There is no question that LeBron James legendary status is on the line during these 2010 NBA Playoffs. With 2 MVPs, multiple Eastern Conference appearances, and no championship rings to show for it, LeBron James does not have any room for mistakes this postseason—elbow or not.
However, while King James’ throne may be on the line, he’s still going to be the most sought after free agent this summer, and he’s going to bank home a 6-year, max level contract that makes him an infinitely rich man.
Head coach Mike Brown, on the other hand, can only hope his current contract isn’t ripped to shreds this summer.
I have no idea how the Cleveland Cavaliers feel about Mike Brown internally, but if I had to guess, they probably like him a great deal. After all, how else do you explain the Cavs keeping Brown in his head coaching position with that God awful offense the Cavaliers run anytime the game is on the line in the 4th quarter? Don’t get me wrong; I’ll be the first one to make fun of Phil Jackson for having to do nothing more than draw up plays that simply read “Give the ball to Michael,” or “Give the ball to Shaq.” But admittedly so, the passes were always there for MJ, O’Neal and Kobe Bryant to make, if need be.
Those passes aren’t always there for LeBron James. Yes, James often leaves the arena with a slew of assists on his stat line, but 9 times out of 10, James’ assists are a creation of his own superhuman ability, and not that of a strategically-enhanced professional basketball offense.
Mike Brown deserves credit for a lot of things. He’s brought a defensive attitude to Cleveland, he’s cultivated the NBA’s best player, and he’s managed to be just charming enough to not scare NBA players from coming to Cleveland and playing for him. But Brown’s downfall will ultimately be at the hands of his uncreative, uninspiring, unsuccessful offensive system. In the fourth quarters of close games, LeBron is pretty much expected to bring the ball up court, dribble the air out of the ball and make one-on-one plays while the other players stand around and wait for him to score or create an opportunity for them to score.
If that’s what passes for an NBA offense, then I’m more than qualified to collect Mike Brown’s salary—and you and I both know that’s not the case.
This is why I fully expect Mike Brown to be fired if a lack of an offense is what ultimately leads to the Cavaliers 2010 NBA Postseason demise.
Why wouldn’t he be?
He has already had plenty of opportunities to re-tool this non-offensive system in the off-season. He has failed with every chance he has had. After the Cavaliers lost to the Spurs in 2007, it was clear the Cavaliers offense was not the focal point, as Brown emphasized defense to get his team to the NBA Finals. Okay, we can let that slide. They weren’t going to beat the San Antonio Spurs anyway.
However, instead of coming up with some kind of reliable, motion offense in the Summer of 2007, Brown still had the Cavs operating on the “Watch LeBron for 17 seconds or more” offense, and that offensive system failed yet again in 2008.
But we even excused that, because it was also clear that LeBron James needed more help. So the Cavaliers went out and got an all-star point guard in Mo Williams, and for a minute, we thought the offense was fixed. But in the 2009 Eastern Conference Finals, the Cavs reverted back to the “Pound the Rock” offense when the games were on the line, and the Cavs receded out of the playoffs, offensively challenged, yet again.
Now here we are 2010. The Cavaliers gave LeBron James and Mike Brown even more help. With the acquisitions of Anthony Parker, Shaquille O’Neal, and Antawn Jamison, the pieces are there, Mike Brown just has to put the puzzle together. If he doesn’t, someone in the front office of the Cavaliers needs to look past Brown’s good guy characteristics, and hire a coach that knows the basic fundamentals of an offense that involves more than just giving the ball to the team’s best basketball player and telling everyone else to get out of the way.
[[This piece originally appeared on thesportswatchers]]