Why Media's Reaction to Mike Brown's LA Lakers Struggles Are Overblown

Ethan Norof@ethan_norofCorrespondent IMarch 9, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 29:  Mike Brown of the Los Angeles Lakers calls a play during the game agains the Minnesota Timberwolves at Staples Center on February 29, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  The Lakers won 104-85.    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 Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

The narrative around Mike Brown's Los Angeles Lakers has changed faster than any other team in the NBA during the 2011-12 season.

Before the campaign began, many had questioned whether Brown was the right hire to replace Phil Jackson on the sidelines.

There were a lot of questions after his tenure in Cleveland and at the time he was introduced as the newest head coach of the Lakers.

Could Brown connect with Kobe Bryant? Would Brown be able to maximize the production from both Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum? And most importantly, how would Brown's offensive strategy work in Los Angeles?

Currently the fifth seed in the Western Conference and sitting at 23-16, questions have come to the surface once again about what direction this Lakers team is headed.

After embarrassing road losses to both the Detroit Pistons and Washington Wizards, Ramona Shelbourne of ESPN Los Angeles reports that some Lakers are concerned about Brown's offense.

Sources told ESPNLosAngeles.com that multiple players have continued to meet privately since the initial team meeting to discuss running elements of the Triangle offense again.

"The players want to unify," one source with knowledge of the situation said. "They know how to win, and they want to fix this. I don't know if they can, though. "

That's entirely too strong of a reaction after just two losses.

There is no question that this Lakers team has its problems, but let's not throw dynamite in the water when fishing for a solution.

This is a process and a major change.

The team has integrated an entirely new plan at both ends of the court and haven't had the benefit of normal practice time, a product of the lockout-shortened season with an expedited pace of play.

This is the guy that Mitch Kupchak, Jim Buss and the front office put in charge.

Brown is a defense-first guy. That is not a secret. Seen as his definitive strength as a coach, nothing has changed in that regard since he was patrolling the sidelines in Cleveland.

The Lakers are tied for ninth in defensive efficiency entering Friday's game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, but are ranked No. 14 in the league in offensive efficiency.

Although Los Angeles has struggled to crack 100 points consistently this season, the team has found a way to win using a much-improved defensive approach under Brown.

And now there is clamor to change everything in order to achieve progress?

That just doesn't make any sense.

Many are quick to heap blame on Brown's shoulders, but look at his team. Outside of Kobe Bryant, Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol, there isn't much to like about the roster.

When Brown was anointed head coach, he walked into a team with a ton of uncertainty. Bill Ingram of Hoopsworld does a good job of illustrating the picture.

Brown inherited a team in disarray, to some extent. They had just been embarrassed and lost all composure in a second-round sweep at the hands of the Dallas Mavericks; they were working on a major roster overhaul, and when one major deal fell through they found they had alienated two of their mainstays in Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol.

Odom was traded at his own request, but the team only got a trade exception in the deal with Dallas.

Defense is who Brown is, and that is not going to change at any point in the foreseeable future.

While some fans might be anxious for a change and there are rumblings some players might be slightly unsatisfied at the moment, it's time to buy into Brown's philosophy.

For better or worse, this is Brown's team.

There are going to be bumps in the road along the way.

Nobody said this was going to be easy, but nothing worth anything ever does.

There is still plenty of time for the Lakers to right the ship.


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