Mike Brown has a resume that screams "don't doubt him," but it's the Sacramento Kings. When he decided to take over the Kings as head coach after an eight-year hiatus, the question naturally arose as to whether he had made the right decision.
Leaving a Golden State Warriors dynasty, where he won three rings in six years as an assistant, for a doormat who hadn't won a title in nearly two decades before Brown was born, as the franchise was still known as the Rochester-Royals? It was borderline insane.
Especially considering that for 16 years Sacramento was not just a dumping ground for broken promises and poor decisions, but a graveyard of coaches whose NBA careers ended in disgrace. Of the previous 11 head coaches to guide the Kings during that span, none had a winning record and only one, Michael Malone, received another head coaching job in the league.
But Brown did not look at the kings and did not see barren wastelands. He saw a franchise that needed a little water, a little cleaning, to look good again.
Brown, a frontrunner for the NBA Coach of the Year award, is practicing in Georgetown ahead of one of the Kings' 48 wins this season...After his 48 wins, the Kings shined the purple light at his center in the Golden 1, becoming the Pacific his division champions for the first time in 20 years and making the playoffs for the first time since 2006.
After finishing third in the Western Conference, they have home-court advantage over the defending champion Warriors in the first round, which starts Saturday."I think everyone is here. We want more than that," said Star point guard De'Aaron Fox, who will be his fourth coach in six seasons in Sacramento.
The arrival of Domantas Sabonis at the trade deadline last season and the offseason acquisitions of Kevin Harter, Malik Monk and No. 4 overall pick Keegan Murray helped improve their 18 games. But no addition, according to Fox, had a greater impact than "what Mike brought us on both sides of the ball and gave us the confidence to believe we could win every game we could enter." bottom.Brown knew that a positive attitude helps, but not enough, to turn a perennial underdog like the one under Rick Adelman in the early 2000s into a playoff contender.
The Kings had to remake into the organization he wanted, the organization he had just left."We knew our culture had to be fair," Brown said. "Every band has a soul and that soul has to be right. Everyone has to be connected. My vision wasn't to come here and be a one-shot wonder who might make it to the playoffs but might crash... I wanted to lay the groundwork for something long-term. "
The challenge to continued success in Sacramento went beyond tic-tac-toe. A top-down organizational synergy was needed, and Brown needed to be visible and accessible. He made his way through the field to the company's ticket sales and publicity booths, establishing mutually agreed upon roles with players and explaining what the franchise's core values were.
We drafted contracts that selflessly connect with teams and encourage them to be present, to be accountable, and to embrace adversity. At a pre-season team dinner, he asked everyone to sign a contract that included everything from Kings owner Vivek Ranadive to his two-way player. Kings owns three framed copies of the contract.
Brown keeps a copy on his phone.“As we get older, we realize that there are things in life that cannot be measured statistically, and that make groups of people much stronger than they should be in the eyes of most people,” said the 53-year-old. Brown of said. “If the culture is right, the connections will take us far.”Brown said he was 35 when he took office in Cleveland.
Denver's Video He's Coordinator, Washington's Assistant He's Barney He's Bickerstaff, San Antonio's Greg Popovich, Indiana's Rick Carlyle, has completed a 13-year journey. Trying to find himself as a coach overseeing miracle boy LeBron James in his formative years, Brown led the Cavaliers to his 1st Finals and his 2nd Conference Finals, with 2 league-best finishes. regular achieved his season record. .
Of his five seasons with James, Brown said, "We were both young, we were learning from each other and relying on each other." I feel that all nine yards."
But he made a mistake typical of new leaders. He cared more about crossing things off his to-do list than reading in his room, driving long, hard workouts. He has also been criticized for his lack of aggressive creativity. In his four years, he was fired three times by the Cavaliers, twice by the Los Angeles Lakers, and Phil he had the indomitable task of replacing Jackson.
Losing those jobs hasn't shaken his confidence, and some of Brown is surprised that so many people are surprised by the change in Sacramento.Brown has made the playoffs in his last seven seasons. They have only missed out on one and have won all of their first six games in the playoffs.
Among coaches with over 500 games played, Brown ranks 9th all-time in winning percentage (.612) and is the only top 10 member not to win a championship. He was third behind Kerr and helped win a total of four championships. "Looking back, not much has changed," Brown said, reflecting on his work in Cleveland and Los Angeles. “I was able to learn and grow as a coach.”In his second job under Popovich and then under Kerr, Brown will use the time between head coaching positions to ensure the two are constantly exchanging messages to keep players motivated and engaged.
I was able to see the He realized that what he knew and how well he coached his players was less important than the trust built in building a relationship.
Before coaching the Kings' game, Brown wanted to know the people who would coach his game. Fought against Fox. Afterwards, he went to see Sabonis at the European Championships in Germany, where he had dinner and discussed life with his family. '' said Sabonis. Sabonis is back in the support center in great shape. 118..6.
Brown refused to discuss the plan until it counted.And when he did, Brown fit into a roster with multiple playmakers and multiple shooters while his reputation was on the defensive. We have shown that you can develop an effective offensive game plan like this.
A conversation with St. Mary's coach Randy Bennett, whom he befriended during his Bay Area days, helped Brown overcome one of his biggest problems with the Kings. The result was most obvious for Fox, who led the league in scoring for the sixth season, beating the Kings' record by five points and going 17-10-23 with less than five minutes remaining.
25-19 this season. "Every small victory needs to be celebrated," Brown said of Bennett's impact, adding, "We want them to see incremental growth soon so they don't feel anxious or scared in situations like this." I will do it,” he said. We can't. ”
For inspiration, Brown also talks about great business leaders, such as former American Express CEO Kenneth Schnoe, who once said that the role of a leader is to "define reality, but to give hope." Researched. Brown never had a problem with the first part, but thinks the previous situation went too far realistically. In Sacramento, Brown was demanding but flexible.
Harrison Barnes, the only player in the Kings' regular rotation to hold a championship ring, said, "Mike was always up front.
He was always going to be up front with you, and I thought people could respect that. I will," he said. "They can follow him."Brown now faces an opponent he respects and knows well. Winning only improves what he's already done, restores his reputation, and revives an inactive franchise. "When you're appointed to a leadership position, you feel like you can help, especially if you feel like you're part of some success," Brown said. "Here in Sacramento, it feels good. "