The Los Angeles Lakers' highly-anticipated season opener did not go according to plan. In front of an excited home crowd and boasting a starting five that could double for the Western Conference All-Star Game’s starting lineup, the Lakers racked up their ninth loss of the year (they went 0-8 in the preseason) and reignited all of the lingering doubts regarding whether or not Mike Brown was the right man to coach this team.
Steve Nash was misused. The defense looked off. Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant seemed like the only guys who truly understood the offense. The bench, for the most part, ran around like a bunch of chickens with their heads cut off. Any which way you want to look at it – Tuesday night won't go down as one of the better evenings Mike Brown has experienced in his seven or so years as a head coach.
So, is he feeling the pressure yet? No.
"I think (former baseball manager) Tony LaRussa said it best one time," Brown told USA TODAY Sports on Tuesday. "He said 'Pressure is lack of preparation.' So I feel like I'm prepared. I feel like we're prepared, so maybe that helps out.
"To me, I felt more pressure going into the season last year. It wasn't from the standpoint from the team or anything like that, but because of the (lockout) shortened season. I really didn't know these guys. I didn't know the media, or anybody in town, so there were a lot of things that I had to get used to while coaching the team for the first year. But I wanted that (Lakers pressure). I wanted that. I had other opportunities to go other places, but I wanted that."
Whether Brown feels it or not doesn’t change the fact that the pressure is in fact there. With four future Hall of Famers in the starting lineup comes a certain amount of responsibility. Lakers fans expect championships; this team has racked up one win since the start of last year’s West Conference semis. That math doesn’t jive.
Saying that Brown is on the hot seat after one game may sound crazy – but these aren’t normal circumstances. Adding Nash and Dwight Howard to a roster already featuring Bryant and Gasol is not normal. Rightfully, the Lakers’ head coach will be held to a different standard.
And if he can’t live up to that standard, the Lakers will replace him with someone who can.
(Kudos USA Today)