Brown & Bryant Bond Over Hard Work
Among the more popular topics of conversation in "How's that gonna work in Laker Land?" over the long offseason was how Kobe Bryant and Mike Brown were going to mesh … for better or worse.
More directly, how would Bryant, so familiar with Phil Jackson and the triangle offense and the role of each towards five championships, take to a new, young (41) head coach that he didn't know?
About two weeks into their relationship, Bryant says things are going far better than he ever expected.
"What I heard about him was that he was a pushover, he doesn't say what he's thinking and all that stuff," said Kobe. "I haven't seen that at all. It's been the complete opposite. He's been detail oriented, up front, open and honest."
That's right up the alley of the player whose work ethic has never been questioned, a 16-year veteran who still wants to be coached, who seeks being corrected.
"(Coach Brown) praises guys when they do well, he jumps on them when they're messing up, right away," Bryant continued. "He does that with me, with Pau (Gasol), with (Devin) Ebanks. There's no difference. I've been extremely surprised and very, very pleased with that."
Near the start of the third quarter of Monday night's preseason loss to the Clippers, Bryant failed to properly close out on a deep Chauncey Billups three, and Brown immediately called time out to tell him about it. Bryant liked it. He doesn't want to be given a free pass, and doesn't think Brown can correct other players if the critique doesn't start with him at the top.
"I look at it as coaching, and that's what Dr. Buss pays me to do," explained Brown. "If I was afraid to coach this team, I shouldn't be here … I don't look at it as criticizing, I look at it as coaching, and if I didn't do it, I'd be stealing."
More than anything else, Bryant recognizes that Brown's going to do everything he can — regardless of how many hours that means he and his full staff will spend at the team's facility — to help the team win.
"I can tell how much he wants it because you can see how hard he works," Bryant explained. "In film session, he's already gone over the film many times before. There's no wasted energy, there's no wasted time. He's in here working. That makes you want to win for him that much more."
It seems to be a symbiotic relationship.
"(Kobe's) been great," concluded Brown. "He does whatever we ask of him without question. He gives us suggestions when we ask … he leads the team."