PORTLAND -- It’s probably not a good sign that Lakers Coach Mike Brown is already defending the team’s Princeton offense.
On Day 2 of the regular season.
But, indeed, a flurry of past and present NBA players questioned its effectiveness in the Lakers’ 99-91 loss Tuesday against Dallas.
TNT analyst Charles Barkley said Brown needed to “nix that Princeton thing.” Kenny Smith, also a TNT analyst, followed it up by saying, “Princeton never won an NCAA title.”
Magic Johnson weighed in on Twitter, saying he was “a bit confused” by the Lakers’ opener. He implored Lakers fans not to panic but said, “I do know one thing: the ball should be in Steve Nash’s hands much more. How about some pick and roll?”
Even New Jersey power forward Kris Humphries had something to say on Twitter: “It’s strange watching Steve Nash play off the ball so much.”
Brown laughed off the observations by Barkley and Smith.
“I’ve been criticized by those guys before,” he said. “I think they’re funny guys. I’m OK with it.”
Then Brown got serious.
“The first thing is with our offense, every time down the floor -- and if they want to, they can call Steve Nash and ask him -- Steve Nash has the right to play pick and roll if he wants to,” Brown said. “He has said it himself that he doesn’t feel like he’s as burdened because he doesn’t have to make every play for everybody all the time with what we’re trying to do. He can give it up and still have a chance to get it back. He’s said that he feels as fresh as he’s ever felt in his career because he doesn’t feel the pressure of making every single play.”
Brown suggested that the headaches created by the offense now would disappear amid positive results.
“We could spread the floor and play pick and roll all the time ... but it will make us one-dimensional,” he said. “So when we play the good teams, they’ll figure out how to stop that one thing that we’re good at ... and when we’re in seven-game playoff series, for sure the later we get into the playoffs, they’ll be able to take us out of the offense because we’ll be so one-dimensional. What we’re trying to do, we’re trying to eliminate that and be hard to guard because it’s a read-based offense.”
To be continued, perhaps for a while. . . .