2009-’10: Mike Brown’s Toughest Season

by July 13, 2009

by Marcel Mutoni

Funny how this business works: Mike Brown coached his team to a franchise record 66 wins last year, nabbed the Coach of the Year award, and fell a couple of wins short of the championship round. And next season, if things do go exactly according to plan, he might be looking for work.

Brown, at least publicly, says he’s perfectly fine with this insane scenario. The Plain Dealer reports:

No NBA coach will be under a more unforgiving spotlight or facing more pressure than the Cavaliers’ Mike Brown next season…The Cavaliers had the third-highest payroll in the NBA last season, and paid nearly $14 million to the league in luxury tax. Brown is working in a championship-famished town for a hard-driving owner who is willing to spend whatever it takes to deliver the first NBA title in franchise history.

He knows that his job in Cleveland will be judged simply on this: Did the Cavs win a title with James? “We have a big challenge in front of us,” said [GM Danny Ferry]. “Mike’s focus is the same as that of the entire organization, all our goals and expectations should be high.”

And here you are wondering why Jeff Van Gundy’s face appears to be melting, even though he stopped coaching many moons ago.

Coaching on this level is a tough, stressful, and sometimes wholly unfair gig. Mike Brown is a few months away from discovering just true all of this is.