4 Reasons the Lakers Firing Mike Brown was a Dumb Decision

The NBA season is off to an eventful start with the firing of Los Angeles Lakers coach Mike Brown after five (5!!) games. The Lakers, fresh off the acquisition of two hall-of-famers, had lots of excitement headed into this season. Some idiot even picked them to win the championship.

All of that is over after the panicked firing following their 1-4 start.

I understand the itch to shake things up, but five games into the season is waaaaaay too early to make such a drastic move. Here are the reasons why:

Now the world knows the Lakers are a mess –

You know those relationships that seem great…right up until the guy’s clothes are on the lawn and both people are posting Carl Thomas lyrics on Twitter? That is where the Lakers are right now.

Jerry Buss, the Lakers Executive Vice President, gave Mike Brown his endorsement last Thursday saying, “I have no problems with Mike Brown at all. He just works too hard and he’s too knowledgeable for this to be happening.”

“So either the system is flawed or something’s going on. Or, like the Triangle, it’s very hard to pick up and understand. I’m not a basketball mind like he is or the players are, and the players are fine with it, so I just have to be patient.”

This was less than 24 hours before he canned him! This firing shows the dirty laundry that LA has (apparently) been hiding. They are directionless from an organizational perspective; lacking the foresight internally to direct a championship-caliber team. I’m sure Mike Brown is somewhere listening to What’s a Man to do? on repeat.

The Lakers had no plan –

This is related to the first point, but important enough to note on its own. If you are going to waste your team’s training camp, stunt the team’s chemistry, and diminish your chances at a title, you should already have your next coach secured. Instead, the Lakers engaged in public negotiations with Phil Jackson, and had a list of coaches to consider if he turned them down.

The Lakers settled on Mike D’Antoni as their head coach. I see lots of time (and a few losses) racking up while the team adjusts to the fast-paced, “Seven Seconds or Less” offense and settles into their new-new-roles on the fly. Hopefully D’Antoni brings some defensive-minded coaches with him to shore up that side of the ball.

1-4 isn’t that bad –

Five games equal six percent of an NBA season. Hardly enough time to know whether the Princeton offense works, if the players can play well together, or how “doomed” your season is. Despite their record, the Lakers could point to some successes. The offense is ranked fifth in efficiency, and the defensive anchor, Dwight Howard, is playing himself back into shape from offseason back surgery. It’s safe to say things weren’t as bad as the record would indicate. Speaking of Dwight…

He can leave after this season –

The Lakers swung for the fences with a blockbuster, four-team trade for the league’s best center. While they have Dwight in the fold, remember they have yet to sign him to a long-term extension. Howard is a free agent after this season, and can sign with whomever he likes if he doesn’t see the Lakers as the best place to play out the prime of his career.

 

On the list of things that would make a player want to leave, organizational dysfunction, coaching instability, and falling short of expectations are near the top (under money of course). Dwight can still make the most money if he stays in LA, but having just left a mess of an organization in Orlando, he could leave for a more stable environment (Dallas?) if the situation in LA doesn’t fix itself quickly. D’Antoni has little time to right the ship in LA with big consequences if he fails.

I don’t mean to say Mike Brown is the perfect coach. In fact, he’s far from it. I do think five games is far from enough time to make a final determination. This was a horrible decision from an organization we typically link with just the opposite. D’Antoni brings a mixed bag. You get an offense that is point guard and pick-and-roll heavy. How will Kobe react to that? And you get a question mark on defense; it was horrible in Phoenix, and underrated in New York. Who would have thought the Clippers would be the LA team with more sense heading into this season?

That’s how I see it. What do you think, SBM NBA fans? Did Mike Brown deserve the axe? What do you predict for the Lakers this season? Let me know in the comments below!

From Our Partners

  • Adonis

    I think I need to jump off the Lake Show bandwagon, and get with this OKC pimpin'.

    I have not decided.

    How does Mike Brown (Cleveland, Lakers) & Mike D'Antoni (Phoenix, New York, Los Angeles) "fail" & then get better jobs afterward.

    How does that work?

  • Mr_SD

    They should have picked Brian Shaw to begin with.

  • Peter Parker

    Yeah, I think Shaw would have been a better fit. Me personally, I don't think Brown was a good candidate. He is a very good coach, but he has never had to deal with the egos of potentially 3-4 future HOFs….Just my take..

  • Dr. J

    Mike Brown should have never been in LA to begin with. Jim* Buss is obsessed with making sure everyone knows he's in charge. That's why Phil is gone, that's why Phil ain't coming back. It's already hard enough to deal with Kobe but Phil and Kobe is insurmountable. Now there's a ton of reasons why Mike had to go and the way he went makes perfect sense. Yeah they said they were behind him 100% but when they thought about it a little more they realized that he was in the hot seat and no matter what, he'd never get off it. When you pay $100m for a team and know that you're getting hit with another $100m in luxury tax later, you HAVE to win. That's the only way it works. 1-4 was bad and there were no signs that the team would not end the season in mediocrity. They were going to give him 6 games, but after realizing who was available they said, let's just do it now and then use the homestand for the transition.

  • Uncle Hugh, BP

    While Mike Brown should have never got the job, firing him after five games is pretty ridiculous.

    The slow start shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. With all the upgrades, it doesn't work without Steve Nash. Nash's signing is what made them dangerous. Nash to Gasol, Nash pick-and-rolling with Dwight, his outside shooting and his passsing made the Lakers a serious offensive threat.

    No Nash, and you're right back to where you were last season. Dwight is an upgrade over Andrew Bynum, but not a big one. They still have a mediocre bench, still have below-average outside shooting, still have poor point-guard play (without Nash).

    • Magg

      "They still have a mediocre bench, still have below-average outside shooting, still have poor point-guard play"

      +1

  • Larry

    I agree with Joe. Brown didn't get a fair shake, in my opinion. Some facts:

    With virtually no training camp and a NBA shortened season due to the lockout, Brown guided the Laker team to a 3rd seed in the West with virtuallly ZERO production from the PG and SF position most of the year and a rather weak bench. They eventually lost to (admittedly) a better overall team. This year he brought in Eddie Jordan to install the Princeton offense (reasoning behind this is fairly logical to be honest….I just wanted to see if that vision was gonna be executed) and through 5 games only had one…ONE full game with all 5 of his starters. Nash out, Howard still not 100% and the bench clearly still on vacation. ….aaaand he gets canned.

  • Larry

    Listen, the reality of the situation is that no matter who the head coach is (D'Antoni, Brown, Jackson…Bickerstaff, etc..) the Laker team was gonna gel and were still going to finish with the virtually the same record to end the season. If you really believe leaving Mike Brown as head coach would have had the Lakers fighting for a playoff spot this year or battling to be .500 then I have a box of glass hammers to sell you, lol.

    • Dr. J

      I think mediocrity for the Lakers is defined as not a Top 3 seed in the West. And nobody liked where things were going and this was just as much a statement fire as a necessary move. The real fact of the matter is D'Antoni and Phil were better coaches than Mike Brown… that's how the world works.

      That's like saying to yourself, "Oh Elden Campbell works just fine. I know Shaq is available but this guy we got is serviceable."

      • Larry

        Well…yeah. And Stan Van Gundy, Larry Brown, etc… is a better coach than half the coaches in the league now. Not exactly seeing many coaches jumping to fire their head coach after 5 games to bring in Stan, sorry, lol. World doens't work like that all the time. Not saying it won't happen and can't happen…I just haven't seen it happen within 5 games in recent history.

        It's kind of hard to accurately say where things are going when you don't have a full deck of cards to play with, especially with a small sample size of games. Hell, Phil Jackson's last 17 games he coached for the Lakers he lost 11 of them. Obviously that's not saying that Jackson's coaching skills and philosophy were going downhill or in a negative direction, lol.

        I just felt Brown should have gotten a fairer shot since they hired him (whether you feel rightly or wrongly). I can understand, however, why people feel differently, though. No biggie.

  • Larry

    " D’Antoni brings a mixed bag. You get an offense that is point guard and pick-and-roll heavy. How will Kobe react to that? And you get a question mark on defense; it was horrible in Phoenix"

    1. Kobe will be Kobe no matter what offense or system. He will produce like he always does. He's the last person anyone needs to worry about. After 17 years in the league you'd think people would realize Kobe does whatever he needs to do to win. As long as they're winning, he's fine.

    2. Phoenix defense wasn't "horrible". It was middle of the pack. Adjust the the numbers for pace (points per possession) and check out the opponents FG% and you'll see PHX was never a bottom dweller defensively under D'Antoni.

    • Joe Sargent

      24th in 03-04, then 17th, 16th, 13th. That's based on basketball-reference.com's Defensive Rating (points per 100 poss).

      Point taken. They were "bad to emphatically mediocre" lol. Let the record reflect this.

      • Larry

        Hey…that's not horrible, lmao! And PHX whole team in 03-04 in D'Antoni's first year was pretty bad, judging from their record.

        And for the record that's 17th, 16th and 13th in defense with A'mare Stoudamire as your anchor. Not exactly a defensive stalwort by any means. Now he has Dwight Howard….not sure how that will translate but I'm gonna go out on a limb and say it can't get much worse than when he had A'mare. Buuut, then again judging by how the d looks right now, don't hold me to that, lol.

  • http://stanoffewwords.wordpress.com Tristan

    I just don’t see the point of firing him for a completely new system. If they hired Phil or even Brian Shaw then I can see Okay they are going back to what worked a la Rudy Tomjonovich. But D’Antoni Isn’t much of an upgrade, I don’t see how it even makes Dwight want to stay. What it boils down to is matchups, the Lakers might be able to run by the Clippers, Thunder or even the Heat but if they run into a Memphis, Spurs, or Mavericks it will be a short series. As a shameless Laker hater I’m hoping for the latter

  • J. Crawford

    My thoughts are these:

    *D'Antoni and Jackson are WAY Better than Mike Brown, Always Have Been and Will Be

    *Jerry Buss NEEDS to take back control of the Lakers from his son Jimmy- while Mike 'Antoni is a Good OFFENSIVE Coach, how the HELL do you turn Phil "Zen Master" Jackson down??? If Phil wanted to pick his assisant coaches, his 11-rings give him the Space to do that; Phil wants to Not Coach road games. the FIVE CHAMPIONSHIPS he gave Los Angeles Allows for Phil to miss road games that are in the East Coast; if Phil Jackson wants Money, then you PAY Phil Jackson!!!!

    * In my Honest Opinion, there's NO COACH in the league today better than the guy who's Triangle Offense gave Michael Jordan. Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, Shaq, Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom, Kobe Bryant, Steve Kerr, Robet Horry, and others Multiple Rings; Hell, LUKE WALTON, ADAM MORRISON ( the guy Jordan drafted while owner of the Bobcats), JORDAN FARMAR, ANDREW BYNUM, SHANNON BROWN, TREVOR ARIZA, and a host of other B to D-Rated NBA Players are NBA Champions thanks to Phil Jackson!!!