Were there nothing more to coaching than giving good press conferences, Laker fans would be fully on board with Mike Brown at this point. This afternoon at the team's practice facility in El Segundo, he was officially introduced as the new Lakers' head coach and gave an impressive showing before the assembled media. Brown spoke for more than half an hour and did so with confidence, humor and an impressively articulate style. To anyone watching, he made it easier to understand how he earned top marks in the interviews that preceded his hiring.
Brown was introduced by Mitch Kupchak, who briefly discussed the Lakers' hiring process. Mitch said ownership interviewed three candidates: Brown, Brian Shaw and someone "they've not announced but I think you know who it is." (Read: Adelman.) Their decision to hire Brown was based partly on his interview, partly on his success in Cleveland, including his Coach of the Year award, and party on his pedigreed coaching background, specifically his experience having worked under guys like Rick Carlisle and Gregg Popovich.
When Brown took the mic, he touched all the obligatory bases, mentioning what a tremendous opportunity it is to coach the Lakers and paying homage to the organization's decorated history. He had kind words for Phil Jackson but made clear that he's his own dude. The Mike Brown Lakers will not run the Triangle offense but will incorporate bits and pieces of it. The defensive system, it seems, could be entirely or substantially new. Brown talked about how you can't just import an offensive scheme from one team to another, but that you can do so with a defensive system provided there's buy-in and effort from the players.
Three things he mentioned as "staples" of his offensive philosophy: (1) attacking the clock," or getting the ball into the frontcourt in the first three to four seconds of a possession, (2) ball reversal with paint touches, and (3) spacing. Perhaps to address the criticisms of his team's offensive performance in Cleveland, Brown had this to say:
My last two years in Cleveland, we were a top 10 and top five offensive team in the whole NBA. We averaged over 100 points a game both those years. That happened the last two years because I already laid the foundation defensively for a team that was not good at that end of the floor. And like I said, defense wins championships. So we didn't spend much time on the offensive end my first few years there. If you go back and look at the stats, you'll see that it started to resonate my last few years because we started giving both sides of the ball a little bit more equal time.
Other key excerpts from today's fireside chat:
- Brown has spoken to Derek Fisher, Pau Gasol, Ron Artest and Andrew Bynum's mom. (Drew wasn't home when he called.) No word on whether he's talked with your mom, but I'll be sure to ask her later tonight.
- He's spoken with Kobe Bryant "at length" and met with him in person. The Lakers will continue to be "Kobe's team."
- On the subject of assistants, he didn't name names but said he's in discussions with Mitch Kupchak about filling out his staff.
- On the subject of roster moves, he thinks "this core group of guys can go get it done."
- And my favorite line of the day: "I'm a big guy and I like to eat." I didn't catch the question he was answering, but that's fine. His declaration of size and hunger works just fine without context.
Front to back, it was a polished presentation. Brown didn't seem ill at ease in front of a big city press corps, but then again, they weren't throwing 98 mile-an-hour cheese this afternoon. Today was just batting practice. Facing the heat after his first three-game losing streak will be something else entirely, and he'd be well advised to delay that press conference as long as possible.
Follow Dex on Twitter @dexterfishmore.