So, the Los Angeles Lakers decided to fire Mike Brown on Friday afternoon just 71 games into his Laker coaching career.
I thought it was a horrible time to make the move, to be brutally honest. The Lakers had several new key players (Dwight Howard, Steve Nash, and Antawn Jamison) and a brand new system to install, the Princeton offense. Howard’s clearly not 100% yet, Nash got hurt and Jamison’s playing time was severely limited. That last one is the only real problem I had with Brown, his substitution pattern was highly questionable.
There is no way Bernie Bickerstaff is the permanent replacement and L.A. general manager Mitch Kupchak confirmed that at the press conference. So, let’s take a look at the options to replace Brown:
This is the one Lakers fans want to take place. NBA insiders are mixed on whether or not he would come back. The fact Howard is asking for Jackson to return has to be an ego booster for Phil, and he is reportedly in good physical health. Bringing back the Zen-master for a third time would be ideal because he is familiar with most of the players and Howard would give him one of the best big men he has ever had.
D’Antoni would bring a high-octane offense and has experience coaching Steve Nash in Phoenix and Kobe in the Olympics, but it just wouldn’t be that feasible to run older players like Kobe, Nash, and Pau Gasol ragged. They wouldn’t have much left in the tank for the postseason. However, he and Jackson have to be the favorites to be the Lakers’ next coach.
McMillan doesn’t have a flashy career coaching record. He has won just 51.4% of his 930 career games, but when you look a little closer it isn’t a big deal. Not when he coached in Seattle at the end of Gary Payton’s tenure there and they went into rebuild mode. And he was the architect of rebuilding the Trail Blazers, winning just 21 and 32 games the first two years, but they improved enough to win 54 games.
Byron Scott has only won 45.8% of his games, but very few people would say he can’t coach. Very few coaches that take over reclamation projects post gaudy win-loss records. The knock on him is his playoff record (just 14 wins and 20 losses), but he has never had the talent he would have in L.A.
Brian Shaw was the smart choice when Phil walked away, but it’s unlikely Shaw would return after the way things ended before. And I just don’t see Jerry Sloan coming to Los Angeles after the way his tenure ended in Utah with Deron Williams.
Despite my initial reaction when I heard Brown was fired, I think Jackson will see the moves the Lakers made in the offseason and ultimately decide to come back. Especially, if Jeanie Buss has anything to say about it. Women have their ways of getting what they want.
Darren Jacks is a regular contributor to OneManFastBreak.net. Send him an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org