Ailene Voisin of the Sacramento Bee took the opportunity of Larry Brown's conquest of history in Charlotte, where the Bobcats made the postseason for the first time ever, to remind us she lobbied for the legend while the Kings instead messed around with Eric Musselman, Reggie Theus and Kenny Natt. Voisin argues that Musselman and Theus, touted by Kings' management as fresh faces on the rise, did nothing to help the development of the squad, whereas Brown turned the Bobcats from an also-ran to a playoff team (albeit one which got skunked in the first round).
Voisin has a point: Brown is still a successful coach, and Musselman nor Theus were. But to argue that the Kings would have been better off with Brown is stretching things too far.
The Kings in 2007, the year in which Brown semi-publicly lobbied for the Sacramento job after the team fired Musselman, were in a drastically different position than were the Bobcats in 2008. Sacramento was moving toward a clean slate, a youth-focused rebuild. The Bobcats were trying desperately to earn the franchise's first winning season, a premiere postseason berth. The Kings were developing a 19-year center in Spencer Hawes and drafting a 21-year-old power forward in Jason Thompson. The Bobcats were focusing on veterans, trading the team's 2007 top-10 pick for Jason Richardson. The Kings would go on to trade Mike Bibby for cap space, and the following summer Ron Artest for draft picks, and the following winter Brad Miller and John Salmons for cap space. How would Brown have responded if all the veterans were traded from under him?
You can't use a chainsaw to slice an onion, and you can't use Larry Brown to coach a team of 21-year-olds. Athens 2004 ring a bell? The tool just isn't right for the job. Never mind the potential clashes with the -- as Voisin calls him -- conservative Geoff Petrie. Why would Petrie bring in a name who would immediately challenge his position as grand poobah of Kings basketball? Why would anyone put mousetraps in their own shoes?
I have been vociferous in my lobbying for a more defensive-minded coach through each hiring process. But Brown, one of the greatest defensive minds in modern basketball, was never a plausible answer. Not in 2007. Not in 2008. It worked in Charlotte because of Charlotte's desperate needs. (And work it did.) This situation, though, is mighty different. There are no one-size-fits-all answers when it comes to coaches. That ought to be recognized when discussing where the team's gone wrong.