Lakers legend Magic Johnson has an opinion on the team's decision to hire Mike Brown as their new head coach. Via Twitter, Johnson outlines three reasons why Brown is Los Angeles' choice:
If Mike Brown is the @Lakers coach, there's a few reasons: hes a defensive coach, familiar w/the west, & has experience coaching a superstar
Let's look closer at his points.
Indeed, Brown has a reputation as a defensive mastermind, though some folks contest his effectiveness on that end. His Cleveland Cavaliers squads were more athletic, and had better individual defenders, than the current Lakers group has. He also benefitted from having, in pre-fossilization Ben Wallace and Anderson Varejao, two big men who could expertly cover the pick-and-roll. And, of course, LeBron James.
Though Brown's only head-coaching experience came with the East's Cavaliers, he is familiar with the West, as he served as an assistant coach to Gregg Popovich with the San Antonio Spurs from 2000 to 2003. That stint included a championship. He then went back East as an assistant on Rick Carlisle's Indiana Pacers staff for two seasons before taking the Cavs job. Three seasons as an assistant in the West nearly a decade ago doesn't seem like much, but to Magic, it qualifies as familiarity.
The final point is obvious: he coached LeBron--who won two MVP awards with Brown as his head coach--in Cleveland and will have Kobe Bryant in L.A. Clearly, the two players and situations are different, as he inherited James at the beginning of his career and will get Kobe near the end of his. And some observers seemed to question whether Brown ever commanded James' respect. If Kobe doesn't commit fully to Brown, his experience coaching a superstar may not mean much.