James Worthy Has High Expectations for Mike Brown, Lakers

After a relatively disappointing season a year ago, Mike Brown and the Los Angeles Lakers are reloaded and re-energized entering the 2012-13 season. Thanks to an overhauled roster that now hosts (at least) four future Hall of Famers, the Lakers are primed and ready for a run at their 17th NBA championship.

But one question mark still remains in Brown, who is still a relatively unproven commodity in the NBA despite leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to the NBA Finals back in 2007.

During a conference call on Thursday morning, Laker analyst for Time Warner Cable SportsNet and NBA Hall of Famer James Worthy discussed what he expects from Brown this season, and how the addition of a player like Steve Nash can impact Brown’s role as head coach.

“With Steve Nash – it’s like having a coach on the floor. This is not a young team. I think when you have veteran players, guys who have been in the league, you don’t necessarily have chemistry issues with guys who are looking to win.”

Worthy mentioned how big of an impact he thinks Nash will have on the team this season, and mentioned that he will be the biggest new name on the team in 2013. Still, Brown is going to have to do what he does best, and make sure the team’s defense is up to par.

“It’s the defense. Mike Brown is a great defensive coach, and that’s what I think the focus will be on.”

The Lakers started out last season with a renewed sense of urgency on the defensive end, but by the end of the season that desire had seemingly disappeared. If they want to regain their championship form from their back-to-back titles in 2009 and 10, they will have to once again build around their defense and focus on stopping opposing teams from scoring at will.

A lot of this will come down to Brown, and whether or not he can not only elevate his team, but himself as well.

“Brown has to hold his own. He has to own it. Last year he was trying to deal with the personalities. He has to take charge. He has to take control. Not that he didn’t (last year), but I think a lot of the time he tried to incorporate too much and had too much on his plate.”

There’s no doubt that the team can only go as far as the coach can lead them, and there have been questions surrounding Brown ever since he was hired by the Lakers prior to last season. But if there’s one example he can look to as a somewhat similar scenario it’s Erik Spoelstra in Miami. He was another coach handed the basketball equivalent of a lofty trust fund and had to mature as a coach in order to take them over the top. He succeeded, leading Miami to the 2012 NBA title.

Brown can do that too. But just like he will need to see improvements and dedication from his players, he will have to do the same as their coach.

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