It’s the job of any NBA head coach to speak with the media before and after every game, and following every practice throughout the season; the last time Mike Brown sat down in front of the horde comes on exit interview day.
Below is a summary of Brown’s last interview of the 2011-12 campaign, going over his first season as the coach of the Lakers:
- To open: “Sitting here at this point in the year is definitely not satisfying. Under the circumstances, I feel like we got a lot accomplished and feel we learned a lot … but we can be better.”
- Brown acknowledged the difficulty of fighting uphill, trying to get a system installed and the players incorporated into it, with the limited training camp and practices, but didn’t want to use it as an excuse.
- On Pau Gasol trying to adjust to a new role: “With Andrew (Bynum) having a bigger role within what we do especially offensively, it made it a little tougher for Pau. With Andrew on one block and Kobe (Bryant) on the other, and Metta (World Peace), it was (tough to get opportunities at times). But i thought he adjusted really well.” Brown discussed Gasol’s ability to shoot the mid range shot, and pass from that position, which many 7-footers simply couldn’t do.
- Brown on Bynum: “I think he can be a cornerstone to an organization. But you have to remember that Andrew is still learning what he’s (eventually) going to be. He didn’t play near the minutes (as he did in 2011-12). He needs time and the commitment to want to get better every time he steps onto the floor … the sky is the limit on how good he wants to be.” Brown said that Bynum fluctuated on how he handled his much-increased role: “At times he handled it really well, at times he could have handled it better.”
- On the current roster: “I like the core of this team … we have some good guys on this team that can help us win.” He implied that with a full training camp and practices in a regular season, maybe things would be different, citing how San Antonio and Oklahoma City have the type of continuity that “makes a world of difference” with talent and a good staff. Brown’s basic point is that L.A. may already have enough to win the whole thing, but the compressed season did make that more difficult. The margin for error obviously wasn’t too big, with L.A. beating OKC once and holding a 7-point lead with two minutes to play in one road game and a 9-point lead with six minutes to left in the Game 4 home contest.
- On if players watch Kobe too much: “That’s something at times over the year we addressed. We play with a lot of motion on offense with reads, but (many guys) would get locked in on Kobe” and not see guys open on the weak side of the floor.” It’s a bit of a chicken/egg argument, but may always been an issue with someone who plays as aggressively as Bryant.
- On his own coaching performance: “I feel like I could have done a lot better. I’m not using it as an excuse, but I tell you, it was tough that you didn’t get to practice the way that you (wanted to). I know there were a lot of things I felt rushed on that I did on the fly based on the lack of time. So to really give myself a true evaluation would be hard. I thought based on the circumstances, with a staff, we did fairly well, but we could have done a lot better.”