Mike Brown didn’t arrive in L.A. with the reputation of being an offensive mastermind and he didn’t fail to live up to that legend. Early on in the season it was nothing short of a minor miracle for the Brown-led Lake Show to crack the 100-point barrier.
To be fair Brown wasn’t dealt a great hand to being with. Losing 15 points a game off your bench once Lamar Odom was traded guaranteed the Lakers were going to be struggling to score. Never forget LO was also instrumental in running the offense so the Lakers lost much more than just scoring with that infamous deal.
But putting all of the loss in offensive output on the Odom deal is letting Brown off the hook. His offensive philosophy just didn’t ever take shape and it routinely put players in a bad position.
Nobody suffered more in Brown’s Bynum-based offense than Pau Gasol.
For whatever reason Brown got it in his head that the Spaniard was a jump shooter. Perhaps preying on those stereotypes of European big men, Brown kept pushing Pau further and further from the hoop. In the end a man that was once one of the most efficient point producers in the game became an absolute afterthought.
When Gasol did “get his ass in the paint” you saw performances like his dazzling Game 7 display against Denver. More often than not it was a sub 50% shooting night with minimal presence on the glass.
There’s no telling what the Lakers roster will look like next season but no matter what Brown needs to get another offensive mind on his staff.
Relying on Kobe Bryant to carry the load on offense while banking on smothering team defense to will the Lakers to victory proved too fine a margin for error this past season. L.A. was able to slow OKC after their Game 1 embarrassment but the Lakers’ offensive shortcomings were only magnified in every game following the series opener.
In late game situations this team is still far too reliant on Kobe. They routinely ignored their interior advantage and made no adjustments whenever Bynum was fronted in the post. These are the types of issues an experienced and knowledgeable offensive mind can handle in an instant.
Brown proved he can create a winning defensive game plan. Now all that remains is to do the same with the offense. In this NBA defense still wins championships but you’ve got to be able to play with varying offensive philosophies. Brown need only look to his mentor Gregg Popovich to learn that.
Some might argue that Brown needs better personnel in order get more points on the board. I’d argue that between Kobe, Drew and Pau all you’d need is another 40 points a night from the rest of your team. No matter the players it will always be on the coaches to get the most of their talent. Brown failed to do that with his offensive scheme in his first season. He’s got to make this a priority heading into the next year otherwise it could honestly be his last in Los Angeles.