There's speculation that Mike Brown may have been fired because of his Princeton offense.
But the Lakers offense wasn’t the primary problem. It was their defense.
Lakers Opp Pts per 100 Poss
Last 4 Seasons
In 2010-11, the season before Brown was hired, the Lakers allowed the sixth-fewest points per possession in the NBA.
Each of the last two seasons (under Brown), they’ve allowed more points per possession. They ranked 13th in the league last season and are 23rd this season.
Over the last two seasons, the Lakers are the worst team in the league at forcing turnovers. Their 12.1 opponent turnover percentage during that span ranks last.
In 2010-11, the Lakers held opponents to the fifth-lowest field-goal percentage within five feet of the basket. Each of the last two seasons, under Brown, that percentage has increased.
On the offensive end, they haven’t been bad. In fact, they’ve improved.
This season, they rank sixth in the NBA in offensive efficiency with nearly 105 points per 100 possessions, more than a point per 100 possessions better than last season.
The problem on the offensive end has been turnovers.
But are turnovers a reflection on the coach or the players?
It could be argued either way, but here’s the damning evidence:
Lakers Turnover Pct Last 5 Seasons
After ranking in the top five of the league in turnover percentage each of the three seasons prior to Brown coming to Los Angeles, the Lakers ranked 21st last season and are dead last this season in turnover percentage. They're turning the ball over once every five possessions.
Another problem was their lack of bench production. After scoring the fewest bench points per game last season, they’re scoring the second-fewest this season.
No matter what really was the primary issue, Brown was the third-quickest firing in NBA history. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, only Dolph Schayes in 1971-72 (coached one game for the Buffalo Braves) and Chick Reiser in 1952-53 (coached three games for the Baltimore Bullets) coached fewer games to start a season before a coaching change was made.
Can the Lakers still win it all? No team that has started 1-4 or worse has ever won the NBA Championship.
Statistical support for this story from NBA.com.