In case you haven’t heard, the Los Angeles Lakers have signed ex-Knicks/Suns coach Mike D’Antoni to a 4-year deal. This coming days after firing head coach Mike Brown who started the season off with a pitiful 1-4 record. The reason this is a huge headline is due to the fact that the Lakers were quoted saying they were “95%” sure that former coach Phil Jackson was getting the job. Phil, and his 11 rings, had the Laker nation buzzing in hope that he would bring the team back to the promise land. Kobe endorsed it, Phil was ready, the Laker fans were surely ready, but apparently the organization heads were not.
But why D’Antoni?
Some reasons are obvious: D’Antoni was Nash’s coach during his MVP runs, led the Suns to multiple 60 win seasons, and even snuck in some playoff wins while with the Suns. Along with this, he has definitely been in the spotlight, coaching the New York Knicks for four years.
But there are some noticeable question marks: He doesn’t teach defense. His 60 win Suns teams would lead the league in scoring, shooting, and assists, only to be dead last in defense and opponents points per game, a major problem. Also, his recent stint with the Knicks did not turn out so great (18-24 before being fired). Most importantly, he has a whopping 0 rings compared to Phil’s 11.
This leads to the main question: does he fit?
In my opinion, this will work. Although D’Antoni has a track record of terrible defensive teams, having Dwight, Metta, and Kobe will definitely be a defensive upgrade from Amare, Joe Johnson, and Barbosa. On the flip side, while they might be poor defensively, I can be sure in saying that this Laker team will definitely be near the top in almost every offensive category. Secondly, if D’Antoni can get Nash back to his old pick and roll ways, this team will flourish. Dwight Howard will be unstoppable and Nash will, once again, go back to his old days of 12+ assists per game. Along with this, I feel the players will be motivated and love playing for a “players coach” in D’Antoni who has been known to spoil his players and have great relationships with them.
All in all, he might not be the greatest fit, but D’Antoni was definitely not a bad hire in my opinion. As a matter of fact, I feel as though we will be seeing a lot of the Lakers come mid-April.