Having hired Mike Brown as an assistant coach in 2000, even giving the reigns to the summer league team like he did with Jacque Vaughn this summer, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is among those that disagree with the Lakers’ decision to fire the seven-year head coach.
Popovich noted that each organization has their motives for each decision, some differing from public opinion, but he didn’t feel Brown had “a chance to put the team together.”
In his words, the firing was premature.
“Mike’s not just a good friend but he’s a hell of a coach and it certainly is sad when there really wasn’t a chance to put it together there,” Popovich said. “It’s quite premature, it would seem, to any logical and objective observer.”
Popovich, too, was on the hot seat in 1999 prior to the Spurs’ first championship. Had the Spurs fired Popovich then, rather than allow him to build a team, who knows how their future would have played out.
The only difference: Brown was situated in Los Angeles, where the media can be too overbearing to ignore. Along with the acquisitions of Steve Nash and three-time Defensive Player of the Year Dwight Howard and the disastrous 1-4 start, the Lakers may have felt pressed to make a decision. The relative anonymity of San Antonio, meanwhile, gave the organization more freedom to make decisions without worrying about the potential media fallout.
If the next head coach wants to keep his job long-term, he will need to work on the Lakers’ 25th-ranked defense that has allowed 107.6 points per 100 possessions this season.