Over the weekend, it was widely speculated that Phil Jackson was very close to returning to the Lakers sidelines. We knew that Mike D’Antoni’s name was in the mix, but the possibility of Phil seemed “strong.” However, overnight, the Lakers brought in Mike D’Antoni as their new head coach.
As someone who watched D’Antoni very closely while coaching the Knicks, I came to the conclusion that he may be a slightly overrated coach. Sure, he ran a fun, high-powered offense while in Phoenix, but he tried to implement that same strategy with the Knicks even though they had a completely different roster. He isn’t good at adjusting to the talents of his team, which is what a coach should do. Rather, he tries to implement the same system no matter who is wearing the team’s jerseys.
He has a “7 seconds or less” style of offense, or “shoot first ask questions last.” As an example, he had guys like Jared Jeffries, Renaldo Balkman and Josh Harrelson shooting 3s as a member of the Knicks. Newsflash: None of the aforementioned are 3-point shooters. He only knows one way to coach and this current Lakers team may not be suited for his style. Not to mention the fact that he doesn’t implement a defensive mindset. Last year, the Knicks brought in Mike Woodson as their defacto defensive coordinator, while D’Antoni was head coach. How often do you see that in basketball?
Also, I’ve never seen a more coveted coach who continues to fail. He was fired in Phoenix and although he resigned in New York, he would’ve eventually been fired there as well.
From the LA Times…
“We signed Mike D’Antoni to a multi-year deal,” Lakers spokesman John Black said, mentioning the team’s owner and top two executives. “Dr. [Jerry] Buss, Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak were unanimous that Mike D’Antoni was the best coach for the team at this time.”
D’Antoni, 61, coached the New York Knicks last season and the Phoenix Suns before that. He will officially take over the Lakers within a week or two, depending how quickly he recovers from knee-replacement surgery.
The Lakers will introduce their new coach at a news conference as early as Tuesday but more likely later in the week. Bernie Bickerstaff will remain the team’s interim coach for now.
D’Antoni signed a three-year deal for $12 million. The team holds an option for a fourth year.