With the start of college basketball season, the Los Angeles Lakers have managed to steal the headlines once again. The Lakers decided that within the first five games of the NBA season that they would fire their head coach Mike Brown. Brown led the Lakers to a playoff berth last season, but we all know that is not enough for probably the most demanding NBA franchise. When Brown was hired by the Lakers, I never thought that he was the right fit.
When Brown coached the Cleveland Cavaliers with LeBron James, they could not get it done, and he was scrutinized then. Brown made a name for himself being a defensive coach and was supposed to bring that defensive mastermind to the Lakers, but you cannot be a defensive coach in a league where there is no defense. Especially when you have the Black Mamba, who is only concerned about becoming the best scorer to ever play, and a soft Spanish seven footer. So the coaching search began with rumors of bringing back the best NBA basketball coach of all time, Phil Jackson. The rumors actually came to fruition when Jackson and Lakers majority owner Jerry Buss met the day after Brown was fired.
Now let me remind you all of what Phil Jackson has accomplished. As a Chicago Bulls head coach, Jackson won five NBA Championships, and with his last stint as Lakers Coach, Jackson won five more NBA Championships; this is the same six foot eight coach that has never missed the playoffs in a single season that he has coached. According to reports, Jackson had the job if he wanted it. At midnight on the night after Jerry Buss and general manager Mitch Kupchak visited Jackson at his house, Kupchak called Jackson to inform him that Mike D’Antoni had been hired to become the next Los Angeles Lakers head coach.
Jackson was stunned along with the rest of the world, including D’Antoni. Now, do I think that Jackson asked for a little much to come back and coach? Yes. Specifically, $14 million a year, a hand in all basketball related activities, and some travel arrangements to not go to all away games, but to yank around the best coach in NBA history like they did is wrong. After all of the championships that Jackson has brought to the Lakers, it is hard for me to believe that the Lakers feel that D’Antoni is a better coach for the job. Sure, D’Antoni had some success in Phoenix with Steve Nash as his point guard, as is the case once again now that Nash plays for the Lakers. But D’Antoni was a bust with his last coaching job with the New York Knicks.
I do not think that the Lakers will plummet any lower than they have already under Mike Brown, but they will not reach heights that they could have with the “Zen Master” Phil Jackson. I am eager to see how Kobe responds to D’Antoni’s pick and roll offense, or if it will become the Kobe Bryant offense like it usually is.