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Can Lakers and Mike Brown Get on the Same Page?: A Fan’s Take
The Los Angeles Lakers as a team are not necessarily in sync with new coach Mike Brown. This is pretty obvious on the floor, as the Lakers are a very good defensive team but have struggled to get into an offensive rhythm. Kobe Bryant is still scoring at a high level, and Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum are also solid contributors. However, the team as a whole is not on the same page with Brown, and some players are openly starting to worry.
Time to adapt
Some of this is obviously understandable. Whenever a new coach comes in, particularly after a legend has departed, there is going to be a time of adjustment. Laker fans have tremendous expectations, but they also have to remember that the NBA missed training camp and virtually all of the standard offseason. This is a time for a coach to put in a new system. In addition, the Lakers really didn't have a lot of time to shop for free agents, which puts more pressure on the current squad to deal with what they have in terms of personnel.
The wrong pieces
I was listening to an interview with Kurt Rambis on March 8. He is someone who certainly has some familiarly with the famed triangle offense. He talked about the fact that when you install an offense like the triangle, you go out and get particular types of players. Brown does not use the triangle, but the pieces from the triangle are largely still in place. Coach Brown runs a more traditional offense, where the point guard attempts to penetrate, create mismatches, and entice the defense to collapse in certain areas so that the ball handler can take advantage of gaps and space. More traditional offenses also require more players to be shot creators. This is part of the reason that the Lakers are not scoring as well. They do not have a penetrating point guard or a ball handler that can push the team in transition. In addition, Kobe Bryant is arguably the only player on the floor that can create his own shot.
In sync by the playoffs?
Barring a big trade, this may be the squad that goes into the playoffs and hopes for the best. It may take the entire season for the Lakers to adapt to Brown's system, but if they do, they may be one of those dangerous teams that peak just at the right time. The Laker fan base certainly hopes for this outcome, but there is always the possibility that things are not going to work out this season. The Mike Brown experiment may not actually develop until the Lakers can change out some key pieces and get players that are a better fit.
The author grew up in Seattle and now lives in Los Angeles, where he waits patiently for the Sonics to return to the Pacific Northwest. In the meantime, he roots for the Clippers to become a winning franchise, and perhaps even the most popular team in their own city. You can follow him on Twitter @tpheifer.
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