Folks in Cleveland remember that Mike Brown was oft-criticized for his offensive approach to basketball — and there is no pun intended in that sentence.
Brown is an exceedingly good man whose problem is he’s not Phil Jackson or Doc Rivers. Folks said he was outcoached by Stan Van Gundy one year, then could not handle LeBron James the next. (The question is: Who could have handled James?).
His firing was a shame because it’s always a shame when good people leave town. Though it did bring Byron Scott to Cleveland.
Now Brown is with the Lakers, trying to mesh a group of talents and egos that includes Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Metta World Peace (originally typed that “peach,” which is a tad humorous). The Lakers started 16-12, 5-10 on the road. And players who were used to Jackson’s approach for so long now adjust to Brown, a very different kind of coach.
There’s a big part of anyone who would say that any coach would have trouble following Jackson. Rudy Tomjanovich won titles in Houston, but didn’t last a full season with the Lakers — he was 24-19 when he resigned.
The man now known as World Peace, though, raised some eyebrows in a recent interview with Ken Berger of CBSSports.com. World Peace (yes … that really is the reference) wants more than 22.4 minutes per game, wants to be on the floor in the fourth quarter. Brown doesn’t play him because he’s shooting 32.7 percent, 19 percent from the three-point line. He still wants to play.
“… coach is a stats guy. His background is video coordinator or whatever. So he’s all stats. But Ron Artest is all feel. He doesn’t understand that. Having me in the game at the end, he was worried about me shooting bad from the free throw line. And I was like, ‘I could care less because I’m gonna get a stop at the end of the game.”
OK. A video coordinator.
“If you win, that’s all that matters. If I’m 1-for-10 from the free-throw line, 3-for-15 from the three-point line, 29 percent from field goal, no rebounds, no assists and we won, bam. It doesn’t matter because at the end of the game, I’m gonna get a big stop, I might hit a big shot. And then the player’s gonna take a stupid shot because I’m on him because he has no other choice but to take a dumb shot. And we win the game and go home, have some oatmeal the next morning. It’s real simple, man. The coach, he’s got to get used to that.”
Perhaps Brown just doesn’t eat oatmeal.