D’Antoni Hire Means Lakers Brass Anti-Phil Jackson (and Perhaps Kobe)

Color me stunned as hell.

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…

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5 replies

  1. I agree with your short write-up wholeheartedly… Phil Jax is undoubtedly the better choice. Mike has never achieved the same success after leaving Phoenix and Nash, and Nash is almost 40 now… Check his record in NYK: 4 years, 1 playoff appearance.

    For Phil, his biggest strength is “PSYCHOLOGY”. Even in his 3 so-called “underperforming” seasons with only 1 stars, he brought Pippen (san Jordan) to 2nd round of playoffs; Kobe (with Kwame & Mihm) into 7-game series with D’Antoni’s much-talented Suns (Nash, Amare, Joe Johnson, Marion); and a lethargic Lakers to a 2nd-round loss to eventual champion, Dallas (which is unplayable during that playoffs)… That record (even without mentioning the 11 rings) is much better than Mike’s… Sigh, this move has Jim Buss’s finger-print all over it…

    I just feel really sad that Kobe’s window for a 6th ring has probably closed with the hiring. A rejuvenated Phil could possibly bring 1 more ring to LAL before Kobe retires, but Mike will have difficulty beating OKC and MIA…

  2. Klown, I gotta disagree with you here. The Triangle would have wasted Steve Nash’s play-making abilities. Only 4 guys on the team know how to run it. It also had the potential to reduce Dwight to a glorified Luc Longley. I’m not saying D’Antoni is the best choice, I’m not sure. I know this, they will be fun to watch. Also, D’Antoni has never had this much talent to work with and he was in the Western Conference Finals, only to be taken out by the Spurs in a questionable fashion. LA should have never hired Brown in the first place, they should have hired Byron Scott or Brian Shaw. They are correcting a mistake, and taking a step (not sure how big) in the right direction.

  3. Jim Buss in a moron!He’s done something in 2 years that’s never been done!Make the Lakers the 2nd best team in LA!Great job Jim..

  4. A coach has to build a team based on his players’ strengths. Phoenix had young, athletic players like Amare, Joe Johnson, Quentin Richardson who were good on offense, bad on defense and played great with Nash guiding them. The Knicks weren’t going to emphasize defense with Carmelo in charge either.

    Now D’Antoni has Howard, Artest and Bryant who take pride in their defense. Obviously, he won’t run the 7 second offense with this older group. It will be interesting to see what he comes up with.

    Hiring Phil would have signaled that they were going all out until Kobe’s career ends. This hire signals that they want a long term coach to transition from the Kobe era to the Howard era.

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