Would L.A. Lakers Fire Mike Brown During Season If Team Falters?

Anthony Ramsey@@A_RamseyLTSBContributor IIISeptember 20, 2012

May 18, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers head coach Mike Brown reacts to a foul call during the first half of game three of the Western Conference semifinals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE
Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Mike Brown's seat is as hot as any coach's currently in the NBA.

Despite leading the Lakers to a 41-25 record in the strike-shortened last season, finishing first in the Pacific Division and a three seed in the Western Conference, many still have questioned whether Brown is the right coach to lead L.A. to a championship.

Some even speculate that Brown should be replaced midseason if the Lakers don't live up to their lofty expectations to start the 2012-2013 season.

With even more talent on the Lakers roster this season than Brown has ever had to coach, anything less than a championship would be viewed as a disappointment in Los Angeles.

If the Lakers stumble out of the gates, chatter regarding whether Brown should be immediately replaced will heat up, similar to the way Pat Riley replaced Stan Van Gundy in 2005-06 and led the Miami Heat to the NBA championship. Brown could suffer much the same fate if the Lakers don't hit the ground running to begin the season.

Brown signed a 4-year, $18 million contract in 2011 to coach L.A., succeeding the legendary Phil Jackson as the 22nd head coach in Lakers history. At the time, Brown's more blue-collar demeanor seemed far from the type of personality needed to lead one of the most glamorous franchises in professional sports.

Fans and analysts alike instantly began predicting Brown's demise and calling for a more high-profile big-name coach, completely ignoring the fact that Mike Brown has one of the highest career winning percentages in NBA history during his five seasons as coach of the LeBron James-led Cleveland Cavs (272-138 for a .663 winning percentage).

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Brown's primary area of expertise is defense, which clashes with the high-scoring, exciting offenses that Lakers fans have become accustomed to over the last few decades.

The Lakers have brought in Steve Nash to help jump-start a Lakers team that ranked 15th in the NBA in points per game last season (97.3 ppg) and assistant coach Eddie Jordan to assist with the offense, so there are few excuses for the Lakers not to produce offensively.

There was even an period last season where an injured Kobe Bryant appeared to be instructing the Lakers during timeouts, raising questions about who was really running the team; Brown or the players?

Some would also say that the Lakers may struggle with chemistry early on, but that would thus further raise questions about if Brown is the right coach to handle the Lakers' veteran yet diverse personalities of Bryant, Dwight Howard coming off his PR nightmare of a summer, Nash and the fragile Pau Gasol.

Although Howard's recovery time from back surgery is still a mystery, Brown has enough capable big men on the Lakers revamped bench to fill in until the All-Star center does eventually hit the court, so a lack of depth can't be attributed if the Lakers struggle.

The free agent pool of head coaches is littered with big names going into next season, with Jeff Van Gundy, Larry Brown and Jerry Sloan all currently unemployed.

So If coaching so much top talent in Los Angeles proves to be overwhelming for Mike Brown, there are a number of high-profile coaches available to step in and take the reins immediately.

The Lakers have a lot invested financially into winning now, with a current payroll hovering around the $100 million mark, so expectations are through the roof.

If Mike Brown struggles to get the Lakers to perform up to their potential early in the season, the chances of him being replaced midseason are high. This comes with the territory of being the head of a team with such lofty goals and so small a window to succeed.