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Mike Brown can win with Lakers if Kobe buys in

May 26, 2011, 11:57 AM EDT

Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant talks during a news conference after the Lakers were knocked out of the NBA basketball playoffs in Los Angeles AP

Mike Brown was hired because he was not Phil Jackson.

That’s not all of it — all accounts around the league are that Mike Brown gives good job interview, and his defense-first philosophy is a good fit — but not being part of the Phil Jackson coaching tree mattered. This was Jim Buss’ move to assert himself in the organization, to make his mark. And part of that was breaking from Jackson, who Buss did not get along with. At all. Jackson said they spoke once all season.

That doesn’t mean this can’t work for the Lakers.

But all that hinges on Kobe Bryant buying in. Completely.

There needs to be more, too — roster changes including a new point guard, for one — but it starts with Kobe. This is his team, he is the leader. Someday it will be Andrew Bynum’s team (he is Buss’ boy and if you think the Lakers are trading him you are mistaken) but right now it’s all about Kobe Bryant.

If he leads, others will fall in line. If he doesn’t, drama will ensue. As will losses.

Officially the Lakers are saying Kobe is on board, and during a halftime interview on ESPN Wednesday night Mike Brown said he has had a couple of texts with Bryant.

But when the Los Angeles Times reached Bryant to ask him about Brown, he had no comment. What is clear is that as part of Buss — both Jim and Jerry — reasserting themselves Kobe was not consulted on the hire. That’s not really a huge shock, the Buss family has done things like this before, but it chafes at Kobe.

Which brings us back to him buying in.

At the end of the day, he will (if he hasn’t already). Because he wants to win, and mutiny is not going to get him another ring. And not only will he fall in line, the team will come with him.

With Kobe onboard, this can work for the Lakers. Mike Brown is a good defensive coach and that is the end of the court where the Lakers need work. With Bryant, Pau Gasol, Bynum, Lamar Odom and others scoring points was never going to be the Lakers issue. Their offense was sixth in the NBA in points per possession last season. They will be fine.

They also have the sixth-rated defense in the league, but it was inconsistent. By the Dallas series it had collapsed, nobody helped the helper, guys just seemed to float through plays. Brown can change that. Will change that. If Kobe buys in.

There will need to be changes on the offensive end. Derek Fisher sort of worked as a triangle initiator. Barely. But as a traditional point guard he did not impress in Golden State and Utah — and that was five years ago. Steve Blake can be a backup, but the Lakers need to get a new, solid point guard. Not a ball-dominating guy, but a guy who can set the table and knock down shots, plus play a little defense.

They need a more athletic roster. They need to buy in fully for whatever offense Brown brings in. They have to play as a unit.

They know how to do it. They have done it. And if they buy in they can be contenders again under Brown.

But it all starts with Kobe.

  1. purdueman - May 26, 2011 at 12:18 PM

    That’s a mighty big IF though. Kobe has never respected any coach who hasn’t come in with at least one or more rings as a coach (after all, lots of slugs in the NBA who ride the pine at the back of the bench have won rings, like Will Perdue who has three).

    I figured out why the Laker Homers, Honks and bandwagoners all disappeared off this forum last night like cock roaches scurrying for cover when the lights are turned on. They must have all been out celebrating the hiring of Bonehead Brown! (bwahahahahahaha!)

  2. themanchine - May 26, 2011 at 12:25 PM

    There needs to be more, too — roster changes including a new point guard, for one — but it starts with Kobe. This is his team, he is the leader. Someday it will be Andrew Bynum’s team (he is Buss’ boy and if you think the Lakers are trading him you are mistaken) but right now it’s all about Kobe Bryant.

    Bye-bye Pau.

  3. rajbais - May 26, 2011 at 12:32 PM

    Any coach that kissed LeBron’s face after Game 5 of the 2007 Eastern Conference Finals is not someone that I want coaching Kobe!!!!!!!!

  4. bigtrav425 - May 26, 2011 at 12:34 PM

    He also needs how to learn how to make Halftime adjustments.which he has been horrible at so far in his career

  5. danvoges - May 26, 2011 at 12:42 PM

    kobe and fisher are boys, i cant see the lakers getting rid of fisher. then again, i couldnt see mike brown being hired as head coach…

    • themanchine - May 26, 2011 at 12:47 PM

      Fisher is under contract, and noone is taking that contract off LA’s hands. He’ll back, probably off the bench, unless he retires,

    • SmackSaw - May 26, 2011 at 2:11 PM

      Fisher doesn’t like Kobe. Trust me.

  6. craigw24 - May 26, 2011 at 1:11 PM

    Los Angeles just cannot live without drama. If there is none, then the “talking heads” and the “sportswriters” will make sure and invent something.

    That there is some kind of conspiracy here seems a bit much. Sure, Jim Buss didn’t get along with Phil Jackson – many people don’t (see Kobe Bryant from 1999-2004). Phil Jackson demands control (see Jerry West). Phil is the ultimate manipulator (see Scotty Pippin or Kobe Bryant_1). This is also part of what makes him a great coach.

    Well, Phil is gone and the organization has to reorder itself in this power vacuum. That is what is going on, nothing more.

    We all want some ‘name’ player to come to the club and immediately give the club some further aspect of a change. The truth is the Lakers already have three young players on their club that can very well see increased playing time – Trey Johnson (PG), Devin Ebanks (SF), and Derrick Caracter (PF/C). These players aren’t the answer to any prayers, but they have seen NBA play in the playoffs. There are 4 picks in the second round and the Lakers could keep at least one of those.

    There are changes coming, they just may not be big, fancy names. I suspect the new coaching staff will give the younger players more rope than Phil Jackson did. Since I believe the lockout will be longer than suspected and the Lakers will be adjusting to so much change, I suspect next year will be one of transition, not championship. However, we may be better set going forward then people want to acknowledge right now.

    • purdueman - May 26, 2011 at 1:43 PM

      You make a good point in that Phil Jackson openly loathed playing rookies and young players, but by the same token I think you way over estimate the ceiling on the guys you mention too.

      If I were Kupchak, I’d trade Odom and the unwanted sideshow that his celebrity marriage baggage that accompanies him everywhere to land a starting point guard. Assuming that Jim Buss gets his way and the triangle offense if finally junked, a legit (but not necessarily an established star), point guard is critical to future success.

      I wouldn’t do much past that though, as to do so would throw the Lakers into mediocrity and/or rebuilding mode. This is an aging veteran (but talented), team who’s window of opportunity is now only about 2-3 years so making major roster changes I think would be a mistake.

      • craigw24 - May 26, 2011 at 5:46 PM

        I wasn’t even trying to set a ceiling on our current rookies. They are there, they are young, they are athletic, they have time in NBA basketball, they have seen and felt the playoffs. These are guys that should be able to make the quickest progress adapting to another system – they haven’t been in the triangle long enough. While that doesn’t guarantee anything, it is better than some other clubs have.

        The only time the Lakers ever ‘blew it all up’ was in 1996, when they drafted Kobe and signed Shaq after trading away their starting center for rights to the 13th drafting position. They are not an organization that simply starts things over.

        Since they have a new, out-of-system coach, I suspect they will proceed much more carefully with their change of personnel – especially with the looming lockout hanging over everything. This will really tick of a lot of fans and media people, but that’s just tough s***.

      • purdueman - May 26, 2011 at 6:03 PM

        craig…. virtually every team in the NBA has young, athletic players that are on the end of their benches, but in the case of the Lakers the young players you refer to were all considered to be fringe prospects when drafted.

        Per my post referencing the LA Times this morning, the triangle offense is now dead in LA, so that’s no longer a factor. Then again, it doesn’t take much to teach guys to stand in one spot and hold the ball over their heads with both hands while patiently waiting to pass the ball to the next guy who’s going to do the same thing either.

      • downtowndanny - May 27, 2011 at 1:22 AM

        why would you trade Odom? He’s a starter on any other team, yet he bought into coming off the bench. How many guys in the league are willing to sacrifice clock for the better of the team? I’d send Shannon Brown to New Orleans and try to bring back Trevor or some package that can at least get CP3, throw in Blake too, because he’s not the answer. But never give up Odom a 7 footer that can distribute like a guard, what are you nuts?

  7. jjstrokes - May 26, 2011 at 1:20 PM

    Hey Helin, I can’t wait to laugh at this Lakers team all next season. Of course you would spin the Mike Brown hiring in a good way. Mike Brown = Kobe’s new b****.

  8. jizzojames - May 26, 2011 at 2:38 PM

    Folks must have forgotten that the Lakers were the western conference champions 3 years running. Sure Dallas beat them in an ugly semi-finals but the Lakers are still a juggernaut in the west. They do need a few upgrades though, particularly at the point, which I recommend someone like Andre Miller or even Raymond Felton who will probably buy out his contract with Denver. They also need to re-evaluate they’re starting position at SF. Take nothing away from Ron Artest he’s had an inconsistent regular/post season and his starting role is almost becoming a liability than an asset. For those who say trade Lamar Odom must be insane. He’s been great for the Lakers and will continue to be. Bottom line is the Lakers are not in bad shape, and Mike Brown just might be able to get them back to championship form. We’ll see next season.

    • downtowndanny - May 27, 2011 at 1:26 AM

      of the two you mentioned, I’d prefer Andre Miller but Felton could be a 2nd or 3rd choice. that kid that said trade Odom is a bonehead…clearly just likes the uniforms and sneakers and doesn’t understand basketball.

  9. purdueman - May 26, 2011 at 2:56 PM

    Here’s a good column and perspective on the Brown hiring from respected LA Times columnist Bill Plashke today:,0,4797929.column

    • taipan70 - May 26, 2011 at 11:51 PM

      Purdueman…you need to stop trolling Laker articles and posting drivel. Your comments are absurd bordering on lunacy. Plashke, “respected Times columnist”, that fool is one article away from being written off as a complete hack pretending to be a sports journalist. For years Plashke and Simers have been voted the worst writers ever in the history of LA Sports by its own subscribers. Ding at the Register, ESPN ‘s Adande and Kamenetsky’s bros are better.

      • purdueman - May 27, 2011 at 12:14 AM

        taipan… for what it’s worth, I’m willing to bet that that “hack” Plaschke is likely making 2-3 times more per year than you than either you or me, but nobody ever said that life’s fair either.

        I subscribed to the Register for years and years, and everytime it seemed that I turned around they were sending me another bill when I realized that it just wasn’t worth it and landfills in California are too valuable to fill up with old newspapers (be it the Register the LA Times or the LB Telegraph).

        Besides, all of the content (save for the dwindling advertising), is available online for free (at least for now anyways). The job though of a columnist is to attract readers, and oftentimes that requires stirring up the old pot because news without commentary mostly makes for boring reading.

        T.J. thrives on being the ultimate antagonist, but Plashke? Not so much.

  10. purdueman - May 26, 2011 at 3:02 PM

    For those of you naive enough to still think that the triangle isn’t officially dead now in LA, here’s an excerpt from the LA Times for you to noodle on:
    Mike Brown’s arrival signals demise of triangle for Lakers
    By Lisa Dillman, LA TImes Lakers beat reporter
    May 25, 2011, 8:29 p.m.

    The triangle has been shuttered and closed for business — and it won’t be reopening under the watch of Phil Jackson’s successor with the Lakers.

    One of Mike Brown’s former players was asked whether they ever tinkered with the triangle offense in practice in Cleveland, even a moment or two of curious experimentation.

    “Uh, no,” said Clippers point guard Mo Williams, who played for Brown and alongside LeBron James for two seasons in Cleveland.

    “He had his own style. Like I said, he’s certainly not Phil [Jackson].”

  11. andrejohnsonforpresident - May 26, 2011 at 5:25 PM

    Who cares what kobe thinks, dude only went to practice 80% of the time. He’s lucky to play two more years. They won’t be good ones either, maybe during the pointless season. Don’t look to him to do much in the playoffs though. Now bring on the downward thumbs

    MU HA HA HA HA!!!

  12. andrejohnsonforpresident - May 26, 2011 at 5:28 PM

    O an the only thing about boy wonder side kick Tony fishy thats good anymore, is his basketball commercial with charlie murphy. An Charlie carries him in that commercial as a talking basket ball. Just like the lakers have to carry him through the playoffs.

  13. goforthanddie - May 26, 2011 at 7:25 PM

    “Mike Brown can win with Lakers if Kobe buys in”
    Whoa now, don’t go too far out on that limb.

  14. silk32 - May 26, 2011 at 7:44 PM

    But can they win with both Shannon Brown and Pau Gasol on the same team?

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