Yesterday, Mike Brown was fired as the Los Angeles Lakers' head coach. The team was off to a 1-4 start (they won last night), and they did not look like they were on paced to correct the problems. But what were the problems? This is a team that has Dwight Howard coming off back surgery, Steve Nash with a fractured leg, Kobe Bryant playing on a bum foot, and Jordan Hill battling back issues of his own. It's hard to coach injuries, and as Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times says, the firing was a panic move by the Lakers.
Mike Brown is a good coach. He may not have been a fit in Los Angeles, which is fine, but why let him coach at all this season? Why let him start the year only to fire him five games into the season. It was a move so shocking that even interim head coach Bernie Bickerstaff was caught off guard.
"You're being kind with the word 'surprised,'" he said of Friday's events. "I was shocked."To fire a coach five games into the season is to stay we made a mistake, and we don't care how this affects the season, but we're going to correct that mistake. The only problem is, the decision was based on tainted information. Had Mike Brown been dealing with a healthy group of players - many of them new remember - a 1-4 start is simple unacceptable. They truly have a team of All-Stars in Los Angeles. However, the team is not healthy.
The man who was designated to run the offense, Steve Nash, has not been on the court. That means, Kobe Bryant has once again been left to his own devices, and those devices generally mean shooting as much as possible. That's not always bad. It's Kobe Bryant after all. The man can shoot. But if he is the only scoring option, the Lakers are in trouble. If he is the only scoring option, and he is injured, the Lakers are probably going to lose quite a few games. And they have.
Dwight Howard may not be injured, but his back surgery meant very little time to learn and practice a new offensive system. He is still learning Lakers' basketball and his teammates. His scoring is hovering around what it was last season, but he is not rebounding the ball enough. Once that changes, the Lakers will have more opportunities and may be able to pull themselves out of the hole.
In the first game since Mike Brown's firing, the Lakers won. That does not mean things will be right in the world of Lakers' basketball. They were playing the Golden State Warriors, a team they should beat even if Kobe Bryant is on the bench. Brown may not have been the right guy for Los Angeles, but to allow him to start this season, then fire him in the second week is a disservice to him and the team. Had Brown been fired after last season, he would have had ample opportunity to find work. Now, he may have to wait until next season.
All this because of an injury-plagued start that was probably correctable.