to make any adjustments on offense, and Cleveland was consistently smothered. The same was true in the next three trips to the postseason. This is the biggest worry for Lakers fans. Brown needs to turn his hard work ethic into on the fly decision making. He has the tools, he just needs to have the confidence.
Overall, Lakers fans need to get behind Brown, because like it or not, he's the Lakers new guy. He brings a lot of good qualities to the table, and the fact that the Lakers look to be focusing on defense this next season is a great thing. A Lakers team focused on great defense is a scary thing. They have played very good defense the past few seasons without really focusing on it. The next step is to acquire the pieces needed to implement this system over the offseason.
This article is also featured on The L.A. Minute.
Robert C. Binyon is a third year student at the University of California-Los Angeles, where he plans to graduate with a degree in sociology. You can follow him on twitter - @rcbinyon.