Due to the NBA lockout each team has had to adjust to the condensed schedule this season. This has meant more games in a shorter amount of time, which can be straining on many aspects of the team. While the obvious physical strain is a huge issue, for new coaches like Mike Brown there are other problems.
Brown has been unable to run a consistent practice schedule with his team because of the lack of off-days this season. And, when the team does have an off-day, Brown has often chosen to give his players the day off entirely rather than run them down further with an intense practice.
Because of this, Brown has said he’s not as concerned with the standings as much as he is team development. According to Mark Medina of the L.A. Times, Brown has been ignoring the Western Conference standings so far, instead choosing to focus on improving the team on the court.
“I’ve never put any goals like that on our team in terms of how many games we need to win or where we need to finish,” Brown said. “Obviously, it would be great to finish first if it happens. I don’t think that’s of the utmost importance because I felt the season was going to be wacky. I just wanted us to be at our best at the end.”
While it seems strange to hear a coach say he’s not concerned with team record, when you stop to think about how it pertains to this particular Lakers team it makes sense. This is a veteran squad, for the most part, that has experience in the post-season. The team’s three best players (Bryant, Gasol, Bynum) have all been to, and won, multiple NBA championships. They know what it takes to win games on the road in the post-season.
Still, this team has struggled on the road this year, which currently makes the prospect of starting and finishing a post-season series on the road somewhat frightening. But, as Brown stated, if the team is able to put together the final pieces of their gameplan puzzle before entering the playoffs, they could hang with anyone.