Is Mike Brown's Success Diluting Luke Walton's?

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SPQR
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In the long expanse of time, things can change, events or accomplishments that look stunningly bright and successful can dim over time as circumstances change and more data is accumulated.

Such a case can be made about current Lakers head coach Luke Walton.

For years we suffered through a panoply of what seemed abysmal, desultory coaches who didn't seem either to be able to relate to the players, create a system that matched their talents or just seemed downright bad.

You know the names: Scott, D'Antoni, Brown.

A little over a year ago Luke Walton was an assistant coach with the Golden State Warriors. He was just another of dozens of nameless, faceless assistants plying their trade, hoping somehow to build a reputation and get noticed. The only thing that set him apart from the pack was his father was all time NBA great Bill Walton.

Then the best thing that ever happened to him occurred, head coach Steve Kerr suffered health problems that precipitated him missing a huge chunk of the season and elevated Walton to interim head coach.

You all know what happened next, Walton's Warriors went on such a great run that Luke did separate himself from the faceless, nameless pack and became the hot head coaching prospect in the league. Or at least right with a small handful of choice.

This was the fulcrum that elevated him into the big chair with the Lakers shortly thereafter.

And at the time, it seemed like what he did with the Warriors was a very good indicator indeed, right? I mean how many games in row did he win? It was like Kerr never left the bench.

But as I said at the start, time has a way of shifting events and changing perspectives.

This year, in the playoffs, Steve Kerr again has suffered health problems. But unlike last year, it's not Luke Walton taking the big chair there, but our old friend, Mike Brown, a coach we wanted run out of town and who has been fired more than once.

And what happened? The exact same results that Luke got last year. The Warriors are undefeated under Brown and look like the exact same team they were under Kerr.......and Walton.

So did Mike Brown suddenly become a good or great coach? Or is it more likely that Golden State is just so good, so talented, with such great players and an ingrained system that any coach with at least a rudimentary understanding of the NBA can take the helm and win, win, win?

When you look at it, Kerr looks like Brown, who looks like Walton, who looks like Kerr, as long as they have that marvelous machine under their hand.

Luke Walton proved nothing until he coached the Warriors. He had no resume like say Brad Stevens, who took a nothing college and through his recruiting ability and tactical and strategic acumen and superb knowledge of the game made Butler a powerhouse and NCAA finalist. And who followed that up by getting a pretty average Celtics team to the playoffs in his second year. Steven's has established and proven his reputation over and over, again this year by having the best record in the east.

When compared to that, Walton's resume is bare, empty, has nothing.....except doing what Kerr and Brown have done, coaching the best team in the league to wins. If it wasn't for that lucky chance, Walton would still be just another guy hoping for a chance with nothing to say he could succeed if he got it.

And since Mike Brown is just kicking teams around with the Warriors, would we want him back here as Lakers coach if say Luke Walton resigned for some reason tomorrow?

Of course we wouldn't. And there lies the point and the new reality of Walton's "success" with the Warriors. Because three coaches, Kerr, Walton and the oft failed Brown, seemed to get the same results with that tremendous team, how can one trust that Luke's big accomplishment was really anything at all?

This is not to say Walton is not a good coach or that he will be a bad one, what he is will be born out in the next expanse of time. But time and events have cast a reasonable shadow over the major selling point that has taken him to where he is now.


kkennon1
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Nba is a star driven league, coaches are as good as players they have. Don't think Phil or Pop would be doing any better with this current Lakers team , would Lue be a great coach without LBJ being in Cleveland ? Hell would Phil have been great without MJ,Shaq and Kobe? But agree only thing Luke has proven is he can coach a great team. Guess will find out how good a coach he'll be in time and what moves FO makes, plus player development.


Tempy
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kkennon1 wrote:
Nba is a star driven league, coaches are as good as players they have. Don't think Phil or Pop would be doing any better with this current Lakers team , would Lue be a great coach without LBJ being in Cleveland? Hell would Phil have been great without MJ,Shaq and Kobe? But agree only thing Luke has proven is he can coach a great team. Guess will find out how good a coach he'll be in time and what moves FO makes, plus player development.

Yes but you can bet your bottom dollar they would be implementing a system and culture. The Lakers were terrible on both sides of the ball last season, especially defense.


IhatetheCeltics
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Tempy wrote:
Yes but you can bet your bottom dollar they would be implementing a system and culture. The Lakers were terrible on both sides of the ball last season, especially defense.

Maybe, but who knows how successful they would have been in implementing their system and culture. Pop and Phil are two coaches who have only coached veteran teams, they've never had to deal with a core group of young players. Would they have gotten through, or better yet, would they have had the patience to keep working at the job? Something about Popovich tells me he would have quit several months into the job. Thibodeau's hallmark is defense, and Minnesota wasn't good on that end either. It's a youth thing.


kkennon1
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Tempy wrote:
Yes but you can bet your bottom dollar they would be implementing a system and culture. The Lakers were terrible on both sides of the ball last season, especially defense.

Think Luke is trying to implement a system, they weren't that bad on offense, defense is more about effort..imo

Think more and more of these players coming into league each year, don't know anything about how to play real game basketball, especially the one and done.


SPQR
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IhatetheCeltics wrote:
Maybe, but who knows how successful they would have been in implementing their system and culture. Pop and Phil are two coaches who have only coached veteran teams, they've never had to deal with a core group of young players. Would they have gotten through, or better yet, would they have had the patience to keep working at the job? Something about Popovich tells me he would have quit several months into the job. Thibodeau's hallmark is defense, and Minnesota wasn't good on that end either. It's a youth thing.

Celtics,

I have to disagree on that one. Pops doesn't strike me as someone who would quit on a team he is coaching at all. He would either whip them into his vision for the team or over time get rid of and replace them with players who would carry out his system.

I do believe he would never have stayed with the lakers under Jim and Mitch, but that's not a team issue but the only thing I think Pop's would not tolerate, working with and under incompetent clowns.


Tempy
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kkennon1 wrote:
Think Luke is trying to implement a system, they weren't that bad on offense, defense is more about effort..imo

Think more and more of these players coming into league each year, don't know anything about how to play real game basketball, especially the one and done.

Almost 50% of the Lakers field goals went unassisted. It was barely an increase over Byron Scott's great offensive schemes.....and Byron had Kobe taking a lot of shots. Sure it's going to take time but I expected more. There were many games last season where you wondered if Byron was still the coach because the offense stunk.

I disagree about defense being about effort. It's a skill that most of the roster just doesn't possess.


gemfow
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Why would Mike Brown's success dilute Walton's success? The problem is LA's fans and them blaming the coach when Kobe was here wanting to run a system that had him in the post primarily. Excuse me, blame the coach as long as it wasn't Phil Jackson. Mike Brown may have his weaknesses like many coaches but he's had his success, people need to stop acting as if him and Dantoni were Randy Pfund.

Mike Brown's record

50-32

50-32

45-37

66-16

61-21

41-25

1-4 then was fired by LA

33-49 - then fired by Cleveland

Mike Dantoni's record

21-40

62-20

54-28

61-21

55-27

32-50

29-53

42-40

18-24 before he quit

40-32

27-55

55-27

Like I said, Brown may not have been perfect and neither is Dantoni but people don't seem to take into account that they were successful before arriving to the mess in LA. So, no Brown's success shouldn't dilute what Walton did, Brown has shown that he's a pretty good coach prior to going to GS. If he wasn't capable they'd have another assistant coach do the job.

Dantoni is able to run his speedball system when Melo and Kobe aren't holding the ball and he has success like he usually has.


kkennon1
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Tempy wrote:
Almost 50% of the Lakers field goals went unassisted. It was barely an increase over Byron Scott's great offensive schemes.....and Byron had Kobe taking a lot of shots. Sure it's going to take time but I expected more. There were many games last season where you wondered if Byron was still the coach because the offense stunk.

I disagree about defense being about effort. It's a skill that most of the roster just doesn't possess.

I'll agree they don't or have caught on to playing team defense, GS plays great team defense ,they know when and where to switch and help, something lakers young players haven't learned yet.


gemfow
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Tempy wrote:
Almost 50% of the Lakers field goals went unassisted. It was barely an increase over Byron Scott's great offensive schemes.....and Byron had Kobe taking a lot of shots. Sure it's going to take time but I expected more. There were many games last season where you wondered if Byron was still the coach because the offense stunk.

I disagree about defense being about effort. It's a skill that most of the roster just doesn't possess.

Thee is an issue in LA and it's a bad mix of players. You can't get assists in LA. Why? What player can move without the ball and just finish? Randle will come and handoff the ball, set a screen and just stand there without even rolling to the rim. Randle doesn't seem to know how to read a play and then cut. I saw Towns make himself available easily by just cutting at the right time. This is an issue with the perimeter guys as well,


userpete1037
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All I know is Mike Brown almost screwed that game up with those lineups. It took a hobbled Steve Kerr at halftime to rally the troops. Oh and it did help that Kawhi went down...lol.


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