Brown's hands full with Lakers

os Angeles Lakersí Pau Gasol, Shannon Brown, Kobe Bryant, Jordan Farmar and Andrew Bynum. (REUTERS...

os Angeles Lakersí Pau Gasol, Shannon Brown, Kobe Bryant, Jordan Farmar and Andrew Bynum. (REUTERS /Adrien Veczan)

FRANK ZICARELLI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:18 PM ET

Whether it was Hubie Brown, Dee Brown, Kwame Brown or the chosen one in Mike Brown, the Lakers aren't going to regain the swagger that made them champions until a full cleansing is completed.

When they meekly exited from the post-season, the Lakers looked old, disinterested, disjointed, becoming completely unhinged when the Dallas Mavericks were laying a beat-down of epic proportions.

Not only did L.A. lose in a sweep, but it lost its way, the first sign provided by Lamar Odom, the climax arriving when Andrew Bynum floored J.J. Barea in an act of cowardice that spoke to the mounting frustration and in-fighting within the Lakers' ranks

Mike Brown will not help transform the Lakers, his presence behind the bench will not provide any athletic layer so desperately needed by the NBA's marquee franchise.

Brown's arrival in Hollywood signals a new beginning as the Lakers move past the Phil Jackson era, but it doesn't do anything to address the many issues that plague the team.

There are those in basketball who believe Brown's emergence as Lakers head coach will usher in wholesale change, both in philosophy and personnel.

Defence is Brown's calling card, a trait he acquired while serving under Gregg Popovich in San Antonio.

The Lakers couldn't defend the three-point line against Dallas, failed to rotate when double teams were used, but a lot of L.A.'s deficiencies were based on a lack of athleticism.

Ron Artest aged in front of everyone's eyes and it's hard to see any team wanting to take yet another chance on this veteran swingman.

Odom got so caught up in his Hollywood enterprises that it became a distraction.

Pau Gasol's personal life became the stuff of headlines in the immediate aftermath of L.A.'s elimination, a sordid story that allegedly pitted Bryant's wife and the Spaniard's girlfriend.

Derek Fisher's best days are behind, there's no bench to speak of and very few options, at least on the surface.

And into this cauldron ventures Brown.

With so much talk that the Lakers will take a run at Dwight Howard, it makes sense that L.A. would turn to a guy such as Brown who loves defence.

What doesn't make sense is the assets L.A. has to acquire Howard from Orlando as the Magic begin the countdown to Superman's free agency, a time that will officially kick in next summer.

Assuming the Lakers will abandon their triangle offence, a staple of Jackson's teams both in Chicago and in L.A., it's safe to surmise that Gasol will be offered in trade talks.

Moving Odom must be explored.

The untouchables become Bynum and Bryant, the much-needed inside/outside foundation Brown learned to appreciate watching the likes of Tim Duncan and the Tony Parker/Manu Ginobili tandem win titles with the Spurs.

In Cleveland, the Cavs could not find that elusive big to complement LeBron James, forced to turn to the eroding Shaquille O'Neal in a desperate bid to win a title and in turn keep James from fleeing Ohio.

Unwittingly, Mike Brown has stolen the post-season thunder.

For now, talk isn't about Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavs' playoff run.

It's on Mike Brown and what his arrival means to the Lakers.

"Mike Brown is a great coach," James told reporters as his Miami Heat prepared for Thursday night's Game 5 in Chicago.

"He brought us (Cavs) success that we hadn't had before in that city and it started with his defensive concepts. He brought in a defensive mind-set that we didn't have. Fifty-plus wins, he was coach of the year, he got us to the finals, won us the Eastern Conference finals."

It's all true and it's all good, but in L.A. and with the Lakers nothing matters except championships.

Brown will soon feel what Erik Spoelstra felt when Pat Riley brought together the Big Three in South Florida, where success is measured in winning a title and nothing else.

Brown will have his hands full as the Lakers begin to reinvent themselves.

A change behind the bench was expected, but the most meaningful change awaits as the Lakers' attempt to get more athletic on the perimeter and more explosive off the bench.

Those are areas Mike Brown cannot address.

frank.zicarelli@sunmedia.ca


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