We will miss you Mike Brown. You may not have been an offensive guru, but you were a good coach.
He was always destined to be the scapegoat. If the Cavs won, it was because LeBron lifted them to that level. If they lost, Mike Brown’s offense or in-game tactics or motivational skills were questioned if not found to be deficient. He really couldn’t find any credit besides his coach-of-the-year honors in 2008-09.
He changed the mindset of Cleveland basketball in the LeBron era. For the first time since the King arrived in Cleveland, the Cavs actually played fairly consistent defense. And it worked, they got to the Finals in 2007 with just about as terrible of a team as you could construct (Gooden, Hughes, Pavlovic?). He even got LeBron to buy in, or at least LeBron was motivated into actually chasing down layups. There were still stretches were LeBron rested for offense, which is reasonable considering.
Still, he was a good coach. He was able to hide Mo Williams until this postseason. The upper management (Danny Ferry, maybe Gilbert) brought in pieces that didn’t play great defense, or good, or manageable. Antawn Jamison, Shaq, Mo, and probably others that I can’t recall, they don’t play a lot of defense in general, and when they do it’s not always great.
This move begs to be mentioned in LeBron’s future plans. The common notion that LeBron could not return to a stagnant situation where the game has changed but the players are the same. I don’t know about that. It looks more and more likely that Cleveland was simply outmatched against a Boston team that is playing at a level that they simply hadn’t had since December when they were believed to be the best team in the league.
I don’t see a likely better replacement for Brown that is available and would be willing to come to Cleveland, assuming Phil Jackson doesn’t want to leave LA. None of the other coaches have been further than Mike Brown has. I don’t even know the whole list of replacements but I can’t imagine a majority of the candidates are that much better than Brown was.
Anyway, I will miss you Mike Brown. Your occasional screaming matches with the refs to demonstrate your loyalty to your team. Your willingness to integrate your players’ ideas and thoughts into your strategy (something Phil Jackson gets applauded for). Your shifting of the basketball focus in Cleveland. Your stubbornness against a run-and-gun offense that could have really suited your personnel well. The fact that you would turn your offense into the LeBron show in the last minutes of the fourth quarter and hope LeBron can save the game, which isn’t unreasonable considering he has demonstrated that ability over the years.
Even with your flaws, some of them not as true as reported, I will miss you.