After weeks of searching for a replacement for legendary head coach Phil Jackson, the Lakers apparently have found their guy.
And it's none other than... Mike Brown?
The former Cleveland Cavaliers head coach is expected to be named the new head coach of the Lakers on Thursday, and it certainly seems that the Lakers could do better.
The best candidate may have been right under the Lakers' noses. Current assistant coach Brian Shaw was the favored pick of veteran Lakers Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher. Perhaps more importantly, Shaw understood Phil Jackson's system basically as well as anyone.
What the Lakers are saying by choosing Brown over Shaw is that the idiom, if it ain't broke, dont fix it doesn't apply. Apparently, the Lakers feel the coaching system under Jackson was broken, otherwise they would have chosen his highly regarded assistant.
Instead, the Lakers have chosen a defensive-minded coach in Brown. Defense is certainly important, and the Lakers marking in the series sweep to Dallas exposed their ability to contain players like Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Terry, J.J. Barea.
However, the Thunder are having just as much trouble with those two players in the Western Conference Finals. The Lakers have star defenders in Bryant, Ron Artest, and Andrew Bynum, but still couldn't contain the Mavericks' scoring attack.
Is Brown expected to make the Lakers defensively stronger with this same unit? That might be a stretch.
Offensively, the hiring of Brown likely means the scrapping of the Lakers' triangle offense, or whatever similar plays they've been using since mastermind Tex Winter basically faded off from the Lakers' coaching circle.
A whole new offense might be a disaster. The Lakers have veteran players who will be expected to learn an entirely different system, and one that will be a shift from the five championships they won with mainstays Bryant and Fisher.
The Brown hiring also has other things working against it. Brown neither has ties to the city of Los Angeles nor the Lakers, and he has never won a championship. Many consider those things to be vital to the Lakers' coaching criteria.
A big surprise in all of this is that Brown was not only picked over Shaw but perhaps over better qualified candidates. Mike Dunleavy, Byron Scott, Kurt Rambis, Larry Brown, and Mike Adelman all seemed like more logical choices.
Lastly, Brown isn't a fresh pick, on a team that appeared to be seeking a fresh start. When the Lakers hired Dunleavy to replace successful 80's head coach Pat Riley, many were left scratching their heads wondering who Dunleavy was, and why the Lakers would choose a young assistant from the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Lakers could have perhaps used that same logic this time around by hiring Quin Snyder, an assistant with the Philadelphia 76ers, or Mike Budenholzer, an assistant for the Spurs, to replicate the success they had in plucking Dunleavy out of coaching obscurity in 1990.
The hiring of Brown seems like a safety choice in that Brown is young, experienced, and defensive minded.
Most NBA teams have their ups and downs, and Brown should be aware that if the team struggles there is a good chance the finger pointing will be directed at him. That was the case when he was in Cleveland where he was fired despite being Coach of the Year the previous season.
Brown is a smart guy, and has a pleasant and upbeat personality. But the Lakers job requires much more than that.
It takes a great deal of resolve, dedication, and understanding of the Lakers' culture to handle the job. Rudy Tomjanovich left the team early for health reasons, but he serves as a cautionary tale for Brown: learn quick, and respect the culture of the Lakers, or you'll be on the hot seat.
Few experts are endorsing the hiring of Brown. He has big shoes to fill, and many are already doubting he can do it.
If people were scratching their heads back in 1990 when an iconic coach like Riley was replaced by Dunleavy, what can the reaction be in LakerLand with Brown replacing Jackson?