What if Brian Shaw became the Lakers' head coach?
The date of July 13 marks a definitive time in Brian Shaw's life. It's the moment he accepted an offer to become the Indiana Pacers' associate coach under Frank Vogel. The date also marks when Shaw immediately stopped harboring frustration over the Lakers' failure to immediately communicate with him that he wouldn't succeed Phil Jackson as coach.
So as he moved out of his Manhattan Beach residence and relocated his family, Shaw says he's hardly replayed the what-if scenarios. But Lakers fans surely have wondered what would have happened had he been hired instead of Mike Brown.
Many wonder if he would've succeeded Jackson had the Lakers avoided a four-game sweep to the Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference semifinals. With the Lakers (10-8) in the midst of a three-game losing streak, they wonder if the purple and gold would've gone through similar adversity. Below are five things I envisioned happening had Shaw stayed on board.
1. The Lakers would run the triangle offense. At least Derek Fisher, Steve Blake, Matt Barnes, Metta World Peace and Devin Ebanks publicly conceded they prefer running Mike Brown's read offense than Jackson's triangle offense. Regardless, the Lakers have run Brown's offense through 18 games with sloppy inconsistency. The verdict remains out on whether the new system will ultimately help them. But in the short term, the Lakers wouldn't have experienced as many offensive struggles.
2. The Lakers wouldn't feel as fatigued. Concerns remain about a veteran-laden roster and the effects of a compacted 66-game schedule, but the Lakers would've had more days off for two reasons. They wouldn't need to learn as much information under Shaw since it'd be an extension of Jackson's philosophies. Shaw also carries the same laid-back mentality Jackson holds in pacing players through a season. Meanwhile, Brown, for better and worse, has a grinding mentality.
3. The Lakers would've waived World Peace and kept Lamar Odom. The Lakers avoided disolving ties with World Peace and his three-year, $21.8-million contract through the amnesty clause because of his defense and potential as a good bench player. But with Odom intact and World Peace remaining lost in the triangle, the Lakers would benefit little by keeping him on the roster.
4. Shaw would've reigned in Kobe Bryant more. Brown has deferred on everything to Bryant regarding his wrist injury and his shot selection. But he's also played Bryant too many minutes and has leaned on him too much to carry the offense. Shaw would've emphasized more balance between Bryant, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum while pacing Bryant through the arduous season.
5. The Lakers might not have been as strong defensively. Credit Brown for one thing. He's convinced the Lakers to take more pride on defense by adopting a blue-collar mentality. Their defensive execution has proven to be inconsistent, but the Lakers usually have put forth the effort.
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