With the tradition of winning and being perennial NBA title contenders in the Kobe Bryant era, the Lakers were expected to bounce back from the ugly loss to the eventual NBA champion Dallas Mavericks in the NBA playoffs and become a force to be reckoned with in the Western Conference once again; despite the retirement of the Zen Master.
That being said, no one in the Lakers organization had more pressure to succeed during the 2011-12 NBA season than Brown. As if taking over for an 11-time NBA champion wasn’t enough pressure to deal with, Brown also had to deal with critical Lakers fans and the distinction as being the wrong choice for the storied franchise’s leader on the sidelines in the post-Jackson era.
Despite the tremendous pressure to produce results in his first season in L.A., Brown exceeded expectations leading the Lakers to a 41-25 record and clinching the third seed in the West.
Regardless of an impressive first season, there has been talk of Brown potentially being on the hot seat in Los Angeles. It seems that nothing short of an appearance in the NBA Finals would’ve been sufficient enough to clear Brown of any blame for the Lakers failing to win an NBA title this year.
Brown talked about his first season in Los Angeles.
“I feel like I could’ve done a lot better,” he said during his final press conference.
Even though Brown says that he isn’t satisfied with the results of his debut with the Lakers, the head coaching position in L.A. seems to be of little concern to Lakers’ front office with the GM Mitch Kupchak and company impressed with Brown’s performance considering situation.
With that being said, Brown is safe for the time being as the Lakers have no intention of making a change at head coach. The same may not be said after next year if the Lakers don’t improve in the regular season and most importantly during the NBA playoffs.
If the Lakers’ front office is able to make the right moves through free agency and or via trade to upgrade the roster in the off-season, Brown will have even more pressure to succeed next season. The challenge of filling the Zen Master’s shoes in Los Angeles will only get tougher from here on out for Brown as that seat on the sidelines in the Staples Center may get hotter and hotter without results.