You don’t have to warn Mike Brown about expectations next season with the Lakers. This is, after all, the guy who lived with the would-be championship burden of LeBron James sitting on his back in Cleveland.
Sure, the Lakers have added Dwight Howard and Steve Nash, among others, to their roster this summer. Sure, he can feel those 16 previous championships staring down from the rafters and the record books.
But in an in-depth and quite interesting Q & A with Brian Kamenetzky of ESPNLosAngeles.com’s Land ‘O Lakers blog, the coach says, in short, bring it on:
In his first season with the NBA’s most high-profile coaching job, Brown inherited a talented, but flawed, team that was never able to develop consistency during the post-lockout schedule and may have maxed out its potential just by getting to the West semis against Oklahoma City. That won’t fly this time around, especially when many have always dubbed the Lakers as the team to beat — ahead of the defending champion Heat and Western Conference champion Thunder.
Until the Lakers get through those barriers, over the hurdles and claim their next title, the questions will follow, if not smother, a guy with a resume that seems to be glittering and hollow at the same time. At just 42, Brown has taken his teams to The Finals once (2007) and the conference finals twice. His career winning percentage of .658 trails only Tom Thibodeau (.757) and Gregg Popovich (.680) among active coaches.
Yet, so much of how Brown will be defined depends on what happens this season and how he can put together the new pieces of the Lakers’ offense with mainstays of Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasolthere to make it all work.
The knock has always been that Brown is, uh, challenged at the offensive end. But it should be noted that the only All-Star season of Mo Williams’ career came when Brown gave him the freedom to flourish.
To that end, the Lakers have added assistant coach Eddie Jordan to bring in the principles of the Princeton offense, but Brown says that they won’t stray from Nash’s strength in the pick-and-roll.
Big changes in L.A., no changes with Mike Brown. In both cases, it’s never enough.