Saturday, October 22, 2011

Mike Brown Earning His Seat in L.A.

Phil Jackson stopped by Phil Jackson's office- yeah, it's his until L.A. wins another title- to speak with new Laker coach Mike Brown.  They talked players of course, and when Brown was interviewed, he spoke about the types of schemes he'd run.  While he couldn't be specific because of the lockout rules prohibiting him from talking about players, he did shed some light on what he plans to do.

Apparently, he'll use sets similar to the ones San Antonio used when Tim Duncan and David Robinson played together.  Last year, Kobe Bryant lost a step and wasn't as dependable as an offensive Constant, so spreading the offensive responsibility around evenly might make the Laker offense less predictable.  Brown can't make wings better 3-point shooters or ball-handlers, so Kobe's load will remain large, but if Brown runs more plays for Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum in the mid-post and low-post, it'll do two things:

Mike Brown must be firm with his new star-studded team.  
1.) It'll take the volume scoring load away from Kobe, preserving his energy for crucial times.  

2.)  It'll expedite the transition from a Kobe-centric "Triangle"- "all that means is 'get the hell out the way'"- to a more forceful interior-oriented offense as Kobe declines further.  

Brown was criticized for running uncreative sets in Cleveland while he coached LeBron James, and though those accusations held merit, Cleveland didn't have the all-around bevy of weapons L.A. possesses.  

Defensively, it seems he wants the bigs to show further away from the basket and hedge out quickly, then recover.  Bynum and Gasol didn't seem willing to do that last season, however, and they aren't the most lithe bigs around (Gasol has seen his most athletic days), so motivating them to do this will be a challenge.  

L.A. was at its best last season after the all-star break with Bynum committed to defense; Brown definitely is adept at getting young players to commit fully to D.  LeBron usually credits Brown for helping him with defensive fundamentals.  Now, James is one of the better perimeter defenders in the league.  

Brown can't solve all of L.A.'s problems, but if his coaching strategies can optimize the talent on the team, Phil Jackson might be stepping into Mike Brown's office next summer to talk players.    

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