Mike Brown is out in LA, so where do the Lakers go from here?
Mike Brown has been fired as head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers after starting the season 1-4. The Lakers acquired two superstars in Steve Nash and Dwight Howard in the off-season, and Brown was having trouble getting the new team to mesh and play to their potential.
However, he was only given five regular season games to prove himself with his new squad. That’s simply unfair. Are Mitch Kupchak and Jerry Buss’ standards really that high? Apparently a coach only gets five regular season games to prove himself in L.A. It’s hard to develop chemistry with that many all-star players and personalities. It seems as though the Lakers succumbed to pressure from the fans and pulled the trigger on Brown way too early. The Lakers are in a “win now” situation, but I believe Brown should have been given more of a chance.
But, he was not. Brown is no longer the coach of the Lakers and now they need to find someone to replace him, fast. The first name that comes to mind is Phil Jackson. The former Lakers coach has 11 championships, seven of them came with the Lakers. He has managed absurd amounts of talent before. Jackson was the brains behind the Bulls’ dynasty with MJ, Pippen and Rodman. He found a way to make Kobe and Shaq co-exist on the court. He even won with Kobe, Lamar Odom, Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol. The man is just a winner. But, he retired after the 2011 season, and is most likely done coaching. There is a small chance that he comes back to coach the Lakers, simply because of the massive talent that they have. But that is quite unlikely, the Zen Master has most likely peaced out for good.
Jerry Sloan’s name has been thrown around as an option for the next Lakers’ head coach. Sloan is the only NBA coach in history to have over 1,000 wins with one team. He was the Utah Jazz’s coach from 1988 to 2011, and is most famous for coaching the dominant tandem of John Stockton and Karl Malone. He is also famous for never winning a title. While Sloan could most likely coach the Lakers well, something about him just doesn’t seem very “L.A.” He knows how to coach great point guards and big men, like Nash and Howard, but I see Kobe presenting problems for him. Sloan would be a nice hire, but not the best one.
The best hire for the Lakers would be Mike D’Antoni. Steve Nash won two league MVPs with D’Antoni as his coach in Phoenix, and the Suns were a perennial threat in the West during that period. D’Antoni won a Coach of the Year Award with his “Seven Seconds Or Less” offense in Phoenix with Nash, Amar’e, Leandro Barbosa, Boris Diaw and Shawn Marion. The Suns literally tried to score in seven seconds or less under D’Antoni, and it usually worked. Nash and D’Antoni were like peanut butter and jelly in Phoenix, it was meant to be. And it’s meant to be again in the City of Angels. Gasol could play Diaw’s role better, by playing off of Dwight and hitting short jumpers. Dwight would be better than Amar’e was at running the court and feasting off Nash assists, he would also be better defensively.
Again though, Kobe is the wild card. D’Antoni didn’t have a dominant scorer at shooting guard like Kobe in Phoenix, and that offense was complex enough without one. The Phoenix offense was largely operated on a “controlled chaos” basis, relying on high speed play and pick-and-rolls to score in Blitzkrieg fashion. Could Kobe fit into that type of offense at his age? The answer is yes. Kobe ranked 41st in the NBA in pick and roll scoring last season according to mySynergy Sports, and that was without Steve Nash and D’Antonio. Imagine the possibilities. Kobe will get his buckets, he’s too good and too determined not to.
D’Antoni did struggle when he was reunited with Amar’e in New York, but that was because of Melo’s selfish play and the absence of Nash . That Knicks team just wasn’t built for D’Antoni, but the Lakers are. Nash and D’Antoni are a match made by the basketball gods. D’Antoni knows Kobe from being an assistant coach on Team USA. He is the perfect match for L.A. and the Lakers would be sadly mistaken to hire anyone else.