You’ve probably heard by now, but during the Los Angeles Lakers’ loss to Memphis the other night head coach Mike Brown sat Kobe Bryant down during the fourth quarter. Of course, because they lost Brown came under fire for sitting Kobe even though he hadn’t rested at all during the second half. When asked about it, ESPN Los Angeles’ Dave McMenamin reports Brown used the relationship between San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich and Tim Duncan.
“I’m sure (San Antonio Spurs coach) Gregg Popovich took out Tim Duncan with six minutes to go before,” Brown said. “I’m sure other coaches have done it. Maybe because I’m a young guy and that’s Kobe (I’m being scrutinized). I don’t know. I’m sure there are other coaches that have done it.”
That’s not a bad example to use to defend his thinking. In reality, Mike Brown isn’t Gregg Popovich even if he is a very good basketball coach. But even if Brown isn’t Popovich, the more important point is Kobe Bryant isn’t Tim Duncan. Outside of maybe Derek Fisher, Kobe hasn’t had the type of relationship with anyone that Duncan and Pop share. However, for his part, Kobe has been playing the role of a good soldier in public at least.
“It’s his decision to make,” Bryant told reporters after the game. “He makes the decision. He’s the coach. If you guys are looking for a story, I’m not going to give you one. I can’t sit here and criticize his decisions. In leading this ballclub, that’s something I can’t afford to do. I got to have his back. I’ve had his back the whole season; I can’t start doing something crazy now. It wouldn’t make no sense.”
Nice job, Kobe. I have no idea how this Brown/Kobe partnership is going to finish out, but it’s good to see Kobe not throwing someone under the bus. If I were Mike Brown I would be establishing a relationship with Andrew Bynum. Bynum is still young and Lakers Vice President Jim Buss loves him. Being close to a franchise big man is a good way to stick around a job for more than a couple of years.