While a number of the players in Los Angeles will remain the same this season after the Lakers deal for Chris Paul was vetoed, LA has made one big change. It’s their head coach. Unfortunately this is not the year that NBA teams want to be changing systems, personnel, philosophies, or head coaches. The Lakers are changing three of the four elements with the addition of Mike Brown. In a shortened offseason and a condensed regular season, that’s going to have an impact on the Lakers. The only question is how much of an impact. There are a lot of reasons to think the Lakers could struggle in the regular season this year, but they are still one of the most talented teams in the NBA and will be incredibly motivated after their embarrassing exit in the playoffs a year ago.
Mike Brown joined ESPN 710 in Los Angeles with Mason and Ireland to talk about his decision to bring Metta World Peace off the bench this season, how many guys he is planning on using in his rotation, whether or not he thinks the Lakers are at a disadvantage this season because of the shortened offseason and condensed regular season, how he feels being the Lakers head coach, and what he is trying to accomplish in the preseason.
On his decision to bring Metta World Peace off the bench this season:
“You know I coached Ron in Indiana and he did a lot of stuff for us back then. He was obviously a great defensive player but offensively he was able to shoot the ball and play a little pick and roll but what we did most with him was post him up. We felt once we took Jermaine O’Neal off the floor we had some room down on the low block to be able to put him down there a little more and play through him. At his size, when you bring him back with the second unit, there aren’t many small forwards that can guard him on the low block. That’s something that we look forward to doing with him this year is bring him off the bench and said ‘okay who are you guys gonna match up Metta with on the low post?’ We’re excited about that because we feel like he will be one of a couple of options that we can play through if we need to.”
How many players he plans to put in his rotation:
“In a perfect world, right around nine guys. If I can go nine guys or sometimes nine and a half, especially early in the season I’m doing my job. If you can get to ten then great but I don’t think I’m gonna get to ten with the condensed season because we have to get in some sort of rhythm because next thing you know here come the playoffs and we have to be at a peak level. Nine or nine and a half guys would probably be ideal.”
Whether or not he feels the Lakers are at a disadvantage:
“It is a disadvantage from the standpoint that most teams that had the same coach and same system can kinda pick up where they left off last year knowing that they only had a few changes in terms of new guys coming in. The veterans or guys that have been there can help the new guys so the transition of getting to that peak level is a little bit quicker. We have more than enough time to get to where we need to. I’m a guy who is very patient and I don’t think we have to be at our highest point or best level of play yesterday. I’m one day, one game, one practice, one shoot around, and one play at a time type of guy so as long as I keep seeing progress, which I’ve seen on a daily basis, the guys have gotten better, they’ve given the effort, and paid attention to every word we’ve told them, so as long as that progress continues to be there then I’m satisfied.”
What it feels like to be the coach of the Lakers:
“I will tell you what? It’s like Christmas for me every day. I just have a renewed spirit of excitement that I can’t shake. When we had the work stoppage it was tough because I was on cloud nine and had to work very hard from thinking about the job because I was anxious and chomping at the bits. So to be here on a daily basis I feel like I’m the luckiest and most blessed guy in the world.”
What he wants to see in the remaining preseason games:
“I’m right now going into those games seeing if I can solidify my rotation and improve. If we get the win while we are there then so be it. If we don’t then we will live another day.”
Listen to Mike Brown on ESPN Radio Los Angeles here (Audio begins 24:20 into the podcast)