Nobody likes change. And a franchise like the Los Angeles Lakers -- which has had three NBA Finals appearances in the past four years and two world championships -- likes it even less.
Head coach Mike Brown is not similar to Phil Jackson in résumé, style or demeanor. It's easy to blame him for the Lakers' recent swoon. Pau Gasol more or less did so yesterday when he complained about how he is used in their offense. In a nutshell, Gasol is unhappy with his touches coming too far out on the floor, and not receiving many post-up opportunities.
For sure, blaming the new guy is the common thing to do when greatness falters, which is why it's so difficult to follow a legend. And Jackson is certainly one of the biggest legends in American sports because he is the most successful coach in NBA history. So Brown had to know coming into the job that, short of absolute dominance, criticism was coming.
Is Gasol's criticism warranted? Or is he the problem? With the help of high-level metrics and game footage, we can quickly ferret out the truth.
Gasol is wrong
Breaking down Sunday's 98-96 loss to the Indiana Pacers, it was clear that Gasol's complaint is largely off-target. It is true that Gasol can be effective on the block or in the paint where he can go to work against almost any defender not named Kendrick Perkins with his dizzying array of post moves and deft footwork.