Mike D'Antoni is the coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. It began with the sudden firing of Mike Brown, and the reality is just beginning to sink in. However, analysis waits for no man (or woman), so here's a sampler platter of thoughts regarding D'Antoni's hiring. Save a jalapeno popper for me is all I ask.
Coach Nick's Mike D'Antoni Breakdown
Coach Nick of BBallbreakdown.com takes to his YouTube breakdown series and takes a look at the D'Antoni coached New York Knicks and applies the same sets to how they can work for the Lakers. This is a great video that shows how Mike D'Antoni uses different screens to create offense both on-ball and off-ball. Also, it points out a fear amongst Lakers fans-- Amar'e standing in the corner doing nothing. Pau Gasol being marginalized to hanging out with fans while the rest of the Lakers work the ball around is concerning. Regardless, it's clear an offense that is built around D'Antoni's philosophies will use a variety of screen set-ups to find the most effective shot. Video embedded below, and be sure to check his YouTube channel that has a -ton- of great content
Darius Soriano Has a Few Questions, Folks
And his questions should be shared by the lot of us. The Phil Jackson angle can be discussed till our fingers are bruised from typing, but all that matters going forward is that Mike D'Antoni is the coach and the one calling the shots. His vision is the vision to be shared by all. There are plenty of questions about the new look new look Lakers (see what I did there?), and Darius undoubtedly hits three that immediately come to mind. One that I personally share at the top of my list is the following
3. How will spacing issues be accounted for? The Lakers aren’t a great shooting team. Their best shooter is Nash but the presumption is that in this offense he’ll have the ball much more than he did in Mike Brown’s (or what Phil Jackson’s Triangle) offense. This fact will sure affect spacing because if Nash has the ball more, the other four players are spacing the floor for him rather than him contributing to the spacing because he’s working off the ball.
You can't spell Mike D'Antoni without Steve Nash
OK, well you can, but the two will be linked forever similarly to Jerry Sloan and John Stockton. When the Lakers acquired Steve Nash for the Lamar Odom TPE it was a glorious day for fans of the organization. Finally, a true point guard had been delivered. Then came the Dwight Howard, the cherry on top. Or, perhaps the frosting, with Nash as the cake itself. The Princeton offense was always a curious fit for Steve Nash, though Mike Brown made it a point to say that Nash was the "quarterback" and that he would have a pick and roll opportunity every time down the floor. But it never appeared that way as Nash seemed to grudgingly run the Princeton sets, and here we are. He's back with the coach that was by his side during his MVP years. There's the cherry. Sam Amick of USAToday.com transcribed what Steve Nash had to say about being reunited with Mike D'Antoni
"Yeah, I think he'll adapt. I think that's one of Mike's strengths, is that he's a thinker and that he's willing to adapt. He's great in-game, and I think he's also great going back and looking over a game, looking over a month and saying, 'Look, I think this will help our team,' and shifting toward something that suits the parts. That's just one of the things that I think he's terrific at and a strength of his. You know, I'm sure he'll adjust to the group. I'm sure there will be a lot of familiarity with the old Mike teams, but at the same time we'll adjust somewhere to the natural place where this team is going to succeed."
Get all of the quotes over here.
The Coach is Here
Thursday afternoon Mike D'Antoni held his introductory press conference with the media and had plenty to say. Our partners over at LakersNation.com chopped up the highlights of the presser. D'Antoni addressed a bevy of topics, but a standout is his proclamation that the Lakers should be scoring 110 to 115 points a game or "we need to talk". Another gem, D'Antoni dismisses the idea of running seven seconds or less with his new team by saying, "We just gotta get one good shot in that 24 seconds, and that's what we'll do." Mike D'Antoni worked the room through the duration of his conference which undoubtedly instilled confidence in people still "mourning" passing on Phil Jackson. All that's left now is to play the game. Video below, and be sure to check both LakersNation.com and their YouTube channel for the media coverage they provide.
Not Only is the Coach Here, but He's The Right Guy
Finally, after the Phil Jackson speculation had become what felt like a certainty, it came out that the Lakers front office felt Mike D'Antoni was a better fit for their team, both now and long term. It's extremely difficult to argue against a coach like Jackson who is widely considered the greatest NBA coach of all time, however, is that what this squad needed? Another systematic, slow, offense like the Triangle? We'll never know if Phil would have made it work but now a new journey begins. Mike D'Antoni isn't just replacing Mike Brown, but the shadow of Phil Jackson. The fans looked up and shouted "we want Phil" and the front office looked down and whispered, "no". Was it the right choice? Ian Thomsen of SI.com thinks so.
But Jackson's style is to slow the game and execute in the half court. I'm not daring to predict that he couldn't have won another championship for the Lakers with that approach. (Phil Jackson, like Chuck Norris, can accomplish anything.) What is obvious, however, is that the league is moving to a faster pace than the Lakers played during the final years under Jackson.
Get the full read here.
Still, He's Also the Guy That Sabotaged Our Podcast
Saturday, 1 P.M., we began recording Silver Screen & Roll Podcast #4. As we chatted about the firing of Mike Brown the news continued to roll in and was punctuated by an L.A. Times article that had Phil Jackson pegged as a "95%" certainty. So, we ran with it, with a release slated for Monday morning. You know, the same morning that the world awoke to with news that Mike D'Antoni was the chosen one. So, Emile, Blake, and I took to the podcast to record episode 4.5 and gave our thoughts on hiring Mike D'Antoni. Full cast below.