Russ Isabella-US PRESSWIRE
The Los Angeles Lakers' decision to fire Mike Brown also means that their Princeton offense experiment is coming to an end, according to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski. The Lakers won't completely break away from it right away because it takes time to depart from what's been practiced every day, according to Wojnarowski, but it will no longer be a staple.
It remains to be seen whether this puts assistant coach Eddie Jordan's job in jeopardy. The former Washington Wizards and Philadelphia 76ers head coach was the man hired to teach the Princeton offense to this team. Given the plans to move away from that style, it seems hard to believe that he could remain on staff much longer. No decision on his future has been made, though.
The decision to move away from the offense is an acknowledgement that the system simply wasn't right for this type of talent. Kobe Bryant was a proponent of the system and continued to stress its positives, but it hasn't worked out quite as well for the rest of the roster.
The Lakers were scoring fairly proficiently – seventh in offensive efficiency through five games – but the residual effects of teaching the Princeton were too much to overcome. The offense is counter-intuitive, in that it relies on reading the defense's tendencies rather than dictating the defenses' coverage. That type of style can be tough for many players to learn because it forces them to recondition their style. The Lakers had just one player, Antawn Jamison, that had any experience running the Princeton offense in the NBA (Jamison was a key member of Jordan's Wizards teams). The rest of the players were used to far different types of styles.
While the offense itself was relatively proficient, it's reasonable to suggest that learning it caused slippage elsewhere. Jordan's Wizards teams were historically deficient on defense because he devoted so much practice time to the offense. The Lakers were 25th in defensive efficiency this season. The system was also not ideal for Steve Nash or Dwight Howard, and that affected their games when they played. The Princeton de-emphasizes traditional point-guard play; Nash is arguably the league's purest point guard. It was a poor fit for him. Howard managed to stay productive, but he was clearly uncomfortable playing out on the floor and did not play with the same defensive intensity, likely because he was thinking too much about how to fit in offensively.
It would be unfair to suggest that the Princeton offense failed, because it traditionally is a system that takes time to learn. However, it was also a poor decision to adopt it and expect stars like Bryant, Nash and Howard to pick it up in the amount of time necessary to turn the Lakers into the short-term juggernaut they were expected to be.
This story was originally published on SBNation.com.