Contrary to popular opinion I don’t have a problem with the Lakers hiring Mike Brown. Listening to the reaction this week after the Lakers announced that Brown would be the new coach; you would have thought they hired Bobby Brown.
“Worst hire ever!” screamed one talk radio caller. “Absolutely horrible in handling superstars and he constantly gets outcoached in big games,” said another. And on and on it went. In newspapers, on the radio, on television, Brown was ripped up one side and down the other after being named Laker Coach.
Stephen A. Smith, on ESPN radio, cut into Brown for saying he was a family man.
“LA fans don’t care if you’re a family man. They don’t care if you like to spend time with your wife and kids,” Smith cried. “All they care about is winning.”
Okay, fans want to win. That’s fine. But what’s the problem with him saying he is a family man? I suppose they would like Brown better if he said he hated kids and mistreated women. I don’t know.
I don’t know if I’ve ever seen such hatred spewed out towards an individual before he ever coached his first game.
One caller said Brown couldn’t coach the Lakers because he had never won a championship. Then he spent the next several minutes making a case for Rick Adelman who, oh yeah by the way, has never won a championship.
Before you join the Brown bashing take a look at the alternatives. There’s Adelman who besides being trophy-less is 65 years old. How long is he going to last? Do the Lakers really want a guy who’s going to be here for 2 years? Adelman is just a year younger than Phil Jackson who’s is currently busy looking at retirement plans.
There’s Jeff Van Gundy who seems to be content doing color commentary for ABC. Van Gundy has a fiery personality but also a personality that grates on players after a couple of years. The Lakers still have a core group of veteran stars – Kobe Bryant, Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol, Derek Fisher – who don’t need to be motivated by rah rah speeches. Oh and Van Gundy never won a championship either.
There’s Byron Scott and yes I agree he would have been good. But the bottom line is he wasn’t available. I was surprised when he signed the deal with Cleveland last year when he knew the Laker job was going to open up in a year. But the fact is he did and he can’t get out of it now.
Some mentioned Kurt Rambis. Well Rambis is locked in at Minnesota and even if he wasn’t we’ve seen him before. He was the head coach of the Lakers in 1999 and he wasn’t retained. He’s won 32 games in two years at Minnesota. Now granted it’s the T-Wolves but some people are good head coaches and some are good assistants. Rambis is a good assistant.
There’s Mike Dunleavy but let’s face it do you really think Laker fans would welcome a guy that was fired by the Clippers?
There’s Brian Shaw who did get an interview. Shaw knows the players and is familiar with the system. But interviews are where jobs are won and lost and Brown won it with his. You can’t blame the Laker brass for picking the guy who impressed them more. And as far as experience Brown does have the edge there.
The fans only care about winning. Okay well Brown had a .663 winning percentage in five years as head coach of Cleveland. Known as a defensive specialist, Brown led the Cavs to the NBA Finals once and to the playoffs all five years. His focus is on defense and isn’t that the main problem with the Lakers right now?
He couldn’t get along with LeBron? C’mon Jackson ripped Kobe in a book and returned to win two titles. Every coach has had a run in with a player.
So before you write the guy off let’s wait and see what Brown can do for you.
That’s my principle.
Tim can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org