There were a lot of things Lakers fans criticized Mike Brown for last year. Some were deserved, some not. Such is the life of an NBA head coach.
But one legitimate complaint was he burned the Lakers candle at both ends — long practices and lots of them, not a lot of time off, and Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol played ridiculously heavy minutes.
Lakers players called Brown “all day every day.”
This season, even with new faces and a new offense to install, Brown is going slow. Or at least more slowly. From Ramona Shelburne at ESPNLA.com.
This season they all have time to breathe again. Training camp is a month long. The season isn’t condensed. And while Brown is still pushing the Lakers hard — he ran them through a three-hour practice before their exhibition game in Ontario on Wednesday — he seems to be reading and reacting to his mostly-veteran team better than he did a year ago.
“From what I hear, last year they didn’t have a day the first 19 or 20 days,” Lakers forward Antawn Jamison said. “This is already our second day off. He knows this is a team with a lot of guys who have a lot of mileage. There’s certain things he’s going to tweak what he would normally do. That’s what coaching is about — understanding your personnel.”
That three-hour practice on a game day? Brown heard about it from no less than Steve Nash who joked in his post-game comments, “That was a new one for me.”
Preseason is one thing, it’s during the season — the long, marathon grind of an NBA season — that Brown really has to back off. Nash needs to be below 30 minutes a game, even if your backup is Chris Duhon. Kobe played 38.5 minutes a game last season and that needs to drop by 5 at least. Bryant and Gasol are coming off hard-working Olympic summers, they might even get a night off here and there.
Our own Brett Pollakoff said this in our Lakers preview — Mike Brown should be the biggest concern for Lakers fans this year. This is a team that should be thinking title or bust (along with Miami and Oklahoma City). But has Brown learned that the key to getting the guys to play their best is not usually a three-hour shoot around? Will he grasp the nuances of coaching this team and getting the most out of each guy?
We will see. But know that if not his seat is going to get more than just warm.