Mike Brown may have been trampled on by Lebron James in Cleveland but somehow, the coach perceived as a bumbling pawn who rode King James’ coattails has landed on his feet with the most successful franchise of the decade. I know that’s not a ringing endorsement but by hiring Brown, the Lakers are attempting to salvage their dynasty by doing something that has never been done in NBA history. Ironically, the Lakers can look to the franchise they are trying to catch in rings. In the late 60’s, the Boston Celtics won two more titles after Bill Russell took over Red Auerbach’s role as coach of the Boston Celtics. However, those Celtics kept Auerbach’s basic philosophy and coaching staff intact during an era of non-existent parity. No championship team with an intact roster has ever lost a legendary coach with a legitimate shot of returning to the NBA’s peak. Mike Brown’s Lakers are in uncharted territory.

The Lakers shunned Brian Shaw’s decade of apprenticeship under Phil Jackson, the Triangle offense, Kobe Bryant’s endorsements and Rick Adelman’s corner offense.

Brown has led a blessed life as an NBA coach. He spent time under Greg Popovich’s tutelage in San Antonio and was part of Rick Carlisle’s Indiana Pacers staff, which nearly led Ron Artest and Reggie Miller’s to the NBA Finals.

However, he’s most fondly or infamously remembered as Lebron’s “umbrella holder” in Cleveland. I was very critical of Brown during his Cleveland tenure but it had nothing to do with his coaching acumen. Brown’s Cavaliers teams were regularly tops in most defensive categories. Like most observers, I thought Lebron’s skillset was underutilized in a half court offense and agreed his unique combination of point guard vision, scoring ability, size, athleticism and open court prowess would be utilized best in a faster paced offense.

Brown’s slow tempo and devotion to defensive discipline will suit the aging Lakers. This will also be the most talented roster Mike Brown has ever lorded over. However, Brown’s arrival also means the end of Derek Fisher in Los Angeles. The Triangle offense neutralizes the effectiveness of its point guards. Mike Brown’s hiring make Chris Paul and Deron Williams, attractive options for Los Angeles.

If there’s one aspect that separates Brown from Phil Jackson immediately, it’s the respect factor. Phil Jackson brought experience as a player and a dozen championship rings to the bench. Brown is the coach who regularly took bullets from Lebron and was even bumped by the Akron Hammer during a timeout. Brown was thought so little of in Cleveland, that his contract was allowed to expire despite a pair of 60 win seasons, a very brief Finals appearance and an NBA Coach of the Year award by the time he was 40.

After last season, Brown was offered an assistant coaching job at St. Mary’s College. He turned it down to serve as an assistant coach for his son’s middle school football team. Yep, you heard right. The Lakers may have hired an assistant middle school football coach to lead one of the two most storied NBA franchises back to the Promised Land –but he’s more than that. I wouldn’t bet against him meeting Lebron James there in 2012.