Mike Brown is the NBA's version of a defensive mastermind. He coached his way to an NBA Finals once by placing starters like Drew Gooden, Sasha Pavolic, Larry Hughes and Zydrunas Ilgauskas in spots on the floor where they could do nothing else but become adequate defenders.
On offense that year, he let LeBron James and company do whatever they wanted.
He does not have LeBron James anymore. Instead, he now rolls out a starting five that features Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol and Steve Nash. These guys all know how to play offense in the NBA.Steve Nash most certainly does.
If Mike Brown wants to go back to the NBA Finals, he needs to let Steve Nash coach his offense.
In an attempt to both inspire his team to execute the defensive strategy he hopes to implement, and improve his team's offensive production, it would behoove Brown to hand the offensive clip board over to Steve Nash.
I am not suggesting the Lakers go Bill Russell and give him keys to the whole operation, just make him the offensive coordinator — Kobe can be his lead assistant.
This just makes too much sense.
Kobe Bryant and company respect Steve Nash's understanding of how to play offense in the NBA more than they do Mike Brown's.
Steve Nash is going to have the ball in his hands while he is out on the floor anyway, and is already charged with the responsibility of getting others involved. How about you give him ownership of that responsibility?
As Phil mentioned this morning, the Lakers will ask Nash to be their new quarterback:
He will be the one getting the machinery that is Los Angeles' offense moving and creating easy shots for Howard, Bryant and Pau Gasol (as well as the rest of this cast of characters). The question is whether Mike Brown will give him the freedom to create and improvise or if Nash will feel confined to a box, trying to please the other stars on the team and manage egos and talent.
Brown should be willing to hand Nash the keys to create this offense. Nash is still that good. But whether this puzzle works will be determined by how well Nash fits everyone into this offense and manages the game. His career has shown that he should be adept at doing this.
The answer to this question is that Brown should go all the way. Let Nash own the offense. Let him create it, run it, and convince his teammates that this is the way to go. When he is not in, give him a marker and allow him the opportunity to draw up a play or two. Why not?
If anything, this will show Brown's willingness to believe in his players. In offering this structure, the only thing he will require in return is that they execute on the defensive end of the floor every single thing he asks. It is a give and take relationship in the NBA, and I believe Brown's players will reward him for this outside the box philosophy on the floor and in the locker room.
What could ultimately prove to be Brown's demise this season, if he does not, is that the players revolt or tune him out. They blame him for their offensive inefficiencies. In this situation, he eliminates that possibility from the equation. Besides, if they defend well enough, they will win anyway. Kobe Bryant does not need Brown's advice on how to score. He just needs Brown to get out of his way.
To be clear, I would not suggest Mike Brown do something like this if Ramon Sessions were still his point guard. Or even Derek Fisher.
But this is Steve "Freaking" Nash. MVP, Hall of Famer, and a guy who revolutionized the point guard position.
It is a simple move with huge upside, but takes a leader who is confident in his ability as a coach to make it. I think Brown would be more respected by NBA players in general if he made it.
I am not saying that Mike Brown is completely uninvolved in the offense either. He would appoint a lead assistant to work with Nash directly. They would meet on the offensive philosophy, and ultimately implement a design that Nash has heavily influenced. If they do, and it works, I think the Lakers could win the NBA Title.
If he does not, and they do not buy what Brown ends up selling offensively — on a team filled with this type of offensive weapons — Brown might not see the other side of the All-Star Break.
For an all-in situation like this one is for the Lakers and Mike Brown, it is a move he needs to make.
Promote Steve Nash to player/coach, Mike Brown. Thank me later.
Should Steve Nash be the de facto offensive coordinator? Let us know by commenting below or joining the discussion by hashtagging #LakersDay. Tomorrow we turn our attention to the Golden State Warriors.