D’Antoni Hire Means Lakers Brass Anti-Phil Jackson (and Perhaps Kobe)
That seems to be the prevailing thought on the hire of Mike D’Antoni as head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. Many – including yours truly – thought that the job was former coach Phil Jackson’s to turn down. But when I heard the news while listening to “Mike and Mike in the Morning” on ESPN Radio, I was – once again – stunned as hell.
Let me tell you all what this means.
First of all, the Lakers brass – namely vice president Jim Buss – still hates Jackson. If what was said about Jackson’s demands were true (namely having final say over basketball matters over GM Mitch Kupchak AND Buss), then the Lakers must have figured “the hell with Jackson, let’s just move in another direction”.
Plus, the notion that the Triangle Offense would have been hard for the current roster to pick up is garbage. You can’t tell me that Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Ron Artest’s (sorry, I refuse to call that fool Metta World Peace) crazy ass would not have taught Steve Nash and Dwight Howard to principles of the Triangle Offense? Really?
Speaking of Kobe, I think this is the beginning of the end of Bryant in LA. There is no secret that Buss and Bryant do not see eye-to-eye. Look at the hiring of Mike Brown last season. Bryant was not consulted at all by Buss on that hire – nor the D’Antoni hire. What does that mean when the team’s brass do not give two damns what the star player thinks?
I also think D’Antoni is not the “perfect fit” as the Lakers head coach.
Sure D’Antoni is an offensive mind. Sure Bryant grew up a HUGE fan of D’Antoni’s during the early part of his childhood in Italy.
However, not only is D’Antoni allergic to defense, his pick-and-roll style offense does not fit the Lakers’ personnel. It may do wonders for Howard and Nash, for both are pick-and-roll players. Where does that leave Bryant? That will be the intriguing storyline for the rest of the 2012-2013 NBA season.
I think that Jackson would have been the better hire. His offensive system is more conducive to the Lakers’ personnel. He also believes in defense. And finally, the players loved – and more importantly, BELIEVED – in Jackson.
I know that Bryant is thinking the end of his time as a Laker is near. It now may be much sooner rather than later.
I also know this: the San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder are smiling their asses off right now…