Magic Johnson didn’t have anything to do with the Lakers decision to fire Mike Brown just five games into the season.
But he’s certainly in agreement that it was the right move to make.
In an interview with Sam Amick of USA Today on Sunday, Johnson essentially ripped Brown’s performance as head coach, and said it should have been evident from Brown’s time in Cleveland that he was not the man for this job.
“That’s the reason why Mike is out, because the Lakers are about winning championships,” Johnson said. “They’re not about waiting. Some people have complained, and said different things – no, he didn’t get a fair shake. The Lakers don’t give people fair shakes. It’s not about fair shakes. It’s about whether you can produce or not. Other organizations, they have time and patience because they’re not about winning the championships.”
“We have to go back to history with Mike. Mike didn’t get it done in Cleveland. If he can’t get the championship done in Cleveland, having the game’s best player (LeBron James), how are you going to come to Los Angeles and win it. It’s just too bad.”
Johnson also went on to explain in detail how he had nothing to do with Brown’s dismissal, and that he’d have no problem saying otherwise if that was the case.
Perhaps the most damning comments from Johnson came as he described specifically why Brown wasn’t a fit — either in Cleveland or Los Angeles.
“Mike Brown has one big flaw in his coaching: he does not make adjustments in game. That’s what killed him in Cleveland, and that’s what killed him with the Lakers. If you go back to every series that the Cleveland Cavaliers lost, and every series that the Lakers lost, Mike Brown did not make adjustments within the game. That’s it. Let’s keep it real. If we’re going to be real, then let’s keep it real. That’s his biggest flaw. It’s not preparation. It’s not his defense, before the game and getting a game plan together. It’s within the game.”
Of course, this is nothing that Lakers or Cavaliers fans wouldn’t have told you about Brown’s coaching style. The difference, obviously, is that coming from Magic Johnson, those words actually mean something.
If other teams share Johnson’s perception of Brown, he won’t be getting back into the league as a head coach anytime soon. The Cleveland part might not be fair given that LeBron James was still growing into the player that we see before us today, and that his supporting cast left plenty to be desired.
Supporters of Brown will point to the lockout-shortened season and then just five games into this one as being not enough time to truly evaluate whether or not he could get it done. But the Lakers weren’t willing to wait, and Magic just echoed that sentiment.