Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant was “surprised” to learn of Los Angeles’ decicion to hire Mike Brown as head coach, Sam Amick of Sports Illustrated reports. While the “surprised” portion of Amick’s story will draw plenty of attention, as will the fact that “[Bryant] was not a part of the decision-making process,” there is certainly more at play here.
For one, surprise is not the same as disappointment, and nowhere does Amick say Bryant did not like the hire, though he does say Bryant was “staunch” in his support for longtime assistant coach Brian Shaw, a former teammate of his, to get the job.
Further, Brown’s reputation as a defensive-minded coach jibes with what Bryant has publicly stated is important. Amick quotes Bryant from his final media availability session of the season:
“If you’re building a championship team, your DNA always has to start with the defensive end of the floor,” Bryant said on May 11. “Always. I’m a firm believer in that. I don’t believe in building a championship team on offense. It has to be built on defense and rebounding. Period.”
From a defensive standpoint, Brown will likely get the most he can out of the Lakers’ considerably talented roster. The real test will come at the offensive end, where Brown is far weaker. Late in his tenure with the Cleveland Cavaliers, he often ceded playcalling duties to assistant coaches John Kuester and Mike Malone, who served as “offensive coordinators” of sorts.