From LeBron to Kobe. From East to West. From Finals loser to Finals winner?
Not so fast.
The Lakers agreed to a four-year, $18 million deal with former Cleveland Cavaliers coach Mike Brown yesterday to replace Phil Jackson, who won five rings in two stints with Los Angeles. Brown led LeBron James to the 2007 NBA Finals and posted a 272-138 record from 2005-2010.
A Gregg Popovich disciple, Brown’s aggressive defense favors the tall and aging veterans in the Lakers’ lineup, but the 41-year-old simply cannot implement the same offensive strategy he had in Cleveland, aka give the ball to LeBron and clear out.
It won’t work with Kobe.
After 15 years of wear on the tires, Bryant has transformed into more of a jump shooter than a pure penetrator that dominates games with the ball in his hands.
Still, that won’t be Brown’s biggest problem. He will have to convince Kobe, who surely feels disrespected after backing Brian Shaw, that he’s the right man for the job.