Saturday afternoon on ESPNLA On Air, we were joined by Clippers point guard Mo Williams, who played two seasons with Mike Brown in Cleveland, and was vocal in his support for Brown when he was let go by the Cavs. He gave us some insight into how Brown operates as a coach.
A few highlights:
On how Brown fits with the Lakers: "I think it's a great fit. I like Mike Brown as a coach. Actually, I love him as a coach, and as a person also. I think he'll be good for their team. He's a perfect coach for a veteran team. He knows how to handle them, he knows how to practice them, he knows how to motivate them. He knows how to get the most out of them that he can."
On Brown's style of communication: "He's a great communicator, as far as players [go]. When those guys get around him more, they'll see it. He has an open-door policy. A lot of coaches have an open-door policy, but it's really not open. He's one of those coaches where it really is an open-door policy. You can talk to him anytime about anything. He's the head coach at the end of the day, so he's going to make the decision that he feels is best for the team at the time. But he will listen to you, and if it's something that he agrees with, he will follow through. It makes you want to play for him even more."
On the perception Brown's teams in Cleveland were bad offensively: "Maybe that's Lakers fans talking [because of a rivalry between the teams at the time], because I thought we were one of the better offensive teams in the NBA. ... I averaged 17 points a game (in 2008-09, then almost 16 the following season). My second year, we had other guys that were averaging 15 points here, 16 points there. We had a lot of contributions off the bench. But at the same time, we had a go-to guy (LeBron James). He could score in a lot of different ways, and we made sure the ball was in his hands. Obviously the Lakers team is going to be a different team for him, and he's going to play to the strengths of his offensive abilities, and whatever best fits for him to have the best output on the offensive end, he's gonna do. ... We were a top-five [team] on offense if you go back and look at our stats, so the criticisms he gets on the offensive side, you have to go back to statistics. Everybody loves to use statistics in a lot of situations, so how about using them in this instance, and not glorify perception [that the offense was bad]."
Adding Williams' comments to those from ESPN.com's Brian Windhorst, who covered Brown in Cleveland and is one of the best writers in the business, along with TrueHoop's John Krolik, should help take the edge off some concerns Lakers fans have. Not all, but some.
Many won't be answered until Brown leads the team on the court -- and specifically, leads the team through a postseason.
The next few weeks will continue rounding out the Brown hire. At some point this week, he'll be introduced to the local media. He'll put together his staff, an issue of major importance. The team will make draft choices (though with four second-rounders, drawing inferences about the direction of the roster will at best be sketchy), and whenever the labor agreement permits, the Lakers will make adjustments through free agency and trades further clarifying the approach Brown wants to take.
Unfortunately for fans, in between there's lot of waiting, which as we all know, whether taking it on faith, taking it to the heart, or both, is undeniably the hardest part.