The Mike Brown Question: Why Now?

The Lakers’ front office does not do knee-jerk, so news Friday that Mike Brown has been fired as coach after a 1-4 start is a strong signal that management has been considering the drastic move for at least a few days, knowing that a replacement would have to be lined up. This isn’t the usual situation of a bad team that can promote an interim guy to get through the season. The Lakers still want to — need to — win this year.

This also has to mean Brown began the season wounded and that the Buss family – owner Jerry and his son, Jim, the head of basketball operations – has had doubts about Brown at least since the second-round loss to the Thunder in May.

Five games — with Dwight Howard still not at 100 percent after a serious back injury, with Steve Nash sidelined by a leg injury, with Kobe Bryant playing on a very sore foot, with the entire organization knowing this was going to take time — is not enough time to judge what Brown could have done with this title contender at full strength. The most heated Brown detractor in the panicking fan base — and there is about a million-way tie for the lead — could not disagree. The offense has labored badly, but Nash’s absence obviously slowed the development. The defense has regressed, but Howard had a limited preseason and is still recovering.

If the Lakers were going to fire Brown now, they might as well have done it in the summer and avoided the in-season mess and transition. Nothing was going wrong (except for Nash going down) that the front office didn’t know could go wrong.

There is no way Jim Buss meant it when he gave Brown the dreaded vote of confidence after 1-4, telling ESPNLosAngeles.com that, “I have no problems with Mike Brown at all. He just works too hard and he’s too knowledgeable for this to be happening.” The Buss backing was either a historic level of non-truthing or there was a startling change of direction that would likely come only with the red phone ringing and Jerry Buss (who leaves day-to-day basketball ops to Jim and general manager Mitch Kupchak) on the other end. Indeed, TNT’s David Aldridge has reported that Brown’s people believe the decision came directly from Jerry Buss.

The timing is curious and filled with twists. One of the strangest is that Brown may ultimately have done himself in with the lone win.

Sunday night, the lid of Staples Center is about to be pushed off by the angst of an 0-3 start. The Lakers are up on the Pistons by 36 points. The lead is cut to 24 and Brown rushes Bryant, Howard and Steve Blake, Nash’s replacement as the starting point guard, back in with 8:55 left in the fourth quarter. Bryant had already been playing big minutes — and remember, only three players in the league put in more time  than he did last season. His foot was an obvious problem. But in he went. It was 0-3 talking.

The rest of the Lakers were thinking about June, but Brown’s moves were being dictated by the first three games of the season. With a 24-point lead, with 8:55 remaining, against lottery-bound Detroit. That could not have sat well with management.

It’s as if the Buss family was willing to give Brown one last chance to see if the 108-79 win over the Pistons would spark a turnaround. But when that one last chance ended in a 95-86 loss to the Jazz on Wednesday, Brown was done. The announcement came Friday, even though it could have come in May.

29 Comments

  1. Lakers-R-Us says:

    Mike Brown is one of those guys that tries really hard,; works almost too hard! With sharp attention to detail! The Lakers need someone to motivate and inspire them! Fire them up to win! Lol!

  2. Candian Baller says:

    Steve Nash is the answer to the Lakers problems. If you let him run the offense -everyone will have career seasons and be enhanced. The king of the pick and roll with Howard and Gasol and options for 3′s by Kobe, Metta or himself. Let it be known as Steve Nash and his Rock N Roll Offense.Let him shine with the weapons he hasn’t had at his disposal since his MVP seasons. Let him make it his 3rd!

  3. ex laker fan says:

    Kobe gasol bunch of cry babies

  4. After 5 games? says:

    They fired the guy after 5 games? Yes the laker roster looks unbeatable on paper and video games but it takes time to gel and build chemistry on the court. What do they expect go 82-0 this season. I dont think the laker slow start is brown’s fault at all. If and when they get into form middle of the season laker management would think they did a good job firing brown. once their players get healthy and start racking up wins.

    I feel bad for the guy. Its not his fault. Want more drama laker land? Hire stan van gundy and reunite him with princess dwight.

  5. OG.LAL says:

    Please Mr Buss get Brian Shaw ,he has an experience with triangle offense besides remember Koby likes him.

  6. Dave Argyle says:

    Why do people think there is a chemistry problem with Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard? Fact. Kobe is a natural and skilled scorer. Who will finish his career, barring injury as the third leading scorer of all time in NBA history. A player you can go too for a needed basket with a variety of moves and options. A top 10 all time clutch player. Dwight Howard does not have the offensive skill set to command the ball in a pressure, we need a basket situation. He is a great athletic player. The running, leaping, and quickness is awesome. But those attributes, a go 2 guy does not make. Very methodical in the half court set. With lack of all around offensive proficiency. On the Lakers he’s third option at best. And thats because Nash will defer from his point guard position. Dwight Howard brings tenacious defense not offense. Alley oops, offensive rebounds and the occasional post up when there is an advantage, is what he should concentrate on.

  7. rogaricel says:

    The problem with the Lakers isn’t coaching, IMO. It’s a personnel problem. They have absolutely no bench. Most of the guys that come off the bench for them wouldn’t make the roster anywhere else in the league. I’ve also heard the argument that the Heat didn’t have a bench a couple years ago when they lost the Finals to the Mavs, but the problem is that the core of the Heat were in their late 20′s. 4 of the 5 current Laker starters have been in the league more than 10 years. Those guys can’t play the kind of minutes they have to play to adequately shield the bench. This is on Kupchak & Buss. I agree that Mike Brown is taking the fall, but it’s not his fault. He’s being thrown under the Buss alright.

  8. beyKrewz says:

    excuses excuses..
    the players are accountable for the Loss.
    they’re even worse than Miami’s start on the Big3′s first season together.
    As expected,the coach always takes the fall and Kobe’s pointing his fingers again at other people.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Tough call here. The Lakers did OK last season under Brown. I don’t know what the problem had been so far this season. The Laker’s did not look like a coherent team in pre-season workouts and they have a lot of new faces and a glaring lack of depth. It took some time for the Miami Heat to learn to play together before their title run last season and the same could have been expected with this current Laker group that is not even healthy . The Laker’s bench is virtually non-existent and they can’t win with their starters unhealthy in a new system and playing big minutes against a league with so much parity. Kobe’s minutes should go down and a healthy Howard should be the workhorse with Bryant going against reserves. Without a bench the Laker’s are in trouble either way. Perhaps they can find some defensive minded young gun’s to run the floor and put the ball in Nash’s hands. More changes to come?

  10. The best choice to fill Brown’s position is Stan Van Gundy.

  11. Knicks fan says:

    4 choices for lakers to back on track
    invite Zen Master Back
    or Hire his Student in Brian Shaw

    or one of these two might be great also
    Sloan
    J V Gundy

  12. You Laker fans asked.....and now you received....Brown is fired says:

    What does Kobe and Dwight have in common….other than both of them playing for the Lakers? They both got their coaches fired…..LOL!!!!!! Ok, now that the Princeton offense has left the building with Brown…..I wonder what excuse they will use next if they don’t win.

    • Average Joe says:

      Kobe is hobbled by injury. Nash is old. Kobe is old. Dwight is not playing defense. These are all I can think of at the moment. LOL

  13. jason adkins says:

    I said it after the first game…its not panic mode its the fact that winning is a way of life for LA fans and management and 1-12 is not getting it done-no excuses! It will be interesting to see who they do bring on deck. I like Jerry Sloan or Jeff VanGundy (although he is another personality to contend with). Phil??? You busy?

  14. Lakerfan says:

    Get van Gundy ;)

    • bglads says:

      Which one? I don’t think Stan’s the man because he’s already gone through the ringer with Dwight. He might be too “in your face” for Kobe’s liking also.

  15. Darien says:

    I think the Lakers added NAsh and Dwight this season to improve the current roster under Mike Brown. Since the season starts the Lakers are 1-4, so it concluded that its not the roster, but the coaching system failed that is why they fired Mike Brown.

    • aaron says:

      do you even watch basketball? have you noticed that nash hasn’t even played but one game? know what the hell you’re talking about before posting please!

      • bglads says:

        Why the hostility Aaron? Everyone’s entitled to their opinion. Oh, one small thing……..Nash has played two games.

  16. RR says:

    Finally!!! Lets see this team is really made of since the Princeton offense is out… better fire Eddie Jordan the so called mastermind of the Princeton offense he is useless to the team… I’d rather have a Hubie Brown or a Jeff Van Gundy to handle the team rather those idiots…

  17. Amro says:

    He took down the Cavs many times and was taking down the Lakers again. This action should have been done last season.

  18. TTKIN says:

    Honestly I think management was fine with him, even after the OKC loss last May. I think what ultimately did it was the starters going back in against Detroit, and management realizing “ya we’re only 1-4, but technically we’re 1-12″.

    1-12…

    I repeat…1-12.

    Preseason or not, that does not cut it in Charlotte let alone in LA.

  19. steppx says:

    Mr Buss, Kobe line three.

    As Jim moves the lap dancer away from the desk….”yes Kob..”

    I think Kobe had enough. This is not probably fair on his part, but this was a hire he always hated. Saw as an insult. Im guessing brian shaw is first in line, if Indiana would let him go. Personally i want jerry sloan……because dwight and Jerry would be something worth watching.

    Wont happen.- No Buss wants company men. Shaw might fit, Kobe likes him. To answer, seriously, why now…..I think its part Kobe, part Brown’s own weird death wish……….and the realization that Kobe and Dwight is never going to work out, so somebody quickly had to be tossed under the bus. …or Buss.

    • Cupid says:

      That is so true!! they can blame Brown all they want,but the thruth of the matter is that Kobe and Howard is not going to play good together.. I want to know if it’s Brown fault Howard miss about 14 free throws in on game.

  20. LakersFan90 says:

    I don’t really fancy Steve Nash; He just got reputation of actions as a point guard than RAMON SESSION. Common, Nash could have (may be) played better with Suns, but Ramon Session is far better and athletic than Nash…#LakersNation

    • Watcher says:

      Denver exposed the weakness in Ramon Session in the playoffs. He’s too small to be a primary PG

    • Leo says:

      Ramon Session is far better than Steve Nash? You must be mad… Last year Steve Nash was in the 50-40-90 club. No one in the NBA was that good. That’s how good the two-time MVP is.

      • LakersFan90 says:

        Mr. Leo, everyone is entitled to his opinion, and I respect yours. You don’t disagree with people by cursing them. I hope you act professionally and better than this. Thank you.