Is it us, or is dude wearing an iPod while he’s coaching?
Just as nobody predicted, it looks like Your Los Angeles Lakers are about to hire former Cleveland Cavaliers coach Mike Brown as their new head coach. Kobe, pining for Brian Shaw, is (like the rest of us) apparently “surprised” by the news.
Does that make Brown’s hiring bad news? Uh, not exactly. Here’s why…
Dude can coach. In his five years in Cleveland, his teams went 272-138, winning him one Coach Of The Year award, and finishing with the league’s best record his last two seasons, making the NBA Finals in 2007. He got capped after his 66-win 2008-9 team got bounced by Orlando in the Eastern Conference Finals and last year’s team got run by Boston in the second round.
So, he can’t coach in the playoffs right? Sure. Never mind the fact that, in 2009, Brown was playing LeBron, Mo Williams, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Delonte West and Anderson Varejo, while Orlando was running out, among others, Dwight Howard, Rashard Lewis, Hedo Turkoglu and Skip To My Lou. They could have rolled out a trained monkey with that foursome and beaten the Cavs.
The team upgraded last year, picking up Antawn Jamison mid-season and signing The Ghost Of Shaqtus, who they got 53 games out of. How shocking that they got worked by a team featuring an All-Star starting five and depth players – Big Baby, ‘Sheed – who would have been the third-best dude in Cavs gear had they traded sides for the playoffs.
In other words, where the Sterling-like buffoon who owns the Cavaliers saw a guy whose teams failed in the playoffs, we see a coach whose teams had one superstar, one kinda star (Williams) and a cast of castoffs and overperformed year after year.
Brown is a defensive specialist as a coach, and, say it with us…defense wins championships! (That seems to be working out okay in Chicago, where the Bulls aren’t likely to win a title, but finally came of age under first-year coach Tom Thibodeau, the league’s reigning defensive genius.)
He’s 41, so we assume he can relate to players better than, say, a 65 year-old Rick Adelman. He seemed to get along well with LBJ, so that checks off the “can handle superstars” box on the checklist. (Yes, there were rumors he and ‘Bron weren’t making nice after the playoff loss last year, but how shocking that a superstar would grouse after going out early in the playoffs.) We also know that Kobe’s been talking defense in the off-season, which is a good sign.
We’d still have preferred Doc Rivers, who became unavailable with that contract extension that officially made him a Celtic in our eyes, meaning we now despise him, or D-Fish, who we think is going to be a tremendous head coach whenever he wants to be and is already the spiritual leader of the team.
However, we like the Brown hire…assuming it actually happens. Of course, we also liked the Lakers to go all the way and the Celtics to whack the Heat, so what do we know?*
*The answer to that question is we know how to “show the ladies around” at KCAL Keggers, so we’re like Charlie Sheen – we’re winning!!!