That didn’t take long, did it? The Lakers start the season with an unattractive style of play and an uninspired effort and Mike Brown is right back to being public enemy number one. I understand it’s the first week of the season but I also understand that this is the Lakers and this current group of guys has an expiration date on it.
Before you expect anything to happen anytime soon, Mike Brown is in the second year of a four-year, $18 million deal that contains a team option for the fourth year. So while it wasn’t surprising to see Brown retained after last year’s shortened 66-game season, it isn’t inconceivable to see Brown replaced closer to the season’s halfway point when his contract has just a season-and-change of guaranteed money left on it. The only problem is there’s a better chance of Brown being replaced by one of his 18 assistants than by anyone you’d put on your own personal wish list. This team isn’t doing any better with Eddie Jordan, Bernie Bickerstaff, or Chuck Person at the helm.
Mike Brown seems like a nice guy. But it still looks like he’s in way over his head. This isn’t the right city or the right franchise for him and it’s hard to see things working out any time soon. I understand that this team has a lot of new pieces but it’s not like there was a time last season when anyone looked at this team and thought, “I feel good about where this team is headed.”
Since going up 3-1 on Denver in the first round of last year’s playoffs, the Lakers have lost 17 of their last 19 games. So what if eight of those games didn’t count? The bottom line is there’s now a loser stink on this team that seems to be getting worse. Teams are no longer scared of the Lakers. Even worse, they have gone from thinking, “We can beat those guys” to thinking “We will beat those guys.” I wonder what Phil Jackson thinks about that? He’s got to feel like the guy who sells his 50-year old pizza shop and then finds out that the new owner ditched his classic recipe in favor of selling microwavable Mama Celestes. I’ve heard a lot of people compare Mike Brown to one of those spoiled Super Sweet Sixteen girls who gets her driver’s license and her dad gives her a Ferrari.
One of the stupidest things to come out of the Bush administration was the Homeland Security Advisory System. It was a color chart that was used to alert Americans as to the threat level of a potential terror attack. The chart became a running joke and was openly mocked by everyone. But I can’t think of a better way to gauge the hot-seat of Mike Brown:
Since the Lakers were bounced out of last year’s playoffs in only five games, Brown should have started the season on blue. Had the team lost a major piece and made a turn towards rebuilding you could have even downgraded him down a notch to green. But the complete opposite happened. Brown was handed an even better team and with it came raised expectations. As a result of the team’s poor preseason performance and shoddy start to the regular season, I think it’s safe to say that Mike Brown is on yellow. He might not be in danger of losing his job just yet but the fans and members of the media have already turned on him. He’s just a couple more losses away from his team and the front office turning on him as well.
The unfortunate thing is that rarely are coaches fired mid-season and not replaced by one of their assistant coaches on an interim basis. Considering that the Lakers have two assistant coaches with head coaching experience, Bernie Bickerstaff and Eddie Jordan, there’s a much better chance that either of them or assistant Chuck Person would take over for Brown if the team were to dismiss him. So those of you pining for Mike D’Antoni, Jerry Sloan, or Phil Jackson should remember that. Those of you who want Brian Shaw and Byron Scott need to realize that they currently have jobs and can’t just leave them tomorrow. The Cavs recently exercised their third-year option on Byron Scott’s contract.
One of the reasons that Brian Shaw wasn’t given a fair shot at the Lakers head coaching job was that despite of it’s success, Jerry Buss was never a fan of the Triangle Offense. For a guy who bankrolled the most entertaining brand of basketball ever, he yearned for a team that even just slightly resembled the Showtime Lakers. Shaw fully intended on continuing with the Triangle if given the chance to take over for Jackson. Somebody should have told him to lie. Even though it wasn’t exciting, the Triangle yielded results. A triple-post offense might not be fun but you know what is? Winning. Right now Mike Brown isn’t giving us entertaining or winning — a recipe for disaster. That can’t bode well for his future unless he starts to do something about it quickly.
Some guys are just destined to be life-long assistants. It’s becoming more and more apparent that Mike Brown might be one of those guys.