Can Mike Brown Help The Los Angeles Lakers?
If you’re a Los Angeles Lakers fan, you’ve got to be at least a little bit concerned about the next NBA season. As long as there is no lockout—even though all signs are pointing to a work stoppage—the next NBA season will be quite the interesting one. Obvious post-season shuffles will take place. Some teams will get stronger, others will begin rebuilding. But the story likely get the most attention will be what happens with the Los Angeles Lakers who went from a favorite to three-peat to tasting the agony of defeat against the Dallas Mavericks in an embarrassing run through the NBA Playoffs.
The Zen Master, Phil Jackson, has rode off into the sunset. This leaves the Los Angeles Lakers without the brains behind the operation. The replacement? Former Cleveland Cavs coach Mike Brown. The very Mike Brown who led LeBron James and the Cavs to the best record in the Eastern Conference last season before watching his team get dumped by the Boston Celtics and then seeing his job taken away from him. By becoming the 22nd coach in Los Angeles Lakers history, one thing is for sure…
He’s got a helluva job in front of him.
Replacing Phil Jackson is a daunting task for any coach. But looking at the team he is taking over next season, there are quite a few issues with a team entering a crossroads season. Brown will have to figure out what’s left in Kobe Bryant‘s gas tank. Age has most certainly robbed him of his superior athletic gifts, but he still remains as lethal a scorer as anyone else in the league. But with high mileage on those knees, Brown will have to make swift decisions on how long he’ll play every night. Brown is known as a softy, which leads me to believe that if Kobe wants to play 40+ minutes a game, his “Put me in coach!” statements will be adhered to.
Brown has to figure out what’s going on with the Gasol–Bynum combo. They were soundly thrashed by the Mavericks and were severely outgunned by Dirk Nowitzki and out hustled by Tyson Chandler. Given their size, they should be a formidable force in the middle. Brown is going to have to figure out if he can make this work. He’s also going to have to hone the talents of Shannon Brown, who has a tremendous upside but vanished during the season. He could be a quality player off the bench if he could evolve. The Lakers point guard issue also needs fixing sooner than later. It’s obvious Derek Fisher can’t hang with the top tier PGs and some young legs will need to be brought in. Brown is going to have to manage the issue and hide the faults the best way he can.
Will this be a rebuilding year or a season where the Lakers can right the wrongs and make another run at a title? It all starts with Mike Brown.