Phil Jackson, the “Zen Master,” the greatest coach in NBA history, retired as the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers after they were brutally swept by the Dallas Mavericks in the second round of the 2011 NBA Playoffs.
It was a sad day for Lakers fans.
When Mike Brown was hired as the Lakers' new head coach instead of the beloved Brian Shaw, things seemed to get worse.
However, many don't realize that the future may be bright with Brown as the head coach.
Undoubtedly, things will be different under Mike Brown because he has a specific approach when it comes to running a team. It is possible that the Lakers will improve with a new and fresh identity.
This is a list of 10 things that I expect will be different for the Lakers as they enter a new era with a new head coach.
For the past decade, the Los Angeles Lakers have been known for their intricate triangle offense.
However, according to Mike Brown, the Lakers are “not going to run the triangle offense” anymore.
Many believe that the Lakers’ new offense will be very simplistic, modeling the offense Brown ran in Cleveland.
However, with the vast array of offensive options the Lakers possess, I don’t expect Brown to run anything as one-dimensional as he did with the Cavaliers.
Instead, I expect Brown to exploit the Lakers’ biggest advantage: their size.
When Mike Brown was a part of the San Antonio Spurs’ coaching staff, the Spurs relied heavily on their big men, Tim Duncan and David Robinson.
Brown will make use of Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol similarly—Gasol resembling Duncan with his finesse post moves and Bynum representing Robinson with his power near the rim.
With Gasol and Bynum dominating down low, opportunities will be created for the Lakers’ shooters.
Kobe Bryant, who is clearly the best player on the team, will still be greatly involved—there is no doubt in my mind that Brown will allow Bryant to get his touches.
Another important facet of the Lakers offense will be their pace. Brown believes “attacking the clock” is vital.
But how will the Lakers have a faster pace with their aging roster?
We all know that the Lakers are getting pretty old—their age will hinder their ability to run a faster-paced offense.
Thus, I expect Mike Brown to tweak the roster and make use of the Lakers’ younger players, such as Shannon Brown (if he comes back), Devin Ebanks, Andrew Goudelock and Darius Morris.
I also believe Morris will play a lot this upcoming season because of the Lakers’ questionable point guard situation.
It’s certainly possible that Morris will provide some youth, energy and defensive intensity that the Lakers have lacked in the past from their point guard position.
It’s already established that Mike Brown isn’t an offensive-minded coach.
As a result, I believe aging superstar Kobe Bryant will take on more of a coach-type role in order to run the offense efficiently.
The Lakers players already trust Bryant. We all know that Bryant is one of the smartest players in the NBA.
Once that’s all taken under consideration, it seems the Lakers will succeed if Bryant becomes a mentor to his teammates.
Hey, it might even be a foreshadowing of what’s to come in Bryant’s future.
The Los Angeles Lakers will make the transition from running a complex offense to running an elaborate defense.
Mike Brown was able to motivate his players in Cleveland. As a result, he created one of the elite defenses in the NBA.
He will do the same in Los Angeles, and the Lakers will thrive because of it.
Brown will place large emphasis on the Lakers’ size in order to prevent drives and outlet passes.
In addition, he will make use of the outstanding defensive abilities of Bryant and Ron Artest on the perimeter.
Most importantly, whenever an opponent shoots, a Laker hand will be in his face.
You may have scratched your head when you read the title of the slide, but I believe the Lakers will excite the NBA with electrifying transition plays.
Just look at this equation:
Excellent, swarming defense + young athleticism and energy = steals and exciting transition plays.
Ron Artest didn’t play that well last season, and that’s an understatement.
But now Artest is a new man—he’s Metta World Peace.
Under Coach Brown’s new defensive scheme, he will thrive and actually be valuable to the team.
Both Brown and the Lakers players have recently failed and have been scrutinized as a result.
Brown was unable to take the Cavaliers to the NBA Finals and was a fired as a result. The Lakers were embarrassingly swept by the Mavericks in the 2011 playoffs.
Because of this, Mike Brown and the Lakers will be more motivated than ever before.
Thus, I don't expect to see any lackadaisical performances like the ones from last season. (Remember the Milwaukee Bucks game?)
Instead, in order to prove themselves, the Lakers will play with intensity every night until they win an NBA championship.
Last season, after a loss, Andrew Bynum stated that the Lakers had "trust issues."
The Lakers' lack of unity clearly resulted in their sad demise in the playoffs.
New coach Mike Brown will strive to make the team's problems go away.
In an interview with ESPN, Brown stated that he desires to improve the team's chemistry by creating a "family atmosphere."
Thus, I expect the Lakers to play more like a team than a group of individuals.
At this point, the Lakers are desperate when it comes to the point guard position.
Derek Fisher is getting old, and Darius Morris may be too young.
If things go awry, talk of acquiring a superstar point guard like Chris Paul will pick up—more so than in years past.
Last year, the Lakers got off to a wonderful start, as they won their first eight games.
Under Mike Brown, however, I don’t expect the Lakers to be clicking so well so early.
Instead, I expect to see the Lakers have an unusually slow start.
Brown’s coaching style is a lot different than Phil Jackson’s was—it will take some time for the Lakers players and coaches to get on the same page.