Mike Brown (c) gives instructions to his players during a timeout in an NBA game.
Foto: EFE – RYAN BEATTY
Sacramento Kings reached the finals being the sensation of the NBA. It is the team that everyone talks about. A few days before the start of the playoffs, Mike Brown, his star coach, won the award for the best strategist of the season. An award voted for by his own colleagues, who unanimously decided, something unprecedented, to recognize the native Ohio coach.
Why did Brown get 100% of the vote? What makes your Kings different from the other teams in the league? Will they be able to strike out and eliminate the defending champions, the San Francisco Warriors?
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Let’s start with the last question. This Wednesday, starting at nine o’clock at night (Colombian time), Sacramento will once again receive the series with the Warriors. The key is tied 2-2, but when he had left the capital of the state of California he was 2-0 in favor of the locals. Now, the Kings will have to tip the balance in their favor at home because, with a loss, the Warriors could close out the contest in San Francisco for Game 6.
The pressure, a privilege that they have earned, is with the Kings. In addition, they have weapons to aspire to strike and leave out one of the reigning dynasties in the league in recent times.
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Mike Brown, one of the most winning coaches in the NBA, although he has hardly achieved recognition for his work until now, is a man with a long history, but cooked in the heart of Golden State, when he spent several years under the mentorship of Steve Kerr while the Warriors conquered ring after ring.
And although he arrived at the Warriors in 2016 as an assistant, Brown had already had under his baton, as head coach, players like LeBron James, during his first stage in the Cleveland Cavaliers, or Kobe Bryant, when he took over as coach of the Lakers after the departure of Phill Jackson.
Perhaps that journey, with several failures, but with more victories than defeats, ended up shaping Brown into the revolutionary strategist he is now. From that background he was able to build the sensational team this season and his project, whether or not he eliminates the Warriors this week, looks promising.
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Mike Brown was always recognized for his abilities, his meticulous way of preparing the teams and his obsession with game analysis. In fact, and he confessed it in a recent interview with “The Athletic”, before it was difficult for him to recognize those limits. His templates wore out and his passion for technical management ended, many times, in conflicts with his coaching.
For this reason, says the strategist, his time with the Warriors was key. Because when he arrived at the Bay, the tone of one of the most winning teams in history was calmer. Steve Kerr was not obsessive, he let his players be. Golden State revolutionized basketball, without a doubt, Mike Brown lived it from the inside. But no crazy. It was a revelation: “For me, it was all about business, tactics and playing hard. Fuck all that: sometimes the best teams are the ones that know how to have a real life and coexist, ”he explains in that interview. Brown understood that each squad creates its own ecosystem, it’s not something that can be forced. That is the key to his recent success.
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All that learning led him to Sacramento, one of the hardest hit franchises in recent decades, which had not entered the playoffs for 16 years. However, Brown achieved what seemed impossible. The Kings, on everyone’s lips to the astonishment of the majority, became a dynamic team, showy on offense and committed on defense.
It has been seen in the series against the Warriors. Especially in the first two games, which Brown read perfectly, canceling the game that he himself cemented together with Kerr. The keys were in the blockades of the spaces for the shooters. Sacramento marked man to man. And, in addition, he put bodyguards on Stephen Curry. A hostile environment in which, even if the Chef managed to get the mark off, he had a new man on top. And since in the Kings everyone defends at the highest level, anyone could close the door on the legend of the Bay.
The duel is interesting, the Kings, with their game idea and strategy, have known how to equalize the charges. And Kerr’s Warriors, who reinvent themselves in the midst of adversity, have been able to turn Brown’s plans around.
In fact, a video went viral in which the Golden State coach jokingly tells his former assistant that they have new plays that weren’t in the videos. “You don’t know any anymore, let’s see how you stop them,” he blurts out.
Because of their ability, their game volume and versatility, the Kings are a different team. That’s why Brown was chosen coach of the year.
His objective was to build a whole process, which surely does not culminate in this campaign, it is just beginning. “It’s the first opportunity I’ve had to lead and do what I feel is necessary for the team to go in the right direction. He couldn’t have too much resistance, because they were just looking for someone to guide them. That is what I wanted, ”he explained about his arrival.
Those of Sacramento have forged their own chances to aspire to knock down the favorites. That is your consecration. A team in which De’Aaron Fox, Somantas Sabonis or Harrison Barnes shine, a squad without big names, but which aspires to the biggest showcases. Reach? For now, it doesn’t matter. It’s not destiny, it’s the way. How you get there is more relevant. That was his coach’s dream: “I don’t care what they say about me. I don’t care what they say about my team. I will direct them as I feel I must.”
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