Skip to content

Lakers players frustrated with Mike Brown’s offense, should be frustrated with themselves

Mar 8, 2012, 12:39 PM EDT

Metta World Peace, Rodney Stuckey AP

It’s not the offense, it’s the execution. It’s the players.

But that’s not the way everyone sees it. What everyone does agree on is Wednesday night’s ugly Laker loss to the Wizards — where Los Angeles was up 21 in the third quarter to one of the worst teams in the league and came from ahead to lose — encapsulated the problems.

It brought some frustrations among Lakers players back to the forefront — many don’t love Mike Brown’s more traditional NBA offense. And they are talking about, if not offensive mutiny, at least just running some old triangle offense sets, reports Ramona Shelburne at ESPNLosAngeles.com.

… sources told ESPNLosAngeles.com this week that there is growing concern among some Lakers players as to whether first-year coach Mike Brown and his staff have the X-and-O wherewithal to fix a Lakers offense that is averaging its lowest per-game point total (94) since before the advent of the 24-second shot clock in 1954-55.

Brown’s effect on the Lakers’ defense has been undeniable, but sources say the team’s ongoing struggles on the road — with L.A. dropping to 6-14 away from Staples Center following a loss in Detroit and blowing a 21-point lead to the undisciplined Wizards — have some veterans longing for a return to the trusty Triangle offense preferred by Brown’s predecessor, Phil Jackson.

Last season running the triangle, the Lakers averaged 111 points per 100 possessions, sixth best in the NBA (via Basketball-Reference). This season that is down to an offensive rating of 103.6, 15th in the NBA. An average NBA offense that contains Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum. There are some serious issues here.

Let’s trace those back to the beginning.

Jim Buss and Lakers management made the first mistake last summer when, in replacing Phil Jackson, they decided to try and eradicate all traces of arguably the NBA’s greatest coach ever from the organization. Buss wanted change, wanted his own stamp on the organization. That meant the triangle offense was gone and lead assistant Brian Shaw had no real chance to move down to the big chair. The Lakers personnel, particularly their role players, were suited to run the triangle and not a traditional offense. Throw in a lockout that meant a condensed training camp and few practices, and you have a situation where installing and gaining trust in a new offense was going to be tough.

That said, the new offense can work. There are 29 other teams that run a whole lot of “floppy” and “horns” and live by the pick-and-roll — because when executed right they work. It’s about execution.

Which brings us to Wednesday and the Lakers loss. In the first half the Lakers executed the offense beautifully — they worked the ball inside out and took advantage of Gasol and Bynum in the post. There was fantastic ball movement. They ran when they could. They were up 21 points.

Then it looked like Kobe decided he could stick a dagger in the Wizards right there in the middle of the third quarter and forced some shots that missed. Bynum admitted he lost focus and just kind of loafed around. The Lakers bench turned the ball over and was sloppy. The Lakers played like they thought the Wizards would just roll over — at home teams do not roll over. Maybe on the road, but at home in front of their fans even bad teams do not like to be embarrassed. So the Wizards kept on fighting. And the Lakers never got around to executing well again. Kobe’s missed jumpers turned into long rebounds that got the Wizards out on the break.

That’s not on Mike Brown, that’s not on the offensive system. That is not about comfort level with the offense. The Lakers spent plenty of time in the triangle the past few years taking bad shots, not moving the ball and not getting it into the post where they had an advantage.

Maybe the Lakers should run a few triangle offensive sets (as much as you can isolate those from the triangle system), but that doesn’t solve the bigger issue. Not executing is not executing. Doesn’t matter the system. And on a veteran team it’s on the players, not the coach.

The Lakers need to shake things up at the trade deadline, they need to get a point guard that can both create his own shot and will snap them out of these lapses of execution. These Lakers are not contenders with this roster right now, but keep executing like this and a whole lot offensive talent will be going home in the first round.

Latest Posts
  1. Three coaches who could replace Tom Thibodeau in Chicago

    May 29, 2015, 8:30 AM EDT

    Fred Hoiberg Fred Hoiberg

    They want Fred Hoiberg, but does he want them?

  2. Report: Kevin Love going to “look around” this summer as free agent; Celtics, Lakers, Rockets possible

    May 29, 2015, 8:00 AM EDT

    Kevin Love AP

    I expect Love will stay with the Cavaliers this summer, but a lot of people around the league are not so convinced.

  3. Report: Pelicans interviewed Vinny Del Negro for head coaching position

    May 28, 2015, 10:30 PM EDT

    Vinny Del Negro AP

    Tough to see him as a stronger candidate than at least two others. Unless …

  4. Report: ‘At least three’ Bulls starters ripped Tom Thibodeau during exit interview

    May 28, 2015, 9:00 PM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    Players supposedly said they’d avoid team facility this summer if Thibodeau remained the head coach.

  5. Tom Thibodeau releases statement after firing, thanks Bulls fans and players

    May 28, 2015, 7:30 PM EDT

    Thibodeau was fired as Bulls head coach on Thursday.

  6. Barack Obama: Nobody can outshoot Stephen Curry, except maybe Kyle Korver

    May 28, 2015, 2:42 PM EDT

    US-POLITICS-WEATHER-OBAMA Getty Images

    American president tweets about LeBron James and J.R. Smith

  7. Mavericks considering signing-and-trading Tyson Chandler for DeAndre Jordan

    May 28, 2015, 1:30 PM EDT

    DeAndre Jordan, Tyson Chandler AP

    Clippers center reportedly interested in signing with Dallas

  8. Jared Dudley on Kevin Love: ‘If you leave LeBron, there’s something’s wrong’

    May 28, 2015, 12:55 PM EDT

    Jared Dudley, Kevin Love AP

    Kevin Love might leave the Cavaliers in free agency. Cleveland fans, if history is any indication, wouldn’t treat him well if he does. What would Love’s peers think? Colin Cowherd asked Jared Dudley – whom you might remember from saying players avoid Kobe Bryant Bryant and calling Carmelo Anthony the NBA’s most overrated player –…

  9. Bulls fire Tom Thibodeau

    May 28, 2015, 12:17 PM EDT

    Cleveland at Chicago, Game 6 Getty Images

    Bulls owner Jerry Reinsforf: ‘There must be free and open interdepartmental discussion and consideration of everyone’s ideas and opinions. These internal discussions must not be considered an invasion of turf, and must remain private.’

Did Chicago do the right thing in firing Thibodeau?

Despite ending, Hawks had season to remember
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. S. Curry (7961)
  2. K. Irving (5997)
  3. K. Love (5980)
  4. K. Korver (4766)
  5. L. James (4558)
  1. K. Bryant (3696)
  2. D. Howard (3635)
  3. A. Horford (3613)
  4. K. Durant (3594)
  5. A. Varejao (3505)