Lakers' coaching gig a tough one

Despite a roster of star players, Mike Brown is in an unenviable position

Originally Published: July 15, 2011
By Chris Palmer | ESPN The Magazine
Mike BrownKirby Lee/Image of Sport/US PresswireMike Brown will need to win quickly to gain the trust of his team.

Thirteen years ago, the NBA's last lockout turned the league on its ear and caused so much damage that it took years to fully recover. That year, six new coaches walked into the unknown, taking jobs in a season that was shortened to 50 games. None faced tougher odds than first-year coach Tim Floyd, who took over after the Chicago Bulls had won their sixth championship and Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman and Phil Jackson had all moved on.

It remains to be seen whether this year's lockout will wipe out any games. But like last time, six new coaches (two still to be named) will step into tough positions. None of them will have to face the impossibility Floyd did, but history shows that with shortened prep time and ever-rising expectations, lockouts can be cruel to new coaches. Throw in that rosters are far from set and these coaches will face almost insurmountable challenges. So are they up for the task or being set up for failure?

Mike Brown, Los Angeles Lakers

Greatest challenge: Motivating an aging team with a championship pedigree in a now-or-never season. The Lakers' championship window isn't exactly closed, but it's being propped open by a 2x4 that's bowing badly. The team has to buy what Brown is selling right away. More than any other team with a new coach, it's imperative that the Lakers get off to a good start.

Chris Palmer

ESPN the Magazine