Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Mike Brown, Clueless

Ignoring for a moment his reputation for being clueless as an offensive head coach, it’s new Lakers head coach Mike Brown’s staggering lack of understanding of PR that makes me believe he’s destined to fail in Los Angeles.

See the excerpt below, with italics for emphasis:

“We’re not going to run the triangle offense, but we will have bits and pieces of it that will be incorporated,” said Brown, adding that his offense will be tailored to 7-footers Bynum and Gasol, similar to what was run for big men Tim Duncan and David Robinson during his time as an assistant in San Antonio.

Brown was on the Spurs’ staff when they won the 2003 NBA title.

Brown ticked off his top three essentials on both offense and defense.

If they don’t buy in right away, they will,” he said. “If they don’t, there’s going to be a problem because I’m going to hold people accountable.

Really, Mike? You’re going to publically announce that you’ll run the offense through a duo that includes the oft-injured Bynum and the unmotivated Gasol? When you have one of the ten best players in NBA history on your roster? When that player – Kobe Bryant – is the key to whether you keep your job or not?

I get not kowtowing to a prickly, aging superstar and I get that you want to come in with the respect of your players – hence the line about accountability and everyone buying in – but you catch many more flies with honey than with vinegar and if there’s one thing we know about NBA superstars it’s that they don’t respond well to veiled threats, especially not from guys with no credibility in the league. Phil Jackson could be a smug bastard and take shots at his players through the media because he had 11 rings. Mike Brown is a nobody in basketball by comparison.

Mike, baby, learn your place. You were hired to be the coach but if you don’t know that Kobe calls the shots, you’re hopeless.


Gutsy Goldberg said...

I have many things I could say about Mike Brown....
1) Honestly, I hated him so much for such a long time, with my hatred of him reaching its peak in 2008, before he let one of his assistants run the offense. The assistant was Kuester, who then became the Pistons coach.
2) I also have a serious grudge against Mike Brown for yielding to playing Shaq and especially Jamison way too many minutes against Boston last year in the playoffs when Hickson and Varejao had demolished Boston during the season (and shaq and Jamison were getting owned by boston during the playoffs).

However, with my long background out of the way, I think Mike Brown is actually a very good coach. He coaches defense, he has now learned how to delegate some offensive responsibilities, and honestly, Mike Brown is the best coaching candidate out there right now, shocking as that sounds. Look at his resume (conference finals, nba finals, two 60-win seasons). It's similar to rick carlyle's resume when he took a year off... then got hired by Dallas. At this point, the only coaches with championships on their resume are phil jackson, doc rivers, popovich, and larry brown. i'd put mike brown right behind those guys, unless you wanted rick adelman.

In addition, I think if there's one thing I learned, it's that Mike Brown caters more to stars (i.e. LeBron, Shaq, Jamison) then he does to anything else. I believe Mike Brown will have plenty of shots for Kobe, despite what this quote says.

Mighty Mike said...

It was a bad hire and it will end badly ....if only because your dealing with a prickly aged superstar and stupid management...

MJ said...

@Gutsy: I'm not saying Mike Brown is a bad head coach. I'm in no position to judge him in that capacity because I didn't watch enough Cavs games to know anything beyond what national news sources were reporting (or what you, Laz and Mighty would tell me as Cavs fans). His reputation is as a defensive coach with limited offensive know-how but I suppose if he's able to delegate offense to an assistant that is qualified in that regard, that's a step in the right direction.

The other part of your comment I can speak to, however: part of a coach's job is to play the best players on the team. If playing Jamison and O'Neal cost the Cavs a chance to beat Boston last year beacuse better players -- namely Hickson and Varejao -- were on the bench, that's entirely on Mike Brown and has nothing to do with his defensive credentials or his ability to delegate to assistants. If he delegated substitution and usage duties to his assistant then it speaks to a guy that isn't really a coach at all and is a bad hire for other reasons entirely.

I realize that he had a reputation as a push-over to Lebron and, thus, we can infer that he'll permit Bryant to run the team. That alone is troublesome for other reasons. Bryant was granted a wide berth for his own freelancing under Jackson, as Jordan and Pippen were in Chicago in the 90's. There's nothing inherently wrong with different rules for different players. Having said that, these players have to respect their coach enough to know just how far they can stray from the team-oriented concept. Why would Bryant respect Brown if Bryant didn't approve Brown's hiring?

I see Brown as a condemned man here. He's talking a tough game which can only serve to alienate Bryant. However, if he kowtows to Bryant without having earned his respect, it won't matter how free Bryant feels because the respect between player and coach won't constrain Bryant from taking his own ego too far. We've seen the same thing from other star players.

Gutsy Goldberg said...

@MJ - I think I agree with everything you just said. When it came to crunch time in the playoffs, Brown abandoned what was best, and his judgmnet was clouded by the large personalities in the locker room. Brown's experience at Cleveland suggests he will yield to Kobe. It's probably not good in the long-term. Of course, things aren't always linear in life, and sometimes a coach learns a great deal by failing in cleveland (just ask Bill Belichick). I'm rooting for Mike Brown the person, but I too have my doubts because I believe he will yield too much to Kobe.

MJ said...

I think it all boils down to this: Kobe didn't want Mike Brown so it will be nearly impossible for Bryant and Brown to co-exist without either (1) Brown alienating Bryant when he tries to reign in his star player or (2) Brown kowtowing to Bryant to the point that it hurts the team, in which case the blame will go to Brown.

Mike Brown signed a four year contract but I have a hard time seeing make it past two years in LA. The Lakers may never win another title in Kobe Bryant's time there and there's no doubt that the blame will fall on Brown's shoulders.

Frankly, he's an idiot for having agreed to the job. There's no upside to being fired by the Lakers, alienating Kobe Bryant and being scapegoated for not turning a talented roster into a championship winner. Whether he was the most qualified candidate or not, both sides would've been better off without the other.

Mighty Mike said...

I want to say tho what an awful move by the Lakers (my understanding it was the ownership that did this). They're basically putting Brown in a no win situation to begin with as MJ said...and that's before taking into account his coaching issues

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