MIAMI — Mike Brown is the new coach of the Los Angeles Lakers.
Mo Williams thinks it’s a good hire and LeBron James does too.
James was asked about the possibility of his old coach taking over in L.A. after the Heat’s practice on Wednesday, and he was clear with his endorsement.
“If it’s true, when it’s official,” James said, “I think the Lakers got them a great coach.”
James and Brown were together for five years in Cleveland, in which they averaged 54 wins. In each of their last two seasons, they finished with the best record in the league. Even if you have the best player in the world on the floor, you don’t win 60-plus games two years in a row if you don’t have a very competent coach.
Brown’s strength was the defensive end of the floor. The Cavs ranked in the top seven defensively in three of his five seasons on the bench. And almost always, they were even better defensively in the postseason.
“Mike Brown was a great coach,” James said. “He gave us success that we hadn’t had before in that city. And it started with his defensive concepts. He brought in a defensive mind set that we didn’t have.”
“We were competitive year after year because of his coaching. So I respect him and I’m grateful to have had him as a coach throughout the years that I had him. He definitely helped me become who I am today.”
In the end, Brown and James couldn’t bring a title to Cleveland. Where the blame lies for that is in the eye of the beholder. But there’s no denying that Brown can help the Lakers’ defense, which ranked sixth in the league this season, but couldn’t slow down the Mavs in the conference semifinals.
“He coaches as if he was on the court and he wanted to play,” James said of Brown. “He loved helping us get better every single day. We never wasted an opportunity to get better. It showed.
“Ultimately, we didn’t win a championship, which we wanted to do in Cleveland. I know he wanted it bad. I wanted it. We didn’t win, but we got better every single day and we brought the fans of Cleveland what they hadn’t seen before.”
Cavs’ efficiency under Mike Brown
OffRtg = Points scored per 100 possessions
DefRtg = Points allowed per 100 possessions