Is Mike Brown the Right Fit?
Of all active coaches, Mike Brown has the fifth highest win percentage in the regular season.
In five years with the Cleveland Cavaliers, he lead them to a 272-138 record and was the 2008-2009 Coach of the year.
Brown led the Cavaliers in back-to-back 50-win seasons his first two years as head coach, and posted back to back 60 win seasons his last two years.
Brown has a record 42-29 in the playoffs and coached the Cavaliers all the way to the Finals in 2007.
Coming from a coaching family tree which includes future hall of fame coach Gregg Popavich, Brown emphasizes a defense first mentality, which is always a pillar of a championship caliber team.
Based on what we have seen from a few interviews featuring the new Los Angeles Lakers head coach, Brown has revealed some of his innovative offensive ideas, defensive principles and overall philosophy on what makes a championship team and organization.
It seems Brown has all of the right credentials and is highly qualified for the job.
But amongst the media, the Los Angeles Laker fans, and more importantly by some of the players themselves, there is a level of skepticism in regards to coach Brown.
Perhaps it is the Lakers culture.
Being accustomed to high-profile coaches, with a polarizing personality or reputation for greatness, like a Pat Riley or most recently Phil Jackson.
Mike Brown certainly does not fit the mold. But with his recent hiring, he unwillingly did bring drama.
It may be an unfair criticism, but that’s how it is in a big market area. The main problem coach Brown is burdened with is the respect factor.
I do not believe the Lakers players, more importantly Kobe Bryant, has a high respect level for Brown.
LeBron James didn’t have a high level of respect for Brown, which was crucial in leading to his departure at the end of last season with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
At times, James would often run his own offense and freestyle his own plays in spite of what coach Brown was calling.
The Cavaliers were more so considered James’ team instead of coach Brown’s team. That is an issue and an occurrence because of the lack of respect for the coach.
This Lakers team is coming off a six year tenure with arguably the greatest coach in sports, 11 time champion coach Phil Jackson.
Jackson led this Lakers franchise to seven NBA Finals appearances, winning five titles in 11 seasons.
Those are mighty big shoes to fill.
Another important factor in the ‘Mike Brown dilemma’ is Brian Shaw.
Shaw has been a teammate of Lakers leader Kobe Bryant, and served as an assistant coach under Phil Jackson.
Shaw contributed as a back up point guard for the Lakers three peat championship run in the early 2000s and served as an assistant coach helping get two more championships later in the decade.
Shaw has the trust of the team, and would more than likely run a similar system to what Jackson had in place.
But most importantly he has the trust of Bryant.
Kobe and seemingly everyone else on the team wanted Shaw as their coach this upcoming season.
For the Lakers management to select a coach without even speaking to their super star Bryant, was a mistake and undoubtedly caused some friction not only between Bryant and Brown, but with Bryant and upper management.
He has to win over the fans, the Los Angeles media, the players, and more importantly Kobe Bryant.
Coach Brown is not at fault, but unfortunately this may be too big of a burden to carry.
And Bryant’s recent silence in regards to the Brown hiring hasn’t helped his case either.
You can have all the X’s and O’s down and be a strategic genius, but if you do not have the trust of your best player it’s difficult to bring home a championship banner.
Chemistry, trust and other intangibles is crucial to success.
I would of opted for Brian Shaw, for all of the aforementioned reasons listed above.
But Mike Brown is a dedicated worker and a proven winner. Let’s see what he can do.
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