Down Times & Perception Problems

Darius Soriano —  May 27, 2011

Over the past few days many stories have run about the Lakers and few of them have been positive. Our links were littered with them this morning and that’s only a sampling of what’s being said about the Lakers in both the print and electronic media. The gist of the criticism revolves around the hiring of Mike Brown as head coach and the ascension of Jim Buss as the primary decision maker for this organization.

What the Lakers are experiencing now isn’t unlike much of the other drama filled stories that they’ve dealt with for decades. From the firing of Paul Westhead 30 years ago to Kobe’s trade demands in 2007 and everything in between, this organization has found itself in the middle of a media storm for a long, long time.

However, this time it feels different. With Jerry Buss taking a backseat to his son and the lack of a Phil Jackson or Pat Riley level head coach in place (no disrespect to Mike Brown, but his résumé doesn’t measure up to those guys) this team is now in a position where they’re having trouble changing the narrative.

But is this really fair? And even more important, is what’s going on with this franchise today really that different than what it’s been through in the past?

Those are complex questions with answers that aren’t as easy as many would like them to be.

However, what is clear, after following this team for so long is that it’s easiest to pounce when things are going poorly. As was stated by Joel in the comments of a previous thread, “This new Jim Buss era thing, Kobe/Brown potential strenuous relationship is just overblown. This is more residual panic and frustration left over from the playoffs than anything else.”

When times are hardest it’s easier to question and second guess (there’s a reason fans want to trade everyone in the midst of a losing streak). After the Shaq trade, many were ready to storm the gates of the Lakers headquarters. The same could be said after the Showtime Lakers were taken out by the Celtics in the 1984 (and 2008).

What we’re seeing today isn’t that different. The fact that these recent decisions can play into preconceived notions about people only make narratives harder to break. Questions about Mike Brown and/or Jim Buss are fair. They’re relatively unprove commodities taking power over power positions in one of the most successful franchises in professional sports. That said, coming to conclusions that their ability to do well in their positions with little evidence to support those conclusions (beyond our own biases) is not, in my opinion.

However, this is where we are. The Lakers have been swept out of the playoffs. Long time employees are being shown the door. A coach with no skins on the wall who’s failed in a similar situation is taking over a team built to win a championship now. I could go on and on, but you get the point. Right now, the Lakers are at a bit of a low point and have a perception problem.

And while I’m in the camp of preaching patience and letting some of these moves play out before coming to a final conclusion, others will not agree with this approach. Welcome to the world where every move will be scrutinized and there’s no longer a Finals berth or an NBA championship to insulate and shield this franchise from those with the sharpened spears of criticism. Whether or not those criticisms end up being true with the worst assumptions becoming fact is not yet known. But, in this down time and with no games to change the story, this is what we’re in for. Buckle in Lakers fans, it’s going to be a long summer.

Darius Soriano

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61 responses to Down Times & Perception Problems

  1. I just don’t see this as a low point. Now in three years it will be a low point as only Andrew Bynum will be left on the roster. But right now the Lakers have the second best SG in the game, the second best Center, the fourth best PF (behind Bosh, Dirk, Amare), the second best defensive SF, and the best sixth man in the league. That doesn’t sound like a low point to me. Now… To have a chance to even think of beating the Heat of course you will have to replace one of the worst starting PGs to ever play the game with an average player.

  2. Pat Riley level coach? remember when they moved him from the broadcast booth to the bench? Riley wasn’t a asst. coach for even two years before he became head coach, so let’s not compare his resume to Mike Brown’s resume. that being said, I’m not a huge fan of the hire.

  3. Aaron? What game were you watching? Artest was lowerest rated small forward offensively in the West. He was getting beat by quicker forwards all year and his 3 point defense was exposed in the playoffs. Fisher must go. Artest must go. Blake must go. Walton must be released. The 2 40 year old bench bigs must go. Half this team must go! The only tradable Parts are LO and Pau since Jimmy thinks Bynam is untradable. The hiring of Brown to me means that Buss is not happy with the leagues highest payroll that cost him $30 million in revenue by not getting out of the 2 nd round with a $12 million dollar coach. Brown means major changes which can only be a positive in my opinion.

  4. smoothaswilkes May 27, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    Thank you for echoing my thoughts on this matter. Seems like every corner of the Lakers blogosphere, as well as the media in general, is reacting like the sky is falling and Jim Buss is ruining the franchise.

    The jury is still out. Roster moves to be made. Coaching staff and front office staff to fill out. Oh yeah, there’s also a CBA that needs to get done.

    I wish everyone would give it at least a minute to see how this starts playing out.

    Thanks again Darius and keep up the great work here at FB&G.

    Go Lakers!

  5. Excuse me Aaron but Amare and Bosh aren’t better than Pau. Dirk? Yes. You let one bad series base your judvement oviously. Also Fisher isn’t one the worts PGs ever to play the game. He’s old yes and LA will definitely need a younger more athletic guy. You have not been watching the Lakers long enough obviously to realize what Fisher has meant to this team over the years in situations when they needed him the most.

  6. Ken,
    We must have been watching different games. The second half the of the year Artest got very comfortable on offense and was dominant on that end of the floor in six games against the Hornets. On defense he was nothing short of spectacular once again. Shutting down Durant, Carmelo, Joe Johnson, Pierce, and making LeBron look human in Los Angeles are no easy tasks. His three point defense was exposed in the playoffs? He was the only Laker closing out on shooters. He even blocked several three point attempts. And I’m sorry… I just don’t think we need to spend time worrying about Blake being our back up PG. A back up PG? That’s what you’re worried about? An average back up PG that Blake has been throughout his career is the least of my concerns. And you’re also complaining about Walton? Lol. He doesn’t even play.

  7. #2. I should have been more clear in that what I mean is that Riles, in his first two years, went to the NBA Finals. He didn’t win, but the foundation was there that he was an excellent coach. He also had a charisma that aided him. Brown, for all that he’s achieved, hasn’t even accomplished what Riles did in those first two seasons (no knock on Brown, few guys have).

  8. For all the criticism that Jim Buss has endured, some of which I agree, there’s one thing he’s done which I like a lot.

    He’s laid low and not tried to go public and be defensive about anything. Lazenby has been taking regular and pointed shots at Jim. Some of it I think bordering on character assassination. The stuff about using his barkeeper as a scout? C’mon Roland, you’re better than that.

    But Jim has kept his mouth shut. Just keeps doing his biz. I like that. Hoping that’s a good sign of other things.

  9. I do not get all the Brown bashing nor all the Shaw love. There was no one available more qualified than Brown. What exactly has Shaw done to prove he is a top tier coach? He may be, but nobody knows that yet.

    I think the Lakers needed a new voice. I think the Lakers need to emphasize defense with their current roster. I just don’t get what other people are so agitated about.

  10. It’s definitely a strange and confusing summer for Laker fans, but let’s just all remember that the roster didn’t suddenly lose all of its talent. This team is still loaded and doesn’t need much tweaking to be a serious championship contender.

    Just a followup to the odd statistical anomaly about regular season MVPs: For 8 straight seasons now, no regular season MVP has won the championship, and only one (Kobe ’08) even made it to the finals.

    By contrast, in the previous 24 seasons, 12 MVPs won the championship, and 17 made it to the finals.

  11. #10. You’ve never met the man. You’ve never had a conversation with him. You don’t know if he’s smart or not. You don’t seem to like how he’s coached in the past, so please say that instead. Questioning a man’s intelligence when you’ve never had a conversation with him much less obvserved his work up close or seen how he prepares, isn’t a way to get taken seriously.

  12. Here’s another one from the record books, less surprising given the way the award is usually decided, but the numbers are still pretty amazing.

    There have been 49 Coach of the Year awards, and only 5 times has that team won a title (and 3 of those were in the first 10 years of the award). Only one other time has the winning coach’s team even made the finals.

    Uh, let’s hope Mike Brown doesn’t win COY next year.

  13. Knickers,
    Consideration the limitations of the roster in Cleveland, and the success that the did enjoyed (which was pretty significant, compared to the rest of the league), what could he have done differently? Or, to put it another way, what did he do that WASN’T smart?

  14. Why do you people even respond to statements like Knickers? As the old saying goes, don’t feed the troll.

  15. Why do people use Riley as an example? I think every assistant coach in the league wishes they inherited a roster as good as Riley did. Take a look at that first roster – it’s better than the current laker roster. There are two dynasties in the NBA – the lakers and the celtics. Danny Ainge was almost fired before he landed his three star players. Jim Buss needs to show he is up to the task. And just about every article has pointed out obvious and serious flaws. There’s plenty of time to correct it, but it’s a very poor start.

  16. Funky Chicken May 27, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    I’m the last guy to simply fall in line with happy talk about the Lakers, and I have no problem criticizing the team (or coach) when deserved. However, the criticism being leveled at Jim Buss and Mike Brown in the last 2 days has been ridiculous. Nothing proves the (outside of LA) notion that Laker fans are among the worst in the league better than the uproar of the last 2 days.

    Mike Brown wasn’t my first choice (Adelman was) but he is clearly a reasonable one. Of all the realistic candidates (Brown, Adelman, Shaw, Dunleavy, Van Gundy), there isn’t a single guy without obvious question marks.

    Rick Adelman consistently got under-talented teams to overachieve, but how does this translate to a very talented roster?

    Shaw has no HC experience, and is part of the staff that clearly did not have what it took to inspire this roster last year. Would next year have been different?

    Dunleavy. Ugh.

    Van Gundy has been out of the league for a long time, and hasn’t done anything that Mike Brown hasn’t done. I like his personality, but what does that have to do with anything?

    Mike Brown is actually the candidate who has accomplished the most. You think it is easy to coach a team to the best record in the league, twice? With THAT roster? Seriously, take a look at what Thibodeau did in Chicago this year and ask yourself if Mike Brown ever had a team with as much talent as Chicago has.

    People want to make a big deal about Brown’s teams “underachieving” in the playoffs. To me, that is an entirely ridiculous premise. Brown’s teams never underachieved in the playoffs; they OVERACHIEVED in the regular season. With the roster that he had to work with, he never once coached the best team in the league, and he didn’t lose in playoffs to inferior teams. Instead, he coached one superstar and a bunch of scrubs to the overall best record. Twice. And the Finals once. Those are incredible accomplishments. Boobie Gibson, Wally Sczerbiak, Varejao, and Ilgauskas. Are you kidding me?

    Looking back on Brown’s career in Cleveland, I think you can make an argument that he’s one of the best coaches in the game over the last 5 years. Not sure you could say that about any of the other available candidates….

  17. Lakers brass stated publically that it only wanted to spend $3M to $4M per year for a coach. Do you think JVG would sign up for that amount? No. Adelman? Probably not. There’s Phil Jackson money, then there’s everyone else. For $4M per given the high profile nature of the job, Brown was a good choice. It doesn’t matter who coaches this team if we don’t get a starting PG. Kupchak has his work cut out for him after the CBA issue is resolved.

  18. The Dude Abides May 27, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    The Kevin Ding article had Kupchak also being wowed by Mike Brown, so IMO the “Jim Buss power trip” angle that’s been promulgated by many might be an exaggeration.

    I agree with Aaron that Brown won’t tolerate statuesque defense from our starting PG, so that’s a plus. Fish isn’t going to get any quicker between now and next season.

    Another earlier commenter mentioned Tyler Honeycutt from UCLA as a possible late 1st round pick that we had to package to NJ to save some dough and luxury tax by getting rid of Sasha’s contract. Well, if our GM can package enough 2nd round picks together, we still could get a crack at Honeycutt, who seems to be a Dorell Wright clone from my perspective.

    Pat Riley’s Lakers won the 1982 NBA championship in Riley’s rookie season as head coach.

  19. jim buss’ qualifications begin and end with the fact his daddy has given him the team to play with like a shiny new toy. i expect the lakers to devolve into a knicks like morass of embarassing incompetence (incontinence in some cases). the team will have a new owner before it has a new championship.

  20. 5)
    I’ve said Gasol was behind those guys for the last two years. It wasn’t just two playoff series that made that decision. Gasol is a great player but he has been slightly overrated because of two straight championships. He didn’t all of the sudden get better when he came to LA. Just as he was underrated in Memphis playing on garbage teams he was overrated playing in Los Angeles with great talent around him. He routinely gets outplayed by Bosh, Dirk, and Amare to the point where Bynum is switched over to guard Bosh and Amare when Gasol gets outplayed. This isn’t a knock on Gasol. Being slightly behind those great players isn’t a travesty.

  21. Funky Chicken makes a good point. Forget the last two days. I would say since the Lakers were eliminated we Laker fans have been working overtime to prove all the dumb stereotypes about us true. We have whined, complained, and acted like the world is ending. So we will no longer have one of the greatest coaches ever sitting court side. Phil can’t coach forever. Either Rick Carlisle or Erik Spoelstra will be winning the championship in the next two weeks. It is very possible to win with a coach not named Pat Riley or Phil Jackson.

    The decision has been made. None of us have the power to reverse it. We just have to give Jim Buss and Mike Brown a chance.

  22. If this is the low point, the Smush-era disintegrates the scale. I had no feeling whatsoever that the Lakers were going to pull out of that death spiral. I’m going to hate either of the teams remaining winning the NBA championship as they unfortunately can’t both lose.

    Mitch has done a pretty good job flipping and evaluating. If can he stop handing out long contracts to geriatrics and b-teamers, the team will have more flexibility.

    With Phil gone, the core is still a very capable bunch minus El Presidente and they can integrate people into the game who didn’t grow up watching 1st-run Perry Mason. If Barnes is going to re-up, I’m good with that. His off ball movement is needed and he closes well when healthy. If this is Walton’s last year on that horridly long contract and the CBA is similar, he’ll get The Machine treatment but hopefully no geezers in return.

    I didn’t really dig Brown’s persona during his Cleveland run but I guess everyone thought that preening and such was the best strategy with James. Maybe he just likes to flash those chompers so much because he’s pulling in 4 million a year to do something he enjoys. I have 3 to 4 years to find out.

  23. We saw two great coaches in the series between Miami and Chicago. The Chicago has great defensive scheme to stop LBJ, but just in 2 days the Miami coach comes with another great adjustment to stop Rose and Chicago can’t do anything. Pat Riley is smart person, what did he see in the Miami coach Erik Spoelstra? Game 2, just few min in the game, Miami got fouls trouble, Anthony out, McGloire came in and got foul, Erik put in Haslem who scored 13 points, and the MIami win game 2 and on the way to NBA Finals. LeBron James now playing at another level, he has patient and wait for his moments comes to hit the big shots. If you want to win championship, you got to make adjustment to stop opponents’s super star, can Mike Brown do that ? Time will tell.

  24. 23. Agree with everything you said. I felt a lot worse about the team 4 years ago at this time.

  25. Hale (23)
    Let’s hope the new CBA has an amnesty clause like the last one.
    The prime target? “that horridly long contract”! Two more years to go at almost $12M total.

    The Lakers would still have to pay him $12M, but they save the luxury tax amount of $12M.

  26. There’s obviously a wide range of thought here and that’s as it should be – we don’t know what the upcoming season will look like, or if there will be a season at all. We’re coming off an extremely disappointing end to a storied era. We’re not only losing a HOF coach but his entire staff along with a dozen scouts and other assorted Lakers rank and file including 26-year veteran Ronnie Lester whose allegiance was to Mitch Kupchak and Jerry Buss, not to Phil Jackson.

    So, maybe it’s not a case of ‘the sky is falling’. Maybe this perfect storm, which includes the upcoming labor negotiations and the rise of Jim Buss, gathered even more strength with the Mike Brown announcement. Lakers fans were looking for some good news, some reassuring news, SOMETHING to hang onto in a landscape that’s become very unstable, very quickly.

    Brown could very well turn out to be a good coach for the Lakers. I would love to see it. But let’s not kid ourselves, there’s a reason why so many writers, pundits, fans and players are scratching their heads – this is a pick that nobody expected and everybody’s starting to expect more of the same. Jim Buss is a wild card in uncertain times.

  27. The Brown hire is OK on a basic level, but as Adande pointed out, the Lakers are turning their back on their history and past. Magic, Kareem, West–gone and/or alienated. That, added to some of the cuts, like Lester, the scouts, the training staff, and the equipment mgr, which seem petty and despotic.

    And only interviewing TWO guys–not smart. Not giving Kobe a courtesy consult–not smart. Saying Bynum is “untouchable” (if Buss did)–not smart. These things indicate insecurity, which is is one of the WORST qualities a guy in charge can have.

    That, plus a hard cap coming, with Kobe and Pau owed 49M in 2013-14. Reasons to be pessimistic.

    So, I want to see what he does with personnel. They need a shooter; they need a little youth and speed. I want to see Buss deliver on these issues. He wants changes, OK. Start making some good ones.

  28. #16. Agree Pat Riley inherited a nice roster in 1982 (Kareem, Bob McAdoo, Jamaal Wilkes, Norm Nixon, Magic Johnson, MIchael Cooper, Mitch Kupchak, who averaged 14/8 before tearing up his knee early in the season). However, it’s important to note their rivals were loaded too.

    The 76ers team the Lakers beat in ’82 had Dr. J- Julius Erving, Chocolate Thunder Daryl Dawkins, Maurice Cheeks, Boston Strangler Andrew Toney, Bobby Jones, Lionel Hollins. In ’83, they added Moses Malone.

    The Celtics had Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Robert Parish, Danny Ainge, Tiny Archibald, In 84, they added Dennis Johnson.

    There were only 23 teams in the league, so the talent wasn’t diluted like it is now in the post-expansion era. Players stayed in college most, if not all of their 4 years, so they entered the league with developed skills, polish, and championship experience.

    Pat Riley deserves a lot of credit for going to the Finals 7 times in his 9 years and winning 4 in that landscape. Like Phil Jackson, he had a deft touch with managing egos and getting guys to accept their roles while striving to become excellent doing them. The fact he would quote Shakespeare: “Play well your role; therein lies the glory” gave him charisma, but it didn’t belie his talent.

  29. “there’s a reason why so many writers, pundits, fans and players are scratching their heads – this is a pick that nobody expected ”
    Who drives the fans expectations? ESPN and the other media.
    What do they emphasize? Highlight film and controversy.

    It is the result we all see, not the process that leads to that result. Now that the Lakers have lost, we want success yesterday; never mind that we can’t replay this last season.

    There is an interesting LA Times article using an interview with Trey Johnson, who has played for both Mike Brown in Cleveland and Phil Jackson this last spring.
    http://lakersblog.latimes.com/lakersblog/2011/05/lakers-trey-johnson-mike-brown-phil-jackson.html
    It is worth a read.

  30. 27) dave m,
    “Maybe this perfect storm, which includes the upcoming labor negotiations and the rise of Jim Buss, gathered even more strength with the Mike Brown announcement.”

    Yes – this will be one of those storms that uncovers a sunken Spanish galleon that is filled with treasure!!

  31. Darius, fantastic work as always.

    Not that I am remaining level-headed enough to actually employ it, but I can identify your approach as the correct one for fans to take with regard to this new era for the Lakers.

    I have no problem at all with the Mike Brown. The man is an outstanding defensive coach, experienced (but still relatively young) and thanks to his time with Lebron, is no stranger to the media crush he will face on the Lakers’ bench.

    Jim Buss I will reserve comment on for the moment.

  32. DOC4DaLakeShow May 28, 2011 at 10:00 am

    This isn’t about bashing Jim Buss….so what if he’s the man? He didn’t pull a no-show against the mavs!! As fo B.Scott? Would you hire him after he was a part of that season-long debacle? Maybe Mike is holding the seat until Byron is free…When the sixers won in 83 and shaq won after leaving us, I thought the world was really ending, but it didn’t then and isn’t now…It’s their time to talk trash, and we gotta deal with it. We need to do our thing better and we will be fine.

  33. DOC4DaLakeShow May 28, 2011 at 10:06 am

    Meant B. Shaw

  34. Dave M,

    What more can we hope for except the best in everything under Mike Brown. Just this morning, I cringed when I read that he’s considering J. Kuester of Piston and his defensive henchman, Malone as his assistants. We really don’t know their coaching abilities but at least we can dig on their histories. Are they really great choices? The sky may not be falling in the Lakerdom under their watch but evaluate their influence on recent events. JOhn Kuester became a controversial head coach of the Piston this season. It almost compromised the legal existence of the franchise from players revolt. Well, we just beat the much acclaimed defensive guru of the Hornets under Malone, so how will these Tom, Dick & Harry transform this Lakers overnight from their perceived intelligence. From Riley to Jackson, it is often said coaching the lakers are broken down into these categories: motivating and massaging egos of marquee players 70%; handling Hollywood media & fans 10%; finally, real coaching is only 20%. This goes back to Wilt, Baylor and West era; Magic-Kareem era. How they handle Kobe-Bynum era, Artest-Odom hollywood side jobs, Gasol-Shannon disappearing acts, all of them want touches? We don’t mind change in leadership, but at least a change that is within margin of error, a change with calculated risk based on historical perspectives. Yeah, somebody retorted fan’s views are not really that important, however I believe they are the straws that stirs the drink, without their emotional involvement, there is less attention and energy, without attentiveness then the very essence of purple and gold tradition that produced Lakermania becomes forgettable buried in the crevices of a 2nd market bracket competing only during draft lottery. This is not new to us because that’s what happened to our beloved baseball team, the Dodgers when the O’Malley’s and Tom Lasorda left.

  35. that was an insightful interview.

    i’m very pleased trey confirmed that the basis of the cavs’ style was not imposed on them by brown. it was based upon the strengths/talent of the personnel.

    i was worried brown would just impose a style of play on the team, but I feel like he’s smart enough not to do that.

    after being super-depressed for a couple of weeks–i haven’t watched a single basketball game since the lakers lost–i’m getting fired up about our draft.

    i’ve been reading up draftexpress, and the two guys I like the most in our range of picks are andrew goudelock and justin harper.

  36. From what I`ve read Brown delegates a lot of authority to asst. coaches. Let`s see who he selects and whether they can work together as a coaching team. This team is mentally soft,and thought they could always turn it on when they wanted. Brown will have to prove himself early in the season by showing the team can win tough games in crunch time. Also plenty of personnel weakness that will have to be addressed before the season starts, if it does.

  37. Jeez, no Kuester on the bench, please. I can’t think of a bigger coach vs. team disaster in the league since Sprewell choked Carlisemo.

    Would much, much prefer Messina and/or Grgurich. I’d rather see Jim Buss on the sidelines calling plays than John Kuester.

  38. I don’t know when thread with potential personnel moves will hapen given the CBA, but I’d love to pull a reasonable trade for Ramon Sessions. Cleveland won’t need him after they pick Irving.

  39. 30) Craig W,
    It’s a good article and nice to see a player’s perspective. I’m not sure I agree that the major media outlets are driving the controversy though. Yes, I referenced writers and pundits along with fans but much of the conversation is being fostered on a grass roots level – fan-based and through platforms such as this one and I do feel, that there’s a general feeling of disquiet amongst many that would be there regardless of media slant. But yes, we do want success yesterday – much agreed there.

    31) ex,
    If doubloons are to be recovered, than by all means – winds of change it is. Families of the Andrea Gail may have a sometime different take though.

    35) Edwin,
    I hadn’t heard about Kuenster and that doesn’t seem like a real move toward team unity… not if the Detroit players’ protest tells us anything. Great point about choosing within the margin of error.

  40. Not sure if this has been mentioned here yet, but Rick Adelman was indeed interviewed by the Lakers. He wasn’t sure if he wanted to coach again, and expressed his desire for a front office position with the Blazers.

  41. Aaron If you think Artest is a NBA top small forward then let’s see if anyone in the league wants Mr. Hollywood and his numerous outside influences. Ron and Fisher were the two biggest reasons this team failed this year. Throw inMitch blunders on bench players and we must make changes. This team can not win with a slow, older, poor outside shooting team while the rest of the league gets younger, quicker and more athletic.

  42. What’s the official word on Adelman? Some reliable sources are saying he wasn’t interviewed, some people are saying he was. Not that it makes a difference, just curious.

  43. Not that I’m advocating for Kuester one way or the other. But, how a guy does as a coach and how he does as an assistant coach are two completely different things. Judging Kuester on his assistant coach capabilities strictly on his Detroit head coaching gig is extremely short sighted.

    Sports history and not just basketball is littered with numerous people who were outstanding as assistants but flamed out as head coaches. Many of these people returned to being successful assistant coaches.

  44. If neither Honeycutt nor Lee from UCLA are available in the 2nd round, please, please, please say no to International shooting guards!

    The Lakers are horrible when choosing players from Europe. The best team in the league to draft foreign players is the Spurs, no other team can touch their scouts.

    The Lakers need to draft an American shooter with athleticism and the potential to be a decent defender. So, if the Lakers had to let Ronnie Lester go after 26 years, I have no qualms with that move. We need a scout with contacts to shake the bushes and find us a jewel. Similar to the scout that found Neon.

    Brown deserves an opportunity to lose one game with the Lakers before he is raked over the coals!

    Everyone wants to shine klieg lights on PJ’s championships, when those same lights need to be directed at PJ’s final season with the Lakers. He consistently allowed the team to underachieve this past season, by allowing the team to go on 5 and 6 game losing streaks without making a change to shake-up the team. He could have played the rookies if for nothing else other than forcing the other players to exceed their potential.

    2011-2012 season we need more athleticism, more shooting and more defense!

    Go Lakers!

  45. While Brown doesn’t inspire as much confidence as some of the other candidates, I will wait for results before criticizing him.

    But let’s not get it twisted, LeBron carried the Cavs during those year. I attribute very little of Brown’s influence in that success.

    I guess we will just have to wait to see.

  46. If Brown’s schemes allow younger players to be comfortable within the system, then you’ll see more athleticism, something Jim Buss alluded to at the end of the Simers interview. Buss didn’t say this, but I’ll bet this was a bone of contention. Why have draft picks if you don’t/can’t use the players. The Lakers would have young players and veterans who were next to useless, because they didn’t grasp the offense. (See Laker bench, 2010-2011)

  47. 47) Absolutely, right! Add to the fact that if deficiencies in the team were realized prior to the trade deadline, the Lakers were incapable of making any trades due to the intricacies of the system.

    In the future, needs can be addressed on the fly, instead of waiting a year or two before a player’s potential can be realized.

  48. Hopefully, the Lakers re-sign Trey Johnson. If what the above comments mentioned are true, I would love to see Ebanks get some more play time. In his exit interview, he mentioned the management’s desire for him to improve his ball handling and shooting, so that he can effectively play the 2 spot.

  49. Some of you are making very persuasive and articulate arguments and it’s spoiling my doom and gloom. I may have to consider tacit support for the Brown hire. Let me ponder this for a couple days.

  50. 45 – We did grab Marc Gasol at the end of the second round. And Sasha, while we were all frustrated with him, wasn’t a terrible pick for where he was drafted. There are lottery European picks who flamed out of the league in a couple years. So I wouldn’t say our front office is awful at scouting European talent.

    Chownoir’s dead on. As bad as Kuester’s been as a head coach, that’s really not a huge indication of how successful he could be as an assistant. Of course, I’d much rather see Messini and the Dallas guy whose name I can never spell. And Ron Adams, if we’re listing wishlists.

  51. #45 & #51. I’d also cite the younger Gasol as an example of being able to scout a good Euro player. But I think we also need to remember that hitting on a good European player often means taking a gamble on an up and coming player and hoping he develops playing overseas to the point that he’s worth bringing over.

    This year, I’d actually hope the Lakers draft at least one Euro player and hopefully two. Remember, LA has 4 2nd round draft picks this year and there’s no way 4 rookies make this team. I’d much rather have 2 players stashed in Europe w/ 2 additional players fighting it out to try and make this team for next year.

  52. Didn’t the Lakers just jettison a dozen scouts? Who’s covering the overseas leagues for us right now, is Vlade D. still acting as a euro liason?

  53. I agree with you guys about success as a head coach, or lack thereof, not necessarily translating into being a good assistant coach. And I’m not saying Kuester would be an automatic disaster on next year’s staff – I don’t have a clue one way or the other, frankly – but it’s worth noting that this isn’t just some coach who had a bad winning percentage. This is a coach who lost control over his team to the extent that nearly half his roster was openly defying and mocking him – I really can’t think of a more toxic situation in the NBA in recent years.

    Players talk to each other around the league. Just seems like it would be a really questionable move to hire this guy right away, without giving him even a year off to let the smoke clear from that debacle.

  54. #1, I have to disagree. Kobe is not the second best shooting guard in the game. If can recall, every time Kobe has played Wade, Wade got single coverage from Kobe, and Kobe got doubled or tripled. In all these instances Kobe scored around his average and Wade consistently underperformed.

  55. 55) Pat,
    If Kobe was getting double or triple covered, why did he end up taking the shot?

  56. 56, because the bigs let themselves be pushed around by guys smaller them to positions in no man’s land somewhere between the high and low post.

  57. Ken,
    Reading not your forte? I never said he was a top SF. I said he was a top defensive SF.

  58. 57) Pat
    Both Gasol and Bynum can hit that shot, especially if they aren’t being guarded. You’ve (apparently inadvertently) pointed out one of the problems Coach Brown will have to deal with.

  59. “…and if I ever need any guidance, who’s a better consiglieri than my father?”

    Recognize the quote? Michael to Clemenza in The Godfather.

    My point being Jim Buss will do just fine he has had a great teacher and he has exhibited nothing but the same drive, passion and commitment to the Lakers remaining the BEST organization in the NBA that his father has.

    Simply put we as Laker fans are very lucky indeed to have had such an organization to root for over the years. The Great Teams, the list of Hall of Famers and Laker Greats!
    The Fabulous Forum, ShowTime, Laker Girls, Shaq/Kobe 3-Peat and Chick Hearn!!!

    More to Come LAKERDOM!

    Let’s give Jim Buss and Mike Brown a chance. I think they will both do an outstanding job!

  60. I think Gary Vitti said it best, this team peaked too early and simply ran out of gas. If they had hit their stride 3 weeks later we would still be playing. I think we forget how terribly the Lakers closed last season, but peaked for the playoff run and won the title.

    Timing is huge.

    I think we need to give Mike Brown and Jim Buss the benefit of the doubt. As mentioned previously, trade deadline deals were difficult because of the complexity of the triangle. A change in offensive philosophy may put the team in a better position to intergrate new players. And dont forget we have Caracter and Ebanks in a less complicated system both should get more run.

    Yes there is a glaring lack of athleticism especially at the point of attack defensively. We need a Tony Allen type of defender because of how teams are attacking us at the PG.