Top Two Reasons to Not Quit on Lakers Head Coach Mike Brown


After the benching of Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum in separate games last week, many people thought Lakers head coach Mike Brown had begun digging his own grave. Putting your best players on the bench in two crucial 4th quarters might make one wonder if Brown was trying to prove to his players, the critics, and even to himself that L.A. can win ball games by doing things his way.

Even if you don’t agree with Brown’s coaching decisions, it’s time to examine what the head coach has done this season and why giving up on him right now is a bad idea.

1. Benching Bryant and Bynum was Smart
Put yourselves in Brown’s shoes for these two scenarios and his decisions clearly become justifiable.

A: During a fourth quarter timeout, Kobe Bryant, an NBA legend and one of the game’s best scorers of all-time, is visibly frustrated after being down to the Memphis Grizzlies by double digits for the second time of the game. L.A.’s win-loss outcome for this contest has already been decided, regardless of if Mamba is in the game. Kobe’s impact on this game is minimal and he knows it. Benching him will not only let him calm down, but it also gives Sessions, Gasol, World Peace and other Lakers the challenge to see who can give them a lift without their leader on the floor. This also gives these players solid practice against a playoff team to play without their star and play more as a team. Situations like this inevitably come up during the postseason and I believe Brown should be applauded more than rejected for this move.

B: Midway through the third quarter with a six-point lead over the home Golden State Warriors, a three pointer is attempted with sixteen seconds left on the shot clock. The man who attempts it is Andrew Bynum. L.A.’s starting center is a career 1-7 from beyond the arc and he just attempted one as if it’s part of his repertoire. Enough said.

2. A Contender in the Right Position

As it currently stands, the Lakers are first in the Pacific Division with a record of 33-20. They hold the third seed in the Western Conference and they have the fourth best home record at 22-5. Out of the 8 playoff teams in the West, do you know which is the only club with a brand new coaching staff? If your answer is the Lakers, you are correct. Are the Lakers a team with talent? Absolutely. Should they make the playoffs regardless of who’s the coach? No doubt. But as is with all good things, it takes time. The city of Los Angeles was spoiled with Phil Jackson’s tenure as head coach, as he brought instant gratification to the franchise, the players, and its fans. Coaching in the NBA is much more than X’s and O’s and drawing up plays for the last possession. Managing and coaching Laker players on a professional and celebrity level can arguably be the hardest coaching job in all of professional sports. Brown’s hard-nosed defensive minded foundation is the best direction for a franchise with an aging centerpiece. It’s easy to nitpick and critique when the Lakeshow isn’t dominating the league, but with where Los Angeles ranks, credit is deservedly due to Mr. Brown and his colleagues on the sideline.