No Time Like Showtime
“ I guess people think Grant Hill is a good player or whatever, but guarding Kobe he looks so old you feel like he should be wearing gym shorts on the outside of his sweat pants. ”
The Brothers K give John Krolik some space to talk about Mike Brown, New Lakers Coach, and how he’ll fit with L.A.’s personnel and philosophies. I have to say that I’m calming down a little bit.
The main concern everyone has is that Brown is a terrible offensive coach, but Krolik says that Brown actually ran a good, imaginative, fluid offense when he had the personnel to do so. When his backcourt was Larry Hughes and Eric Snow, his reputation was built, and he couldn’t shake it down the road. Looking at the team’s offensive efficiency numbers in 2009 and 2010 (4th and 6th in the league), I buy this.
On the flip side, the vaunted Cavalier defense should be perhaps be, um, unvaunted a bit. They weren’t bad, certainly (3rd and 7th the last two seasons), but their low points-allowed totals were driven in no small part by their glacial pace (25th in both seasons). Obviously this plays into the perceptions of their offensive ability as well — you can score 1.11 points per possession, but if you’re only running 90 possessions in a game, your total points won’t look very impressive.
The fourth question, unfortunately, and overlapping with some of the stuff the A’s are dealing with right now, is the respect issue. Kobe Bryant certainly lobbied for Brian Shaw as the next Lakers coach, so pulling in a big outside name who LeBron clearly soured on over the course of his time in Cleveland is risky. How well the Lakers run whatever offensive system Brown institutes (or keeps, if he decides to keep running the triangle) depends largely on Kobe’s buy-in. If Bryant feels that the team isn’t utilizing its resources correctly, he might end up freelancing, and that only creates a vicious cycle, because then reporters start asking questions about whether Kobe, who just took 29 shots in a close loss to a mediocre team, is breaking the flow too much. If Brown doesn’t rein that tendency in, L.A. will go nowhere, especially given Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol’s propensities to get frustrated with a lack of touches. But if Brown calls Kobe out in the media as Phil Jackson would do from time to time, particularly if he does it without the adroit blend of brutal honesty and delicacy that Jackson often displayed, and particularly if Kobe is already feeling sour towards Brown, a bad situation could take a hard right turn to horrible.
All that said, Kobe is, whatever his occasional petulance, a professional. So is Mike Brown. If the coaching staff comes in to training camp with a working offense and a plan for how to take the team to the top, I think he’ll buy in, regardless of where Brian Shaw is working. (And I can’t imagine that’ll be in L.A.)