Tag: Mike Brown

Miami Heat v Los Angeles Lakers

Dwyane Wade says Lakers slow start reminds him of Heat


Do you remember the 9-8 Miami Heat? The ones off to a slow start after putting together a superstar team (then the players doing their part to hype the expectations at a pep rally)? The ones that had national pundits calling for Erik Spoelstra to be sent packing so that legendary coach Pat Riley could come down from on high and solve all their problems, to whip the team into shape?

That feels like another lifetime in Miami, where the defending World Champions play.

Dwyane Wade told Fran Blinebury of NBA.com he thought people might have learned about expectations from that experience, but apparently not.

“There’s excitement, of course,” he said. “And there’s a lot of anticipation about what can be possible. But really, a lot of things tend to get ahead of themselves. I guess, when you think about it, those things are only natural. Now looking back, you see how unrealistic a lot of things are in the early days. But I guess it doesn’t stop everybody from doing it all over again and making the same mistake with expectations.”

It didn’t. And the situation is different — Riley clearly had faith in Spoelstra that Jim Buss never had in Mike Brown. (Which leads to questions of Brown’s hiring and why he was kept through the summer, but that’s another discussion for another day.) The Lakers made an aggressive change to Mike D’Antoni and just simplifying the offense has them playing better.

Chris Bosh said the challenge for the players is to tune all that out and focus on the job at hand.

“You hear all of the talk that’s going on on the outside and you try to ignore it, but that’s not always easy. There are decisions that aren’t yours and that you have no control over. All we focused on was playing basketball and just the day to day struggles that we had on the court, each game, each possession. That was enough.

“People in management are gonna make their decisions and you have to live with them and make them work.”

If the Lakers have that same outcome as that Heat squad — making the NBA finals this year — some of that noise will subside. But for now, the Lakers are the center of the storm and are just going to have to deal with the expectations, realistic or not.

LeBron James says Mike Brown didn’t get “fair shake”

Indiana Pacers v Cleveland Cavaliers

LeBron James is even sticking up for Mike Brown.

Not that LeBron really has ever really ripped his former coach in Cleveland, he’s always pretty much said nice things in public. (When Brown was let go in Cleveland after the 2010 season James was in full “I’m not talking about anything Cleveland” mode and did not comment.)

But when Mike Brown was kicked to the curb by the Lakers after five games this season — to ultimately be replaced by Mike D’Antoni — LeBron joined the chorus of people who thought that was too fast, that he never really got a chance. Via ESPN’s Heat Index:

“I think it’s unfortunate,” James said Friday after the Heat’s win in Atlanta against the Hawks. “I just don’t think he got a fair shake, honestly. With the shortened season last year, and five games into this year, he didn’t really get a full season.”

The Lakers have countered that they had doubts and if Brown started to have the team play better they could be stuck with a good coach who was just not good enough. Better to move quickly. Of course, if the Lakers had doubts after those five games filled with injuries and no real chance for Brown to use his best guys, they had to have them before the season. Which is when they should have acted if they were going to.

Instead, the reaction around the NBA is pretty much like James shaking his head at his locker.

“I wish him the best, but I just think it’s unfortunate and it’s just, you know, how the league is. (The owners) can do what they want to do.”

Mike Brown releases polite statement on being fired by Lakers

Mike Brown, Kobe Bryant

If you know him or have listened to Mike Brown speak, you knew he wasn’t going all “Stan Van Gundy on the Magic” when he decided to speak on being fired by the Lakers Friday. Heck, he wasn’t even going to go Stan Van Gundy on the Lakers.

Rather, he was polite.

“I have great respect for the Buss family and the Lakers’ storied tradition and I thank them for the opportunity they afforded me. I have a deep appreciation for the coaches and players that I worked with this past year and I wish the organization nothing but success as they move forward.”

Whether or not you thought this firing was fair, you have to give Brown credit for this — he handled all this like a true professional. There have been people criticizing him since the day he was hired and this season that ratcheted up to unreasonable levels (like a death threat to his son). Through it all he stood there and took it, he answered questions, he didn’t go around telling people to shut up (that was Kobe Bryant) or snapping at people. You can see why people around the league like him.

Lakers owner Jim Buss gives Mike Brown vote of confidence

Mike Brown

After what is arguably the Lakers ugliest loss of the season in Utah — although it’s really hard to pick just one, they have all been so ugly — the heat from fans and the media is back on coach Mike Brown and his Princeton offense.

But not from Lakers ownership.

Jim Buss preached patience and backed Brown, he gave a vote of confidence to his coach when speaking with Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLA.com.

“I have no problems with Mike Brown at all,” Buss said. “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….

“You have to give it time to understand [what’s going on],” Buss said. “I don’t know if there’s an actual game total that would make me impatient. I know if we’re 1-15, I don’t think that would be very good. I’m sure that would be a panic button. But at this time, I’m fine with what’s going on. It’s a learning process for the players. As long as everybody is on the same page, I think we’re fine.”

When you say “the players are fine with it” do you mean Kobe Bryant? Because that is what we all pretty much are thinking. And very clearly during the game Wednesday Kobe was damn frustrated.

“Kobe [Bryant] and I have a relationship where he can just look at me and say, ‘Everything’s cool,'” Buss said. “So yesterday during practice, I gave Kobe a quick glance, and everything was cool.”

For now. Often these kinds of votes of confidence is the last thing the coach hears before the ax falls, but in this case Brown still has time. Buss is smart enough to remember when the Miami Heat started 9-8 two seasons ago and everyone was sure Pat Riley was coming down from the front office to replace Erik Spoelstra. That worked itself out and the Heat were in the finals that year. Plus, remember it was Jim Buss who went and got Mike Brown, that’s his guy. We are all slow to admit our mistakes and Jim Buss is no exception.

Besides, the Lakers are not a franchise that makes knee-jerk reaction. The Buss family does not makes moves out of panic.

But that Heat team had a longer window than these Lakers, Buss cannot be patient forever. There isn’t going to be a change after five games. But once we start to get into December, if this team is still a hot mess, if it isn’t showing signs of real improvement and being on the way to contending, change may well come.

Steve Nash will sit out for Lakers. Welcome to the Steve Blake era.

Lakers Steve Nash smiles as he plays in the Lakers season opening game against  Dallas

As we pretty much all expected, Steve Nash will not suit up for the Lakers Friday night against the Clippers, the contusion on his shin still limiting movement too much, Lakers coach Mike Brown confirmed before the game on Friday.

Steve Blake will start, and Brown said both Chris Duhon and Darius Morris could see minutes off the bench behind Blake.

Awaiting the Blake/Duhon/Morris trio are Chris Paul and Eric Bledsoe (who has Vinny Del Negro saying he’s frustrated he can’t find him more minutes because he is playing so well). This should really ease all the fears of Lakers fans.

The bigger issue for the Lakers is this setback also slows their assimilation of Blake with Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol and the hybrid Princeton offense they are trying to run. It’s obvious to the backup guard on a junior high team that the Lakers have no comfort or flow in the offense right now, but the only way they are going to get it is time on the court. And Friday night they are not getting that. And it may be a while longer (Brown said he did not know when Nash could return to practices and games).