The Los Angeles Lakers are looking forward to the coaching debut of Mike D’Antoni, but the players are still talking about legendary coach Phil Jackson. Jackson seemed to be the favorite to fill the coaching vacancy left by Mike Brown, but it was D’Antoni that got the final call.
“The thing about Phil and [Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich] and great coaches is they make the role players play very well,” he said. “Guys like myself, Shaq, MJ, you know, Pippen, our numbers are always going to be excellent no matter who you put us with. That’s just what we do.
“Them instilling confidence in the rest of the group and putting them in a position to be successful, allowing them to play in the fourth quarter when they blow a lead, and letting them develop, those are the things that make a great coach.”
The Los Angeles Lakers have the most talented team in the NBA and the starting five is one that can compete with almost any team. From Kobe Bryant to Dwight Howard, the Lakers are very skillful at every position, but their bench is a different story.
As of this point, the bench players have not lived up to expectations and the Lakers often lose leads when the reserves are on the court. The coaching staff cannot trust the second unit to execute efficiently and often times the coaches have to rely on the starters to bail out the substitutes.
The Lakers made two key off-season signing this summer to improve the bench: Antawn Jamison and Jodie Meeks, but they have struggled thus far in the season. If Los Angeles wants to succeed with Mike D’Antoni running the sidelines, the reserves must perform at a high level.