Mike Brown's Playbook
Waiting just outside Mike Brown’s office to discuss his entirely revamped offensive playbook, featuring more than 200 plays, took several minutes while he and his assistants debated/argued/discussed a basic post-up set.
Since the middle of August, such a situation is what you’d be most likely to find happening, day after day, in the coaches' office.
Brown’s defensive playbook is equally thick, but did not require the wholesale adjustments mandated by the other side of the ball.
“I think you can take your defense from team to team to team, and no matter who comes through your door keep the same scheme, because defense is about toughness, grit, communication, hard work and trust,” Brown explained. “Whereas offensively, you have a lot of different types of skill sets out there.”
When Brown was in Cleveland from 2005-10, the biggest advantage his team had personnel-wise on the offensive end came out of pick-and-roll sets. As such, that was the primary focus of his offensive playbook: how and where to best set up those sets, where to place shooters around the perimeter and so forth.
Of course, the personnel he inherits in Los Angeles is entirely different.
“Here in L.A., we have guys that can play the pick and roll, but we have a strength here that we didn’t have in Cleveland, which is dominant low post scoring coming from both bigs and smalls,” he said. “You not only have multiple post up players, but guys who utilize pin downs, movement and things like that, so you have to design and implement an offense that will fit your personnel.”
While Brown said that posting up wasn’t “anybody’s strength" in Cleveland, the terminology in his playbook will be similar to what it was in years past, a common holdover for coaches moving from team to team. Similar names, different actions.
“When it comes to court orientation or spacing, the glossary and so forth, much of that is the same,” Brown continued. “We’ve expanded it to a certain degree, using different areas of the floor at different times, which adds elements; what we’ve done is basically re-tool our entire offensive playbook.”
When special assistant coach Ettore Messina was in town from Italy, much time was spent working on zone offense and defensive looks, shoring up some developments Brown would like to see from his team. Up next is another journey through the offensive playbook, just to “make sure we’re comfortable with what we have down,” and finally the putting together of some training camp practices.
Had the season started in early October, Brown said he’d still have managed to get through all that was needed for the playbooks and such, but that it would have been a “work in progress.” The additional time has allowed for more of a natural pace than a cram session, though he and his staff are certainly chomping at the proverbial bit.
“We’re ready,” concluded Brown.