Is Mike Brown the right man for the job?
Amid all of the early season disappointment and confusion amongst the players, fans are left pondering this very question.
Mike Brown was hired to replace Hall of Fame head coach Phil Jackson who accrued five of his eleven NBA championships while in Los Angeles. It was already understood that Brown would have big shoes to fill. However, no one knew quite how big those shoes were.
Of the 15 players on the Lakers roster, 10 began the season more familiar with Jackson’s trademark “triangle” offense than any other type of NBA offensive system. This includes the stars of the team in Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, and Andrew Bynum. Bryant was quoted stating the offense is “under construction” implying that no one on this roster is comfortable enough with this new offense to execute effectively.
Under Mike Brown’s offense, Bryant’s field goal attempts per game are the second highest of his career at 24.8 attempts per game and his minutes are up by nearly four minutes per game from last season. Considering his age (33, with 16 years of NBA experience) and injured wrist, one has to wonder if Bryant’s current level of play could actually be more detrimental to the team than it is helpful.
Gasol has also complained about his current role in the new-look offense. He has asked for more looks in the post than what he is currently receiving as he has seen his field goal percentage take a hit under the new system (50.9 percent compared to 52.9 percent last season).
Brown has placed more emphasis on Andrew Bynum being a post presence and his production has increased but only at the expense of Gasol’s more polished offensive impact.
The Lakers have only scored 100 or more points once since the season began in December and are ranked 20th in the league in points per game (92.3). They are also the worst team in the NBA at three-point percentage at 25.6 percent.
Brown has been handed a championship contender but has instilled a completely different offensive system than the one that led the Lakers to the NBA Finals three of the last four seasons.
That leaves me to wonder why someone such as former Lakers assistant coach Brian Shaw (who not only coached under Jackson’s offense but also played under it) was overlooked for the head coaching job. It just seems to make more sense to maintain the formula that has proven to work rather effectively over the years for this Lakers team.
At 10-8 (10th in the West) the Lakers have clearly been underperforming and a finger needs to be pointed at Lakers’ head coach Mike Brown.