So by now you have likely heard that Mike Brown has been fired as the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers after a mere five games into the season. This move somehow has managed to pull the interesting trick of being completely shocking, while at the same time being quite predictable. Wait a second guys, I can already hear your thoughts on this. “Jordan, lay off the hooch man! You aren’t making any sense!” Allow me to elaborate, fair reader, on what I mean.
The Lakers being the “all eyes on us” franchise that they are, any time there is merely ONE thing going wrong, the old media machine spins itself to life and starts churning out doomsday proclamations. “Kobe needs to pass more!” “The other players are bums, Kobe should pass less!” “Mike Brown couldn’t coach a Little Dribblers team!” “Did you see the way that Kobe looked at Mike Brown?” “Kobe has vowed to kill Mike Brown’s firstborn son if he doesn’t drop the Princeton offense!” And so on, and so forth, on into oblivion. It is the same sort of scrutiny the Cowboys face in football, and the Yankees in baseball.
Mike Brown is a good coach. By all accounts he has a hell of a work ethic, and has had a lot of success in the past implementing his schemes. But when the slightest thing not going according to plan can cause Lakerland earthquakes that defy the Richter scale, patience is not a thing one can preach, even if it may be all that one has. Mike Brown was handed a roster that one constructs in their wildest dreams. Titles were declared won before a single offseason game had been played.
Hit the jump for the rest of Jordan’s piece…
Most people thought there would be growing pains, but what the Lakers had looked more like death rattles. Every player on the team looked confused by Brown’s implementation of the Princeton offense, so there was no comfort there. No one thought that the defense would look this bad, but perhaps we should have. Aside from Dwight Howard, there really isn’t a player on this team who could be considered a defensive pest anymore. Kobe and Metta both have their moments, but age robbed them of their All-Defense team nominations a while ago. Steve Nash has always been a complete sieve even before he was 40. The less said about Antwan Jamison’s defensive machinations, the better.
The point being here, that if Dwight is not yet healthy enough to pull his patented “I’m going to basically guard the entire opposing team by myself” schtick yet, then this defensive collapse wasn’t necessarily something that no one could see coming, even if nobody did.
So between Dwight not being one hundred percent, and trying to implement a new defensive system while your starting point guard is injured, it really isn’t all that surprising that the Lakers are in this position. Lakerland being what it is, someone has to pay the piper, and that someone is Mike Brown.
So where does the Lakeshow go from here?
Well, there are a number of people that the Lakers could tap for this job, and all of them come with their own good and bad things. Let’s take a look at this real quick.
Nate McMillian? Intriguing. Had been a great coach for a long time with Portland, helping to keep them a winning team even when Greg Oden and Brandon Roy’s injuries should have left that team completely sunk. Facing that adversity would surely serve him well in LA. And while nothing can quite match the pressure of dealing with LA’s fanbase, the fans in Portland are pretty rabid. Ultimately, however, he was fired for losing his team last season, and if he couldn’t keep that roster under control, things could go down in flames if Kobe and crew don’t fall in line.
I also here Jerry Sloan’s name floated out there a lot. Jerry is about as respectable as coaches can get in this league, and has been around the black more than once. From Karl and John to Deron and Carlos, he always had his teams ready to play. This would be his most talented roster ever, bar none, and I’m sure given time, he could have them ready to play. But he left due to a flaming ego war with Deron Williams, and I’m honestly not sure he would even want to come to LA, given the high pressure, ego filled roster he would have to deal with.
Mike D’antoni is another mentioned candidate, and his relationship with Steve Nash makes him a good choice. But Mike has never been known for his defense, and that is something that would have to be fixed in order for the Lakers to ascend to the heights they are used to.
But seriously guys, what are we doing discussing all of this anyway? Don’t we already know who the Lakers should get for this job? Who is it that rallies the troops every time the purple and gold gets in a bind? You know, I know it, so let’s just say it.
Phil Friggin’ Jackson.
Let’s go down the checklist:
Does he command respect? More than anyone.
Can he control egos? If his Zen-Jedi mindtricks don’t work, a back hand from his ring-laden hands will.
Does he have an offensive system that could be put in on the fly? Kobe, Pau, and Metta already know the Triangle, and the rest should be able to learn it easily.
In truth, the Lakers probably should have called Phil the moment this roster was assembled. This is exactly the type of super-talented, psychotically ego-filled roster that Phil has always rode to a ring, because he is the only one capable of getting a roster this talented to listen and buy in.
Mike Brown is a good coach, but not for this type of team. I know some have had the thought that he might be able to pull a Spoelstra and make it work. But you know what let Spoelstra make it work? A huge vote of confidence from Pat Riley. Mike Brown obviously didn’t have that vote of confidence from his management or his players. Jackson has all the confidence that anyone could ever need.
So the Lakers need to call Phil up, and then take a bit of advice from one Rasheed Wallace:
Cut the check.
Jordan Akin feels any article that ends with a Sheed joke is obviously Pulitzer material. You can deflate his massive ego on Twitter @jakin1013, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.