Mike Brown: I'll 'stay the course'
He didn't need the flashy footwear for all eyes to be on him.
This year's Lakers, with their near $100 million payroll, All-Star starting lineup and championship aspirations, have stumbled out of the gate and the brunt of the blame coming from fans and analysts is landing on Brown's shoulders.
"That's part of the business," Brown told reporters before the Lakers' game against the Detroit Pistons on Sunday. "I've been through this a lot of times before. I've been through this with my teams in Cleveland where we started off slow, so I'll stay the course, I'll keep my head up and I'll keep trying to encourage the guys to play the right way because at the end of the day, it will pay off for us."
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Brown's Cleveland Cavaliers teams struggled mightily in the early going. In Brown's five seasons at the helm, the Cavs started 1-2 in 2005-06, 2-2 in 2006-07, 2-3 in 2007-08, 1-2 in 2008-09 and 0-2 in 2009-10. The Lakers also started 0-2 last season, Brown's first season with the team.
"There's a lot of things that we want to tweak at the beginning and there is a sense of urgency, but also we have to understand that this is going to be hard. There's nothing easy about this," Brown said. "It doesn't matter who is on the team. We got three or four Hall of Famers on this team. In '07, we started Larry Hughes, Sasha Pavlovic, LeBron James, Drew Gooden and Zydrunas Ilgauskas and that group went to the Finals in '07, but it's the same thing. I didn't want that group to think it was going to be easy and this group shouldn't think it's going to be easy, neither.
"... We do a lot of things in training camp that make our guys uncomfortable. Whether that's the right thing or wrong thing, I don't know, but it has seemed to work where we get to a point in the season where we know how to grind it and we know how to get it done on both ends of the floor."
A source familiar with the Lakers' front-office thinking told ESPNLosAngeles.com that the mood amongst the Lakers' brass was "still positive" after the Lakers lost to the Los Angeles Clippers to fall to 0-3, but fans haven't been quite so patient -- especially with names out there like Phil Jackson, Mike D'Antoni and Jerry Sloan sitting around without a team to coach.
"We have passionate fans here and you respect the fans' passion," Brown said. "You love it, matter of fact, because they want to win. That's what they're used to doing. So, I believe in what I'm doing with the guys and I believe we're going to get it done. To me, that's what keeps me going."
Ultimately, Brown maintained his confidence in the long-term plan the Lakers are trying to execute.
"I feel really good about the direction that we're going," Brown said. "Obviously in the short term, it's not pretty. It's not fun right now, but I really feel confident in what we're trying to do with the group of guys that we have. It's just going to take a little bit of time for them to completely understand what we have going on and then also myself to where I'm comfortable with the rotation, the things that I want to do with our guys on the floor and so on and so forth."