What to expect from Brown
by Eddie Johnson / July 29, 2005
Larry Brown has done it again. He is the best coach of all time at getting out of contracts and then landing the job he really wants – this time in New York. I don't think there was any doubt that was the one he wanted and not an executive job with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The New York Knickerbockers have become the next pit stop for Brown. He's already saying this is the final one. I am not buying it. This man loves to be wanted. He craves attention and – unlike most of us mere mortals – he is able to not only command it, but achieve it as well.
He is special. There will be no other coach like him. He is the godfather of a fraternity that makes sure everyone in his inner circle has a job. There are a few coaches that Brown does not control. Phil Jackson is one of them. But for the most part, if you look around the league, you will see a number of coaches that were tutored under Brown and rely on serious input from him on a year-round basis.
That's why he is so well respected among general manager types regardless of his ability to fall in love with another job while he is still under contract.
The Knicks are his patients now and they have been sick for sometime.
I can imagine right now that Brown is trying desperately to convince Isiah Thomas to shop Stephon Marbury after only one day on the job.
Why? Because I guess he does not want to put up with a player that stated he was the best point guard in the league despite a 33-49 record.
Brown hates me-first players. If you are not willing to play the right way, then you are a goner.
I played for Larry Brown two years with the Pacers and really had a chance to see his coaching genius. So here are 10 things Knick players need to get ready for starting in October.
1. Long and intense practices with a lot of stopping and starting so Brown can teach. Wear some warmups over your practice shorts so you can stay warm.
2. Brown will break down your attributes as a player and try to get you to change to his way. If you want to keep playing consistent minutes, I suggest you at least show that you will try to change – or else.
3. Honesty and frankness. He will look you in the eye and tell you exactly what he thinks of your game. Remember Knick players: He is the only coach in the league besides Phil Jackson and Pat Riley (if he coaches again) that can exert power equal to a superstar player. He couldn't care less about your feelings.
4. This was the most surprising part of Larry Brown. Hey, Knick players, don't miss many practices because Brown has a tendency to change offensive plays every few games. If he likes a play from an opposing team, he incorporates it into his playbook. The problem you will have if you miss practice is that he will give the new play the same number the old play had. So if you missed practice, you might be running the old play instead of the new one. That will get you to the bench in a hurry.
5. Constant barking to move the ball and to you if you are standing still for longer than three seconds. He loves players that can play without the ball. If you are to be successful on one of Brown's teams, you must be efficient by relying on your teammates.
6. Halftime rants – sometimes deafening. Brown is a human videotape machine. He remembers every single possession during a basketball game and never writes down notes. So don't think you are sneaking something pass him during a game. I had 12 coaches in my career and I never saw anybody like him.
7. The doghouse. Get use to it because everyone of you will visit it during the course of the season. If you don't believe me, go ask Reggie Miller. I saw Brown bench Reggie one time during a game without blinking. I spent about four straight games on the bench after averaging about 21 for three games prior to that. I still don't know what I did.
8. Show of emotion. This must be a Carolina thing. He will tell you at any time how much he loves you and two days later might want to ship you out. I say it's a Carolina thing because the first time I saw it was my rookie year when Carolina alum Phil Ford started bawling after missing a last-second shot to win the game. I have no problem with showing emotion, but it was the first game of the year!
9. This one is for my homeboy Zeke, who I consider one of the best general managers in the league. He will soon prove it. Lock your doors – especially after bad losses. Brown will want to trade someone that night. He is not averse to trading anyone at any given time and will chase Thomas home to convince him to do it.
10. Winning. Regardless of what you will have to put up with, Knickerbockers, it will eventually add up to wins. So be patient and enjoy the ride. It will be a ride you have not been on for a long while.
My prediction is the Knicks will make the playoffs this season based solely on the coaching of Brown. It's up to the players – especially Stephon Marbury – how far they go in the playoffs.
I can tell you one thing... Whether the players accept him or not, this is his team and he will do it his way.
Isn't that what godfathers do?