The big news around the NBA was the firing of coach Mike Brown after just five games. There's plenty of blame to go around, but like any divorce, the blame is pointless. Sure Kobe wanted the Princeton offense which is now being blamed for the poor start (despite very high offensive efficiency implying the offense is working). Sure Brown's a completely pedestrian coach who probably didn't deserve the job in the first place.
There's plenty of crap to sling around both ways when a 100 million dollar payroll team isn't winning basketball games. That said, the only important thing is this. It wasn't going to work anymore. That seems clear to everyone right? You can't dump the players, so the only move left is to dump Brown. For that reason, it was a good move. There's no reason to let this thing play out when Brown had lost the team.
Phil Jackson is the first, second, and third choice for the Lakers. Maybe it costs 15 million to get Phil to come out of retirement, but they'll do it right? Why wouldn't they? When they're set to pay an ungodly sum in luxury tax anyway, whatever Phil would want is a drop in the bucket.
Adrian Wojnarowski threw down one of his hatchet job pieces about why things won't work out with Phil, but i think the perspective is all wrong. If the Lakers get Jackson they're still underdogs to win the whole thing.
They were underdogs before the season started. Anyone who thinks they're favorites against the Heat is simply fooling themselves. The Heat still have the two best players on the floor. LeBron and Wade are both better than anyone on the Lakers. When your role players are Chris Bosh and Ray Allen, you're doing pretty well.
The point that Jackson may fail to win a ring this year with LA thus making his pursuit foolish ignores all reason. Jackson gives you the best chance to win a ring. Who's going to do better? Who else has any hope of reigning in Kobe? Mike D'Antoni? Please. Dwight Howard bristled under Stan Van Gundy, how's he going to work under Jerry Sloan?
Jackson's the only guy that makes sense. He's the only guy who can salvage this season, command the respect in the locker room, and give the team any chance to win a title against competition that is simply better than they are. He probably won't, but no one else has a prayer, so you pay Jackson his money and hope for the best.
Better late than never...
Sorry some work emergencies prevented me from writing my typical post game wrap up of the OKC loss. By now, Bulls fans have probably digested the game fairly well, and I have the following loose thoughts...
The Bulls played hard, they played better than expected, and they had a shot. Against an OKC team that has them massively outgunned that's about as much as you can expect. That said, these type of moral victories ring hollow after one or two games. At the end, the Bulls fell victim to a fairly typical script.
Team keeps it close, gets to the end, and then kills them with their superstar. The Bulls themselves won with that script many times over the past few seasons. The Bulls were without their superstar (duh) and the Thunder weren't. Even with the Bulls up five-six points for most of the game I never felt they could hold on and win. I was just waiting for the inevitable and it happened.
Luol Deng impressed me during the game, he did a nice job creating some offense for the Bulls which isn't his strength, but I like that he took it on himself to do so and showed some success. Why the Bulls went away from him as he lit up Kevin Martin on a couple plays in a row was strange to watch.
One eyeball gauging play had Chicago fall into a two man game with Hinrich and Hamilton working against Sefolosha and Westbroook rather than taking advantage of Deng on the Thunder's worst defender whom he had just torched twice. Craziness.
Still, it wouldn't have mattered, the Bulls didn't have the firepower to get the job done, and against the best teams in the NBA we're going to see that as a repeated problem until Derrick returns and is at full strength.