L.A. Lakers: 5 Ways the Team Must Change Under Mike Brown
Change is a good thing, right?
The Los Angeles Lakers certainly hope that is the case.
After all, the team will have Mike Brown as their head coach next season. Brown will be replacing Phil Jackson, who coached the team to five championships in his 11 seasons with the organization.
What changes can fans expect with Brown as the team’s new coach?
Or, better yet, what changes does the team need to make now that Jackson has retired?
Here are five ways the Lakers must change under Brown.
5. Experiment More with Lineups and Substitutions
If I have one complaint about Phil Jackson’s coaching: It’s the fact that he was pretty rigid when it came to lineups and substitutions. There was very little experimenting from the Zen Master.
But considering there will be a new offense and presumably a few new players on the roster, Mike Brown needs to experiment as much as possible to find the lineups that will give the team the best chance to win.
4. Become Younger and More Athletic
The Los Angeles Lakers are a team filled with veteran, championship-proven players, which is not necessarily a bad thing—unless you are looking for younger, athletic players.
In recent seasons, the team's lack of youth and athleticism was a non-issue, considering the Lakers were simply better than their competition. But after the team’s embarrassing exit from the playoffs last season, fans can't assume that's the case anymore.
Do the Lakers need to "blow up" their roster to make room for a slew of young, athletic players? No.
But considering some of the best teams in the Western Conference (I am looking at you, Memphis and Oklahoma City) are filled with young talent, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to look for a couple of players who have yet to hit the prime of their careers.
3. Find New Ways To Handle Pressure and Criticism
In years past, especially last season when the Lakers weren’t playing as well as they should or when they were in the midst of a losing streak, the team would play the "we are the defending champs, we’ll figure it out/turn on the switch when necessary" card.
Well, the team can't play that card next season.
And considering the team has a brand new coach and will be trying to prove their worth after their embarrassing exit from the playoffs, there will likely be times next season when the Lakers face a substantial amount of pressure and criticism.
How will they handle it without being able to use their famous trump card?
The answer to this question could be the difference in the Lakers having a good season and a disappointing one.
2. Maintain a Healthy Balance on Offense
This is something the team doesn’t need to necessarily change, but continue to improve upon.
For the most part, since acquiring Pau Gasol in 2008, the Los Angeles Lakers have done a decent job of evenly distributing the ball on the offensive end. But there have been times where I felt the team could have fed Gasol and Andrew Bynum the ball a little more.
Now that Mike Brown is in town, it's even more important that the team finds the perfect balance of feeding Bynum and Gasol in the post, in addition to making sure Kobe Bryant gets his fair share of looks from the outside.
Am I the only one concerned that in an effort to make sure he doesn’t ruffle any feathers, Brown will do whatever Kobe wants to do on offense, possibly creating an disorganized, unbalanced unit?
1. Make a Change at the Point Guard Position
One of the reasons Derek Fisher was able to last as the team’s starting point guard the last few seasons despite his shaky play was his history with Phil Jackson and the triangle offense.
The triangle offense is now a thing of the past (unfortunately?). Therefore, it appears the Lakers' chances of winning another championship with Fisher as their starting point guard are slim to none.
The Lakers don’t necessarily need a Chris Paul or a Deron Williams to quell their point guard needs, but rather a point guard who will be good at running the team's new offense and can hold his own on the defensive end.