With the Lakers' loss last night to the Utah Jazz, head coach Mike Brown’s seat is getting hotter and hotter by the day. When a team that has four potential Hall-of-Famers on its roster isn’t winning games, that’s a problem and the easy thing to do is blame the man in charge, the coach. Like most fans, Lakers’ fanatics have a tendency to overreact but in this case they are right, Mike Brown needs to go. The coach of this Lakers team doesn’t have to do much to produce victories. He must have the respect of his team, and inspire them to have the will to dig deep on defense and make smart plays on offense.
Put simply, Kobe Bryant does not respect Mike Brown as a coach. He may like Mike Brown as a person, as a friend, but the dynamic between a team’s best player and their coach is a different thing. During time outs, Mike Brown is preaching to his team and Kobe can be seen at the end of the bench in his own world. Bryant has five championships and almost 30,000 points in 17 years of professional basketball. Mike Brown has been in the NBA for over 20 years and has learned under some of the best coaches in history but he has never won a championship as a head coach. There isn’t much he can teach Kobe, and the few things he can, Bryant doesn’t seem willing to listen. Phil Jackson had the complete respect of Kobe because he had 13 total rings to back his teachings up. Jackson could inspire his team year after year, even when he coached players with enormous egos like Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, Michael Jordan, Dennis Rodman, and Scottie Pippen.
The defense of Los Angeles has been terrible, to say the least. Defense, as any analyst will say, comes down to will, the will to go out and sacrifice your body to prevent the opposition from scoring. Defense isn’t sexy, but it wins championships. Mike Brown doesn’t seem to have what it takes to get the most out of his team.
Managing player's minutes also is a determinant factor of a great coach and Brown has yet to learn how to manage the playing time of his veteran squad. However, Brown is correct in having the starters play heavy minutes early in the season due to the lack of production from the bench. It’s the timing of the substitutions that he has yet to master. The argument that it is still early in the season is a bad one. He’s now had 13 games to figure it out, granted the Lakers have been ravaged by injuries, but that should have actually given him a better idea of how to play bench players.
With the way the Lakers are playing, Los Angeles has some tough games ahead. Golden State is a young athletic team that can shoot, much like the Clippers and Jazz that have beat them this season. The Sacramento Kings beat the Lakers not once, not twice, but three times in the preseason. San Antonio has always caused problems for the Lakers. Phoenix may be an easy game, but then comes four potential losses in a row to Houston, Brooklyn, Sacramento again, and Memphis. The reasons for the losses thus far aren’t difficult to detect. Bad defense and too many turnovers, two things which can be traced back to coaching, have led to the Lakers 1-4 start to the season. If the Lakers don’t win at least four of the next six games (all of which are at home) Mike Brown should be let go before December comes around.
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