After going winless in the pre-season (0-8) and dropping four out of five games to start the season, the Los Angeles Lakers canned head coach Mike Brown yesterday. Brown had succeeded NBA legend Phil Jackson (possessor of 11 NBA titles with the Chicago Bulls and Lakers) last season. With the addition of guard Steve Nash and forward Dwight Howard to an already star-studded, albeit aging, line-up, expectations were high in L.A. And when the team failed to meet them, even though the season had barely started, and players like Howard and Nash were hobbled by injuries, GM Mitch Kupchak was quick to act.
If you read this TSN report, you’ll see that Brown had come under fire for introducing a new offensive scheme that critics said didn’t maximize the talents of his star players. From what I understand of the so-called “Princeton offense”, it relies heavily on a team approach to basketball, with plenty of passing, picks, back-door cuts and whatnot that seek to exploit mismatches. Typically, it’s used by teams that lack the pure athletic talent of their opponents and are seeking to control the tempo of the game through ball control on offense and strong defense at the other end of the court.
That strategy goes against the history of the Laker franchise in Tinseltown, where a premium has long been placed on fast-paced, entertaining “Showtime” style basketball that allowed the talents of superstars like Magic Johnson, James Worthy and Kobe Bryant to shine. Following yesterday’s firing, the Lakers, under interim head coach Bernie Bickerstaff, spanked the Golden State Warriors 101-77 at Staples Center to record their second win of the season. The Lakers are expected to name a full-time replacement as early as this weekend, with Phil Jackson rumoured to be considering a third stint with the team.