In a move that shellshocked the NBA universe, the Los Angeles Lakers signed former Suns and Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni to a three-year deal with a team option for a fourth year. All this happened before receiving a response from the Zen Master himself.
The question remains: how could Lakers management basically say no thanks to a coach that won 11 championships in a 20-year coaching career? Could it be money? Could it be the want of too much control? Could it be that he was considered a bandwagoner in their eyes, because Dwight Howard and Steve Nash are in place? Everything is pure speculation at this point.
One thing is for certain: all is not well with the fan base in La-La Land.
From browsing through tweets on Twitter to skimming through comments on the NBA pages via Facebook, fans wonder why management would fire a one-dimensional coach just to hire another. It’s bamboozling to say the least.
D’Antoni has had some great regular season records, while running an up-tempo offense, but a coached team led by him has never reached the NBA Finals, and it’s not like he hasn’t had talent either. But most say it’s a good move because he is being reunited with Nash, a time when D’Antoni had has his most success.
Here’s the thing: can Laker fans be wrong for being skeptical? To spur a coach who practically gives them a 50 percent chance of winning an NBA title every season in favor of just another coach who hasn’t proven himself as a championship winning head coach?
This is a coach who does not care about defense. That’s the only red flag that needs to be raised there. Dating back to the 1980s, about two-thirds of the teams that win championships, have been top ten in defense. It just can’t be dismissed like he continues to do.
Offensively, they’ll be fine. Up-tempo should be effective. Howard likes to run, Nash likes to run, Pau Gasol probably won’t mind it, but Kobe Bryant….he’s the X-Factor in this.
Regardless of the addition, Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder fans will be breathing a little easier.
To those who think the Lakers have ruined a rare golden opportunity, make no mistake about it, who’s to say D’Antoni doesn’t get canned in the future? The NBA hasn’t heard the last of Phil Jackson.
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