Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Lakers: Why Michael Brown might not have been the best pick to replace Phil Jackson

Jackson reached that pinnacle by getting players to excel in roles that complemented their strengths and those of their teammates. He viewed coaching as a process designed to instill players with championship-caliber dedication and focus -- the intangible differentiators in a league rich in talent. […]

Granted, he seemed unconventional to the point of being weird, at least by NBA standards. A devotee of Zen, he gave his players weighty books to read on road trips, had them meditate before games, then sat implacably on the bench while they tried to work through their problems on the court. […]

Jackson lamented this year that he couldn't seem to get through to the players. The NBA's population is certainly different now than it was when he became a head coach in Chicago 22 years ago. The players are younger, more athletic and more international, often having a greater financial interest in their personal brands than in their team's. Yet Jackson has been able to mold the shifting array of personnel into teams that never had a losing record and never missed the playoffs.

He was the ideal coach for a team in a fickle town that has little patience for losers.

So it seems surprising that the Buss family would replace Jackson as head coach with Mike Brown, who was fired from the Cleveland Cavaliers last year and might have trouble jibing with the Lakers' star players, especially Kobe Bryant, who had his own ideas for who should take the job and isn't the most diplomatic guy when he doesn't get his way.


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