In a shocking move, the Los Angeles Lakers have their new head coach and it is not Phil Jackson.
Former Knicks’ head coach Mike D’Antoni shockingly was named as Mike Brown’s successor Monday morning, signing a three-year, $12 million deal, with an option for a fourth year.
The announcement of D’Antoni not only leaves Lakerland stunned, but Jackson as well.
Jackson’s triangle offense was seen as a benefit to Bryant and Pau Gasol, but not as conducive to the rest of the players on the roster — namely point guard Steve Nash and center Dwight Howard. Another strike against the triangle was the fact that this Lakers team struggled to pick up the similarly complicated Princeton-style offense being instituted by Brown.
However, the problem with the Lakers hasn’t been on the offensive end, but on the defensive end of the floor- not exactly D’Antoni’s strength as a coach.
But he will do a good job in Lakerland. Once the Lakers get healthy, they should excel in D’Antoni’s fast-paced and pick-and-roll style attack.
The biggest problem Los Angeles has the lack of team speed up-and-down the roster. That could prove to be a problem, but it should be good for point guard Steve Nash.
D’Antoni spent five seasons coaching Nash in Phoenix. Nash won two MVP awards while running D’Antoni’s signature up-tempo offense, and they won at least 54 games in each of D’Antoni’s last four seasons. That of course was Nash in his prime, but it should be a good reunion for both parties.
He had knee surgery at the beginning of November and has not yet been cleared to travel and it could be a couple of days still before D’Antoni can travel to LA.
There is a possibility that Bernie Bickerstaff will remain interim head coach even after D’Antoni’s introductory news conference, according to a source, if D’Antoni isn’t feeling physically able to coach games just yet.
But D’Antoni, who got run out of the Big Apple by Carmelo Anthony, deserved another coaching opportunity.
We will see if he can handle the ego of Kobe Bryant, who has been a long-time fan of D’Antoni, and Dwight Howard, who has been a long-time fan of himself, any better than he handled the ‘Melo situation.
Just like there was in New York, there will be immediate pressure to win in Los Angeles.
D’Antoni will have his work cut out for him.
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