When a team that has lofty expectations starts to struggle, the coach is often the scapegoat.
Mike Brown has the unenviable position of being the main scapegoat for the Los Angeles Lakers problems. Many are calling for him to be fired, but that’s not the answer and it won’t fix the real reason that the Lakers are struggling.
Let’s take a look at Mike Brown’s resume before we address the Lakers’ real problems. He’s 314-166 in his career as a coach. He’s never had a losing season, and only once has he finished with a winning percentage of less than 61 percent.
Brown has a history of winning and knows how to do it.
He was blessed with LeBron James in his first five years as a head coach and now has a superstar-laden Lakers team.
The real problem with the Lakers right now is a lack of quality time together. This is something that no coach can do anything about. Not Phil Jackson, not Jeff Van Gundy and obviously not Brown.
The Lakers finally started showing signs of the principles that Brown has been putting in place. They shared the ball extremely well, they defended and rebounded as a team and they forced more turnovers than they committed.
Pau Gasol took the most shots (16), followed by Dwight Howard (14), Metta World Peace (11) and Kobe Bryant (10). Three different players had seven rebounds, four others had five and the Lakers were plus-13 in the overall rebounding battle.
Defensively, they challenged more shots and harassed the Pistons into shooting a horrid 35.4 percent from the field. They came up with 11 steals and blocked eight shots.
It’s this kind of balance that the Princeton offense is made for.
It’s designed to take advantage of many different skilled players and the system makes the players, not the other way around. It takes some courage. Buying into a system as a star is difficult, but Brown is really stressing that it’s best for their chance to win theNBA championship.
Replacing Brown right now would be pulling the plug on the Lakers just as they’re showing signs of life. Don’t forget that they’ve been (and still are) dealing with a bunch of injuries.
Bryant has quipped that his foot feels “like it’s about to fall off.” Howard is still recovering from his back surgery and is finally showing some lift, and Steve Nash is out at least a week with his leg fracture.
The Lakers have played a total of two full games with their starters and zero with them healthy. The first was a preseason loss to the Sacramento Kings in which no starter posted a negative plus/minus. The second was the season-opening loss to the Dallas Mavericks.
One thing is certain about the Lakers, they haven’t played their full team together as a healthy unit. That means they haven’t come close to reaching their potential. It’s not the coaches’ fault and it’s not fair to blame the players.
Give them time—they haven’t had enough of it yet.
Article Originally Written For Bleacher Report
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