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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Top 5 Reasons Why L.A Lakers Season Ticket Holders are Shaking in Their Boots

So Mike Brown is the new coach of the Los Angeles Lakers.  Heard he’s a really great guy, a true family man and because of his personal attributes and style had a lot of success with the Cleveland Cavaliers coaching a basketball demigod.  He’s also supremely famous for focusing his efforts building up his teams’ prowess on the defensive side of the ball.  It all sounds like a really great recipe for a truly incredible partnership with the city of L.A., since we are such an NBA basketball crazy town. Okay, maybe not the whole year, but at least during the playoffs! 

However, there has been a serious uproar since yesterday here in L.A. against this spectacular new hire.  Here are the Top 5 Reasons Why L.A. Lakers Season Ticket Holders are Shaking in Their Boots.

5. Like ESPN/ABC announcer Mark Jackson says “A good offense beats a good defense every single time.”  Brown’s defensive philosophy was a big success for the Cavaliers, and resulted in their team defense being ranked consistently in the top five or six in the league for his last couple of years he was there.  Their defensive intensity led to many wins during the regular season, including the 2008-2009 campaign which culminated in Lebron James winning the first of two most valuable player awards and Brown hoisting up the coach of the year trophy.  However, that team was very young on average (excluding the 37 year-old Shaquille O’Neal) and had the legs to play a suffocating defense night in and night out for the entire season.  With the current aging Lakers roster, and a number of them well into their 30’s, Brown’s coaching prowess as a defense first coach may not be the best of fits for this proud but wobbly knee’d franchise.

4. This town is full of celebrities and needs a coach that has stars in his eyes.  Phil Jackson and Pat Riley are both masters of how to play a room and especially a big one the size of Staples Center (although Riley actually did it in the Great Western Forum, where he helped create the Showtime Lakers in the 80’s).  They are extremely versed in the fact that good entertainment is just as important as good basketball is in this La La land of Hollywood.  As ESPN’s Colin Cowheard said this morning on his nationally broadcast radio show “In an L.A. supermarket you’ll regularly run into Jennifer Anniston, but in a Cleveland supermarket you’ll just bump into Joe Anniston” (no relation of course).  Does Mr. Family Man, and generally good guy Mike Brown have the chops to handle the pressures and celebrity of Los Angeles?  This is 50/50 right now, so we’ll just have to wait and see.  However, those from smaller town markets haven’t really fared well here in the past (can you say Randy Pfund, Del Harris or Rudy T?) 

3. Here in L.A. we end up getting divorces and shacking up with the next pretty young thing in town.  When you think of Jerry Buss, you don’t usually picture strong family values (although half of his kids now work in the front office of the Lakers organization).  Your snickering little mind probably associates him more with Hugh Heffner and floating in the infamous grotto at one of his Playboy mansion parties or him playing no-limit Texas holdem poker with Larry Flynt at the Hustler Casino, rather than him picnicking with the fam bam on a Sunday afternoon in Griffith Park next to the observatory.  Will Brown really fit in to our culture here and adapt to our insensibilities about relationships and how we treat each other?  The problem is that we just don’t know, and if the Lakers start hitting rough patches and suffer several losses in a row under a new coach bringing with him a totally new system, will the fans ultimately turn on him and the team?

2. This is still Kobe Bryant’s team (well at least for the next couple of years).  No matter how much success you’ve had in the past and how well you’ve coached a superstar, you will have to mesh really well with Kobe or else your team will start piling up the losses and your Lakers coaching career will either be squashed by the owner or you’ll take yourself out (a la Rudy Tomjanovich a few years back, who couldn’t stomach the weight of our lofty expectations here in sunny California and just plain quit on us).  Not only Rudy, but Kobe drove out both Shaq and Phil (who at the time had coached 9 NBA Championship teams for gosh sakes!!).  Yes, coach Brown mentored Lebron for 5 years and built up an impressive winning percentage as the Cavaliers’ commander in chief, but this is a whole new animal out West.  The black mamba better agree to be in your corner for the long term, or watch out.  You may end up the way of the dodo bird.

1. Defense is great in the regular season, but complex offensive schemes win championships these days.  You may have one of the best regular season records ever as coach, but as a master coach of playoff basketball your record really stinks.  With the greatest player of his generation taking the ball up the court, outstanding speed and quickness with some of your younger players, and a few decent supporting players to take the pressure off the King on the wings, you still couldn’t get out of the second round of the playoffs last year.  Who the heck cares what you did in the pre-playoff season.  You couldn’t even get close to the promise land with a very good team.  How does that bode with this current Lakers team, who were completely Punk’d a couple of weeks ago in the playoffs by a Dallas team that some predicted would lose in 5 games to this tired-looking two-time defending champion.  The team doesn’t need a great regular season coach, but one that can make accurate strategic adjustments during the hard fought second season of basketball that starts in April.  Coach Brown just doesn’t seem to fit what the Lakers really need.       

Was his interview last Saturday with Jim Buss really that impressive, and enough to quickly discount Rick Adelman, Larry Brown, Jerry Sloan and Jeff Van Gundy, who all seem more capable than this very strange choice for the Lakers next band leader?  Time will only tell, and maybe we won’t have to list out the Top 5 Reasons Why L.A Lakers Season Ticket Holders are Shaking in Their Boots!


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