The Lakers are a patient organization. One of their great strengths — along with insane revenue generation — is they don’t make rash moves, they wait until the odds are in their favor then the act decisively. They don’t panic. They don’t care what you write on an internet message board or what a talk radio host says.
So sorry Lakers fans, Mike Brown’s job is not in immediate danger. He’s going to get his chance.
There was a report at Hoopsworld recently about how “many within NBA circles believe” Brown is on his way out sooner rather than later. But that is the voices swirling around the outside of the organization, the kind of people often prone to knee-jerk reactions.
That’s not the Lakers. That’s not how they have operated under the Buss family.
If you talk to people around the Lakers organization the feeling is very different — Mike Brown is on solid footing right now.
Look what Jim Buss told Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register, referencing Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak and still the ultimate power Jerry Buss.
“I’m a hundred percent behind Mike Brown. Mitch is. My dad is. We as a collective soul are behind him 100 percent.”
Collective Soul? Now I’m picturing Kupchak singing “Shine” and it’s a little disturbing.
But Ding emphasizes the point, saying the Lakers management doesn’t expect Brown to be Phil Jackson (who would have gotten a pass from fans for this start because his teams came together).
Jim Buss’ comments about Brown in our recent chat made clear that ownership’s view is that Brown’s gift is being “well prepared.” That’s not very exciting, and it’s certainly not particularly fascinating genius, but it’s how Brown was for his Lakers job interview, and it’s what he’s expected to be now.
“I felt that anybody who works that hard in preparation, if we give him the right players, he’ll figure out how to win,” Buss said.
That philosophy is up for debate. My two cents are that there are only a handful of truly elite NBA coaches that make a team better by walking in the door — Jackson, Gregg Popovich, Rick Adelman, etc… — and after that there are a lot of solid NBA coaches who can win a lot, maybe even a ring, if you give them the right talent. Brown is one of those guys to me. He works hard and with time savvy veteran players like Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol will figure it out. With or without a lot of input from Brown.
If the Lakers are still a hot mess as we get to the time you start actually doing you Christmas shopping — don’t tell me you start before Dec. 15, we know better — then the ground may shift. May. The Lakers have a couple year window with this group and they aren’t going to waste one. But if the Lakers make a change the more likely outcome is it happens after the season. Also know if it gets to that and the Lakers do decide to make a move, it will not be to a coach who will come in and dominate the franchise the way Jackson did. This is Jim Buss’ show now and the coach will work for and with him. You decide for yourself how someone like Jerry Sloan would fit in that dynamic.
But take your time, because the Lakers will. Mike Brown is not going anywhere, not in the short term.