Why Lakers' hiring of Mike D'Antoni is bad, in 7 seconds or less
When Jim Buss and Lakers management fired Mike Brown as coach, they should have had a deal already in place with Phil Jackson. The current roster is too old for D'Antoni's up-tempo game.
By Bill Plaschke
November 12, 2012, 5:00 a.m.
The new Lakers coach famously wants his players to shoot in seven seconds or less. I’m not going to require that long to list the reasons that hiring Mike D'Antoni was yet another Buss blunder.
He's never taken a team to an NBA Finals. He has a losing record in the playoffs. He doesn't coach defense. His sprinting offense will be tested on a team led by aging guys who no longer sprint.
And, oh yeah, he's not Phil Jackson.
I'll repeat what I wrote on Friday, only now with a greater and sadder emphasis: The only way the panicky firing of Mike Brown makes even an ounce of sense is if he was immediately replaced by Jackson.
Turns out, not only did Jim Buss not have a deal in place with Jackson when he fired Brown -- an inconceivable truth -- but he also wasn't prepared to make a deal. Buss apparently walked away from Jackson partially because the coach asked for an ownership piece of the team. Magic Johnson wins five championship rings and gets a piece of the Lakers, but Jackson's five championship rings gets him the door? This couldn’t be because Jim Buss never really liked Jackson, could it?
If you insist on applauding the Buss family for great ownership in moving so fast on firing Brown, then you must rip them for not having his logical replacement already in place, and you must be sickened that they didn’t realize the only man for that job, at this time, at any cost, was Jackson.
Mike D'Antoni is a great guy and a charismatic presence. If they add some younger and quicker pieces, the Lakers could eventually be wildly fun. But he has even less credibility with players than Mike Brown. He is exactly as one-dimensonal as Mike Brown. And his postseason basketball success makes Mike Brown look like, well, Jackson.
If you want to hire D'Antoni, you give Brown more than five games to get this roster figured out, because the transition time for D'Antoni is going to be long and the rewards are going to be questionable. If you want to hire D'Antoni, you make darn sure this season is trashed first, because there are no guarantees that his system can get any team past the second round.
Once it became obvious that Buss wouldn't give in to Jackson's incredible demands -- do you really blame Jackson for his asking price? -- then they should have just handed the team to Bernie Bickerstaff and taken their time in a national search. Instead, they settled on a guy who is recovering from knee-replacement surgery and can't even join the team immediately, they settled on him in about two days, and they relied on his best reference being a point guard with a fractured leg.
What about interviewing Brian Shaw? How about Nate McMillan? If Jackson is not an option, don't you at least look at Jerry Sloan?
D'Antoni coached in New York, so he can handle the heat here. The problem is, he went 121-167 there and could not even weasel a winning record out of a roster that, at one point, included Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire and Jeremy Lin.
D'Antoni coached basketball's most exciting team in Phoenix, so he knows entertainment. The problem: Those Phoenix teams had flexible fliers like Leandro Barbosa, Shawn Marion, a younger Steve Nash and a healthier Stoudemire. All that, and they still lost in the Western Conference finals in consecutive seasons.
His teams famously don't guard anybody. His offense is famously based on youth and quickness. His is a game of glitter but, so far, no NBA gold. How long is Dwight Howard sticking around if he doesn't think this guy can make the Lakers a winner?
On Friday night, in the wake of the Brown firing, everyone from the fans to Kobe Bryant were begging for Phil Jackson. Come this morning, they should be begging for an explanation.
One could list the reasons that the Mike Brown fire/Mike D'Antoni hire is just the latest in a series of moves that, despite their glittering roster, illustrate a huge vacancy in the Lakers' top-level leadership. But it's going to take a lot more than seven seconds.
Can't win a championship
No running for old men
they should have just handed the team to Bernie Bickerstaff and taken their time in a national search.
That's what I'm miffed about. I guess they wanted some immediate glitz.
This makes absolutley no sense!! We are living in interesting times.
TBJ made some interesting points:
- Kobe wears the number 8 because he watched him play in Italy growing up
- He and Nash are tight from Pheonix
- Kobe and Dwight played for him at the olympics and the offensive pattern will be the same here.
- Metta is crazy so he may not pick Brown is gone
- Pau doesn't matter he is just happy to be there
So after Phil he is the best transition coach to get the most out of this squad before they retire.
I agree that besides Phil he is the best immediate option, but either way I hope they didn't get it to right.
I may be in a very small minority, but I think this is an excellent move for the Lakers. You don't bring Steve Nash in to run the triangle. You run the pick and roll with him. Add to that mix the most dangerous rolling big man in the game and you have a potent combo. You can also run pick and pop with Gasol or just kick to him if they double Howard on the roll.
The big issue however is Kobe. With this system, the PG has to dominate the ball and as we saw with Melo, other players that have to be ball dominant can be a problem.
If D'Antoni is smart and Kobe is wise, he'll have Kobe come off the bench. This does three things. One, it minimizes the overlap between the two ball dominant guards which will allow the offense to run more smoothly. Second, it will reduce the minutes and thus the wear and tear on the Lakers 2 aging guards. Third, the biggest weakness going into the season was a lack of a bench. By bringing Kobe off the bench, you have instantly created one. It might be a tough sell, but it is definitely the smart play.
His chattering false teeth on the sidelines.....
I dont think it is a horrible move for LAL. I do question how long it would have taken the team to learn the triangle if PJ were coach
I think one very good reason: "NO D!"
Honestly who cares - entering the season opener the press was ready to hand them teh championship so now this???
i'm surprised i haven't heard this, since THIS is really the example you'd want to use it on.
Diaw knows D'Antoni's system with Nash and knows what D'Antoni tells them to look out for and what kills some of the system. this isn't like a Michael Finley-Dallas departure or an Eddy Curry "Mavs want to know stuff about the Spurs so they sign a scrub" deal. Diaw was a main point in D'Antoni's offense and coached him on how to run the ball.
Diaw's input on his old coach could be significant.
This may be true, but I'd wager that Greg Popovich knows a whole lot more about how to kill D'Antoni's system than Boris Diaw does.
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