Following a 1-4 start, the Lakers have fired head coach Mike Brown. I feel bad for Mike Brown; the team was in the middle of learning a new offensive system, Steve Nash was injured, and Dwight Howard wasn’t close to 100%. But if the Lakers felt this was a bad hand, kudos to them for folding early and giving the team a shot at the goals they had at the beginning of the season – competing for best record, winning the west, and ultimately winning the championship. The Princeton offense was clearly a bad fit, at least so far, and the defense was in shambles. For a “defensive coach” like Brown, it was a terrible combination, especially when you consider the expectations this team had for the 2012-13 season.
Now the important question becomes, who takes over for Brown? It appears Chuck “The Rifleman” Person will fill in in the interim, but there are several names floating around as the permanent replacement. Jerry Sloan. Jeff Van Gundy. Mike D’Antoni. And of course, Phil Jackson. I find it hard to see Sloan being the choice and Van Gundy is probably a reach (especially when you consider his family’s relationship with Dwight at the moment). Right now, it appears D’Antoni is in the lead to replace Brown.
I wouldn’t say I’m especially overjoyed about the possibility of Coach Pringles being our savior. He never focused on defense, and the Lakers organization knows as well as any organization you must be a top-10 defense to compete for the title. His offense would certainly fit with Steve Nash and the myriad of pick-n-roll options he would have, but would that be enough to win deep into the playoffs? I don’t adhere to the notion that the presence of Dwight Howard will simply transform the Lakers into an elite defensive unit. He certainly is a huge help, but good defenses are built through a combination of schemes, practice, and personnel. Again, I’m unsure D’Antoni would ultimately take the Lakers where they are trying to go.
Of course, my dream scenario would be Big Chief Triangle motorcycling in from Montana and taking the reigns one more time. Jackson obviously has the credentials, and more importantly, the mettle to take a team of giant egos and mesh them into a cohesive, successful unit. Unfortunately, I don’t think the organization wants to bring in Phil because of the uneasy relationship he shares with Jim Buss. They practically purged the coaching staff of any Phil leftovers after 2011, and made it clear they wanted to go in a different direction.
But for now, Mike Brown is gone, and it is probably going to be the right decision in the long run. I felt Brown should probably get a little more time due to the circumstances and some favorable games coming up, but the Lakers aren’t playing around this season.