LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Mike Brown, Phil Jackson, Chris Bosh, The Redeem Team, and the Handling of NBA Superstars
For those of you who might be interested in a “lively” discussion on multiple, inter-related NBA topics:
Courtesy of …
Instead of comparing how the Team USA coaching staff used Bosh in 2008 to the way they used the rest of their players, compare how Bosh [himself] played in 2008 vs how he played in 2006 and the impact he had in 2008 vs the impact he had in 2006, in comparison with the other Bigs on the roster [e.g. in terms of MP, St, Rebs, etc.].
Other key additions, included Kobe Bryant [a big factor, to be sure], Deron Williams, Jason Kidd, Tayshaun Prince, Michael Redd and Carlos Boozer … who each effected the way the 2008 team played, in their own unique way.
When I say that Mike Brown was/is a poor offensive coach, I am not repeating the claims of anyone else.
My perceptions about the game of basketball are not derived from media reports.
Mike Brown is not an elite level communicator.
Mike Brown is not an elite level X’s and O’s offensive guru.
Mike Brown is aware of his own deficiencies, at least in these two areas, as a head coach, and sought out the assistance of someone like Ettore Messina to “improve” his own understanding of the game, from an offensive perspective, and then delegated responsibility to one of his assistant coaches to run the Cavs’ offensive systems, both, in practices and in games.
Mike Brown does not have a “wholistic” Basketball Philosophy, which comes close to approximating a System Of Play, like the Triangle Offense.
Mike Brown’s offensive “system” lacks creativity, imagination, versatility and discipline.
Conversely, Mike Brown is a very good defensive coach.
Those who mistakenly thought/think that Bill Belichick was/is a poor offensive coach … are simply idiots.
I pay no attention to idiots.
Au contraire … there are all sorts of strategies and tactics which an authentically elite level coach can use to overcome the fact that his/her best player may have quit in the middle of a critical contest.
Mike Brown used none of these.
In fact, the chief reason LeBron James may have acted – and performed – the way he did, when he played poorly vs Boston this year, is BECAUSE of Mike Brown … and, specifically, what he and the rest of his teammates knew about the way they were being coached by Mike Brown, vs how the Celtics were being coached by Doc Rivers.
[e.g. the level of disrespect which the Cavs, as a group, showed towards Mike Brown was palpable, as the series developed ... and, IMO, an astute basketball observer could clearly see that the players on their team were exasperated with the way their team was being handled in that series, in comparison with the way the Celtics were being handled by Doc Rivers & Co. LeBron James did not quit in those games; the Cavaliers decided to say "F-U" to Mike Brown because they did not agree with what was going on [A] behind the scenes AND [B] on the floor.]
IMO, an authentic elite level coach would not have done what Mike Brown did in the Game 2 post-game press conference; nor, would s/he have done, in general, what Mike Brown did while coaching LeBron James for the last 7 years.
Superstar players – e.g. Bill Russell, Oscar Robertson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Julius Erving, Moses Malone, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwon, David Robinson, Tim Duncan, Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, etc. – like … and, in fact, crave the opportunity – to play for an authentic elite level coach.
In general, they do not despise being “coached” by this person and want to have him fired.
David Friedman is someone who has written about “the NBA game” extensively, in a variety of different forms, over a number of years.
Since David’s blog has a 4096 character limit, the decision was made to publish both:
a. His response to my comment; and,
b. My reply comment, in return;
in this location instead.
[a. David's response to my comment]
My Team USA report card (see link above) details the insignificant roles that Boozer, Prince and Redd had for the 2008 team. Williams and Kidd certainly made solid contributions.
Bryant was the biggest difference.
It should be considered a sign of strength and confidence when a coach seeks out the wisdom of other coaches to increase his understanding of the game. The greatest coaches regularly seek out other coaches to watch how they run their practices, etc.
The word you were looking for is “holistic.”
Brown’s coaching philosophy emphasizes the importance of defense and is based on what he learned while serving as a member of Popovich’s staff on the Spurs (including during their 2003 championship run). Brown publicly stated on several occasions that his first and top priority as Cavs’ coach was to transform the team into an elite defensive squad, which he did.
The “disrespect” shown toward Brown stemmed mainly, if not entirely from LeBron James–a shameful display of immaturity by the self-proclaimed “King.”
Brown’s postgame rant after game two, which was not at all typical of how he usually conducted himself (I was at that press conference and at many others conducted by Brown), was clearly an attempt to rouse the team out of the complacency that had taken hold as a result of LeBron’s indifference (i.e., quitting). Perhaps if the franchise had not coddled LeBron for so long things might have turned out differently.
I agree that great players crave the opportunity to be coached. Perhaps LeBron is not at the level of the esteemed players you listed–not in terms of his obvious, indisputable talent but rather in terms of the mentality it takes to be a champion–or perhaps he has had his ear bent for too long by his high school buddies.
Contrary to what you wrote, Cleveland players other than LeBron (including Ilgauskas and Mo Williams) publicly expressed disagreement with Brown’s firing, with Williams explicitly saying that unless the Cavs hired Phil Jackson this was a mistake.
[b. my reply comment]
re: Kobe was the biggest difference for Team USA. – DF
re: Bosh did play well for Team USA in the Olympics – DF [from an earlier comment]
re: but Team USA could have won without him. – DF [from an earlier comment]
I agree that “anything” could have happened, if any “one” of the different “parts” to The Redeem Team might have been changed, either, big or small. That’s how it goes in the game of basketball which is heavily dependent on an intangible like “team chemistry”.
re: Team USA would not have won the gold medal without Kobe Bryant. – DF [from an earlier comment]
I agree … but for the same reason the Team might not have won without the services of any of their other [i.e. lesser] players, as well.
re: Other key additions, included Kobe Bryant [a big factor, to be sure], DeRon Williams, Jason Kidd, Tayshaun, Michael Redd and Carlos Boozer … who each effected the way the 2008 team played, in their own unique way. – khandor
Do you agree with this observation of mine?
I wrote “wholistic” for a specific reason.
[NOTE: What I should have done though is put quotes around the word to indicate that the "error" was made with a specific purpose in mind, to illustrate a more subtle point.]
re: Mike Brown is not an elite level communicator. Mike Brown is not an elite level X’s and O’s offensive guru. – khandor
I said these two things about Mike Brown’s ability as a head coach.
re: It should be considered a sign of strength and confidence when a coach seeks out the wisdom of other coaches to increase his understanding of the game. The greatest coaches regularly seek out other coaches to watch how they run their practices, etc. - DF
I did not speak about a “lack of strength” or a “lack of confidence”, on the part of Mike Brown.
I agree with the notion that it’s important to seek out assistance from others when a known deficiency exists in one’s own portfolio of professionally required skills.
Just because Mike Brown happens to know what his “weaknesses” were/are, as a head coach, does not mean that those same areas are somehow also not to be considered as his specific deficiencies.
We agree about Mike Brown’s philosophy and ability, as a defensive coach.
re: The “disrespect” shown toward Brown stemmed mainly, if not entirely from LeBron James–a shameful display of immaturity by the self-proclaimed “King.” – DF
I agree with this observation.
In part, it was a sign of petulance by a head-strong young man … but, not dissimilar to when Kobe played an entire 4th quarter of a [playoff?] game and simply refused to shoot the ball, in order to “show” the ZenMaster tangible “evidence” of what exactly he thought of his dictates to both Black Mamba and the rest of his teammates at the time.
When a petulant player also goes for double-digit rebounds in that same game, however, it is not accurate to characterize his actions as “having simply quit”.
[NOTE: IMO, it would be more accurate to assert that this player did not like how the team was being asked to play on offense at that point in time and expressed his displeasure in a selfish manner. This is the sort of thing that happens all the time in basketball, at every level of the game ... but what was different here is THE WAY in which Mike Brown chose to handle it, i.e. which was basically to do nothing "subtle" about it, and instead, after-the-fact, to try to do the WRONG THING about it, i.e. rant and rave in public in an effort to "rouse" either his "star" player and/or his supporting cast.]
re: Brown’s postgame rant after game two, which was not at all typical of how he usually conducted himself – DF
It is not just how one conducts oneself “typically” which determines if one should be placed in an elite category … but, also, how one actually conducts oneself in an “atypical” moment.
IMO, Mike Brown made a coaching mistake.
IMO, LeBron James was crying out “to be coach” and, unfortunately, Mike Brown … as well as many others in his life … let him down [which is not to say that HE did not let them down, in return, because HE most certainly did].
Father-and-son breakdowns are, in general, a two-way street.
What Mo and Zydrunas said regarding Mike Brown’s dismissal and their loyal support of him does not stand in opposition to the observations which I made. They are merely corollaries.
What I said was speaking primarily to what I observed from the actions [and inter-actions] of LeBron James, Shaquille O’Neal, Anthony Parker, Antawn Jamison, Delonte West, Daniel Gibson, Jamario Moon, Jawad Williams and JJ Hickson.
As I’ve mentioned to you before …
You and I agree about many things associated with the game; however, it is some of the more subtle things which we sometimes approach from a distinctly different vantage point.
As the kids say, though:
“It’s all good.”