Tomorrow’s story today …
Antawn Jamison needed a job last summer.
The Lakers needed to fill a vacancy for a veteran backup forward.
So, it seemed natural the Lakers would sign Jamison to a one-season, $1.3-million contract. But there was another reason Jamison decided to give the Lakers a try, and it wasn’t only because he’s in search of his first championship ring after 14 seasons.
“He was one of the reasons I wanted to come here,” Jamison said.
“He” was not superstar guard Kobe Bryant, although it could have been just as easily the reason Jamison signed. Nor was it future Hall of Fame point guard Steve Nash. Nor was it center Dwight Howard. Nor was it Pau Gasol. Nor was it Metta World Peace.
No, Jamison referred to Lakers coach Mike Brown.
“To me, it was a no-brainer,” Jamison said of signing with the Lakers.
Jamison played for Brown for part of the 2009-10 season, Brown’s last with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Brown was fired after the LeBron James-led Cavaliers won 61 games during the regular season, but failed to win the NBA title.
The Cavaliers operated as if on autopilot back then. Brown was in his fifth season, with James and a cast of young players sticking to a relatively simple game plan and winning with spectacular ease at times during the regular season.
There was little tinkering to be done with the Cavaliers.
However, Jamison found Brown and circumstances changed dramatically when the Lakers began training camp Oct. 2. Brown was constantly at work, stressing the small details and leaving zero to chance as he began his second season with the Lakers.
“He has to put his stamp on what he wants us to do,” Jamison said of Brown.
There is a new game plan, a variation of the free-flowing Princeton offense, and a bunch of new players this season. There are talents to be blended, styles to be meshed and, ultimately, games to be won. The honeymoon period is over for Brown.
“He’s not willing to let things go through the cracks now,” Jamison said. “He’s really on point. I think they had a comfort zone in Cleveland where they could kind of just go through the motions. … He wants us to do things the correct way. It’s good.”
Brown has been intense, but he’s also been willing to back off with the players. Because of the NBA lockout that delayed and then compressed training camp and the regular season, Brown pushed and pushed and pushed last season. The Lakers practiced or played games for 19 consecutive days before he gave the players a break.
He’s slowed the pace dramatically during this training camp.
Sunday marked the Lakers’ second day off in two weeks.
“He’s the perfect fit for this type of situation,” Jamison said when asked if Brown’s experience made him the right man to guide this championship contender. “I don’t know how many coaches could come in here and put their stamp on this team.”