Mike Brown Talks, We Listen. But Will The Players?

Darius Soriano —  September 16, 2011

One of the ongoing topics of discussion this off-season has been what the Lakers offense will look like next year. The perception that Mike Brown isn’t the most creative tactician on that side of the ball has only fueled this discussion. Here at FB&G, we’ve discussed it from a variety of angles, others have broken down game tape, and Mike Brown himself has spoken on the issue.

Just today, in fact, Kevin Ding has a column from his sit down with Brown and again the new Lakers head man reiterated what his plans are on that side of the ball:

When talking about the contrasting offensive styles Brown will show from Cleveland to here, the new Lakers’ coach summarized the coming Lakers offense as feeding Gasol and Bynum inside, not being the Kobe show. “This team is completely different from what I had in Cleveland,” Brown said. “In Cleveland, I had a guy who liked to come off the top of the floor, liked to play in space and play pick-and-roll and make plays for others. Here, I’ve got two guys similar to what we had in San Antonio; you’re able to throw them the ball on the block.” It’s impossible to imagine Bryant not getting his, however, and if the baseline for Brown’s Lakers basketball is going to be the passion and work ethic, though, Brown and Bryant will get along just fine.

This is nothing new, and ultimately doens’t require much analysis. Brown understands that a major strength of this team is his big men and he wants to use them as such.

To which I say: great. I think we can all understand that and welcome the philosophy.

However, this isn’t anything different than what Phil Jackson preached last year (and the years before that during both his stints as Lakers’ coach). And we all saw how that worked out as Lakers’ guards highjacked possessions by either hoisting long jumpers without even sniffing a post entry pass or manipulated the motions of the triangle to get the ball into the hands of other players not named Gasol or Bynum.

And this is the real issue that will need to be tackled. Coaching philosophy is the first thing I look for when evaluating if a person is a good fit for a team. But it’s the ability to get through to the players; for the players to buy into what the coach is saying that ultimately matters most.

This isn’t a swipe against Kobe Bryant, necessarily. Yes he had a league high usage rate and that’s something that will need to be addressed. But if you put Lakers’ offensive possessions from last season under a microscope you’d see plenty of Shannon Brown dribbling between his legs before pulling up for a long two pointer or Derek Fisher barrelling down the lane to try a scoop shot against challenging big men. This is to say nothing of Ron Artest or Matt Barnes’ shot selection (both were sometimes too quick to fire up the open jumpers that were available to them).

My point being, there were many culprits who contributed to the disjointed sets the Lakers ran last year. And if Mike Brown is going to rework the offense into one that goes inside-out it’s not the X’s and O’s that matter as much as his ability to connect with the players to get them on board with what he’s saying.

Team success is the result of many factors coming together. Talent is obviously needed but unless that talent is on the same page and working together the chances of getting the most out of the roster diminishes. The Lakers have the talent part covered. Where they’ll need Mike Brown most is in putting it all together in order to get the most out of his guys.

I love that Mike Brown is enthusiastic, is going to work hard, will preach accountability, and that he’s got plans to run an offense through is big men. But I’ll love him most if he can get his guys to buy into everything he’s saying. Because ultimately, that’s where his success is going to come from.

Darius Soriano

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22 responses to Mike Brown Talks, We Listen. But Will The Players?

  1. I think the league is still forbidding players from listening to coaches.

  2. Actually, the league does not have to do that since most players don’t listen to their coaches anyways (LOL)

  3. I don’t think Kobe not involving with his teammates is the real problem, he’s willing to share the ball as long as others are effective.

    Going for Pau and Drew is good, but question is, I don’t trust Drew’s durability and stability, he’s immature on offence, and his skill’s not good enough to be the anchor. And Pau? Sometimes he’s really soft out of nowhere(I’m a big fan of Pau actually).

    The most important I believe is, Lakers need to get a better SG or PG who can penetrate.

  4. The Lakers seem unable to go inside, as long as they are not a threat from outside. Until they get some sharpshooters, the other team just packs the paint, and our perimeter players just jack up shots, that usually miss, the hole of the basket. I am sad about this…

  5. #1. There’s still carrier pigeons though. Y’know, I wonder. To what degree is the communication ban enforced? Are emails monitored? What about good old fashioned letters. Sealed with sealing wax.

  6. I actually believe M. Brown will have a better chance at getting guys to buy into the inside out game. My main reason being that this team lost last year in an embarrasing fashion, in years past the team had success( 3 finals 2 rings) without the bigs being top priority. To change something that you have had a high success rate in the past is tough to sell, but when you have failed it makes it a little easier.

    The players getting caught up in the hype of being two time champs really seemed to take the edge off of some of the guys. When in fact they needed to be going twice as hard as any team in the league. The mindset that talent alone will get them over the top against good teams in the league is a thing of the past. Losing tends to check your ego and make you get back to the simple things that made you succesfull in the first place.

    New blood will allow for a fresh start, a different challenge from what has been the norm in the past. LA’s unmotivated and lackidasical play at times last year, appearing as if they didnt care whether they won or lost, will have a fresh mental picture of Dallas opening a fresh can on them. Brown’s enthusiasm and rahrah attitude will go a long way in splashing cold water into a sleeping giants face.

  7. Why don’t we have a new SG yet? Also, we can’t really say anything about his coaching until we see some action on the court and how his plans on paper can translate into offense and defense.

  8. Dimitrie (9),

    I think that there’s a lockout going on.

  9. I miss NBA basketball so much it hurts.

  10. 3- I hear what you are saying. But the reality is Kobe is not the player he once was. He can’t do the hero thing anymore. His ability to consistently take over games and produce wins is not even what is was two years ago. Relying more on Gasol and Bynum is not an option anymore. It is a necessity. If Bynum can’t be trusted due to a supposed lack of maturity then he needs to be traded. If Gasol can’t be relied on due to some fear he may mentally check out then he needs to be traded as well. If those guys can’t pick up the slack that Kobe can no longer carry then they need to moved for guys who can. However, since they are still here the Lakers have to feature them more. It is no longer a question of should Bynum get the ball more or should Gasol be featured more in the offense. If those things don’t happen the Lakers won’t even make it past the second round.

    Coach Brown has the right idea. However, they do need some shooters to space the floor. Without shooters teams will continue to pack the paint. Plus, they will do the same thing Dallas did. Dallas packed the paint, rarely (if ever) doubled Kobe and let him launch away. It worked to perfection for the very reasons I mentioned above.

  11. Rusty Shackleford September 18, 2011 at 5:10 am

    Until I see how the Lakers address opposing defenses packing the paint I don’t care about the inside out game. Over the past 4 years this team hasn’t really changed personell-wise. The league now has a game plan for the Lakers – pack the paint and beat up Pau. A lot of times last season it seemed like possessions were wasted when they were forcing the ball to the bigs. They’d keep forcing shots expecting to get foul calls that, clearly after a quarter or two, weren’t going to be given from the refs. The bigs can’t complain about not getting touches when they aren’t effective with them. Not to say it’s totally their fault – they need something (outside shooting) to keep the defenses honest.

  12. If Mike Brown is sincerely intent on establishing/focusing on an Inside – Out Offense, then the name of this post should have been: “Mike Brown Talks, We Listen. But Will Kobe?”

  13. @ thisisweaksauce

    Haha yea you’re right. For some reason I had the impression that the Lakers Org. would have previously talked about ideas of a new point guard if the season started….

  14. @12- Dallas also had Dirk shooting close to 70%…that’s why…

    @3- I agree with you 100%, but #12 also have a point: Kobe is no longer able to take over and close it by himself.

    Just watched the Euro Finals and Pau playing along with Marc Gasol looks sweeeeeeeeeeeet. I wish we had Marc instead of Andrew…

    oh well…

  15. @T. Rogers and @Magic Phil

    I’m not saying should take over games anytime he wants, going for Pau & Drew isn’t the real answer for this Laker team. We need new backcourt players who can creat his own offence opportunities just like Kobe did.

    Got to admit Kobe’s not effective last season, but he was injured, knees and ankles. Didn’t you remember he said he thought himself done for the season after he sprained his ankle in a regular game vs Dallas late in the season. He can’t penetrate, he can’t draw double teams, that’s the main reason Lakers got swept by Dallas. So let’s hope he’ll get better.

    BTW, did anyone watch Euro tournament? That Spain&France match was great, but Pau still showed some strength deficit.

  16. @17

    I did. And Marc + Pau would be awesome to have….problem is Drew and Jim Buss…

  17. @17

    I hear you. It’s just Kobe is 33 years old wit A LOT of mileage. At this point it hard to tell if he is really dealing with injuries or if the wear and tear is just taking its toll. At this stage in his career we really can’t expect him to be better than the previous season. He would be doing go just remain the same.

  18. It starts with Kobe; if he completely buys into the system, the rest will follow.

    Agree with DirtySanchez – the way it ended last season increases the likelihood that the team will follow what Brown wants to do.

  19. @20 – hey, haven’t seen you around much lately, everything good? I’m just hoping there’s enough of a camp and time to do some prep work before the season (whatever/whenever that may be) gets underway. New system, old habits.

  20. 21) Combination of being busy with my fantasy bog snorkeling league and irritation with the NBA strike.

  21. It’s hard to even respond to Marc Gasol over Bynum talk with a straight and respectful response. Let’s just say it’s like comparing a fatty burger to a lean filet. And that isn’t just a reference to the over weight and sluggish Gasol.