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Mike D’Antoni Slowly Earning Lakers Fans’ Acceptance, And Rightfully So Reviewed by Momizat on . As soon as Mike D'Antoni was named head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers last November, he was met with hostility. Had the reports of Phil Jackson's almost final As soon as Mike D'Antoni was named head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers last November, he was met with hostility. Had the reports of Phil Jackson's almost final Rating:
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Mike D’Antoni Slowly Earning Lakers Fans’ Acceptance, And Rightfully So

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Mike D'AntoniAs soon as Mike D’Antoni was named head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers last November, he was met with hostility.

Had the reports of Phil Jackson’s almost finalized return not surfaced, perhaps D’Antoni would’ve had a chance with Lakers fans. But this is Lakerland, where we as fans demand the absolute best and even when we have the best, we demand more.

Personally, I was excited to see what D’Antoni could do with his favorite point guard, Steve Nash, in addition to other elite players such as Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, and Pau Gasol.

At the same time, it was Phil Jackson who management had just passed up, and I was pretty disappointed.

I gave D’Antoni a shot, but the persistent misuse of Pau Gasol and the insistence on running pick-and-rolls all the time when there were extremely capable post players present (Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant) was discouraging, and I was one of the many fans not very happy with his coaching. I knew the Lakers hiring another head coach mid-season was simply out of the question, so there was really not much that could be done despite the ever-present “We want Phil!” chants at Staples Center.

However, D’Antoni eventually realized that he couldn’t be successful using some of his patented philosophies, and went the complete opposite way. He changed his tone from banning Pau Gasol from coming near the paint to acknowledging that Pau absolutely must spend time in the post, and the offense has to run through him.

During this process, the Lakers went 28-12 to end the season, and toward the very end of the season Gasol notched two triple-doubles — finally being fully utilized.

At that time, some credit was to be given, but the Lakers got swept in the first round of the playoffs and many felt that the Lakers didn’t live up to expectations, even after taking into consideration the slew of injuries the team sustained.

Following the departure of Dwight Howard, I wrote an article on how it was time for fans to embrace Mike D’Antoni. Essentially, my argument was that even if you don’t agree with D’Antoni being the right coach for the Lakers, we as Lakers fans are all stuck with him because the team is in “money saving mode” this season and won’t pay out an $8 million contact (including this season and next).

Additionally, I explained how if the Lakers underachieved or if they felt a different coach would attract one of the 2014 superstar free agents, they’d certainly consider letting D’Antoni go and pay the $4 million left on his contract at that point. If they overachieved, however, D’Antoni would likely be retained.

Either way, D’Antoni was to be the coach of the Lakers for the foreseeable future and fans had two choices: Either continue to berate him and call for his head, or embrace him and see how far he could take the team following an infusion of some youth and athleticism. I chose to do the latter, and implored others to do the same.

Naturally, my assertion was met with some backlash, but surprisingly more than half of the responses were actually in agreeance with embracing D’Antoni and giving him a second chance.

Since then, I must say that I am quite impressed with what the head coach has done.

For one, he hired Kurt Rambis as the team’s defensive coordinator after the Lakers finished 19th in Defensive Efficiency last season, which showed that he truly recognized the need for a strong defensive team and sought out the necessary help to do so. This certainly eased fans’ minds a bit — including mine — and has helped his credibility overall.

Secondly, players’ receptiveness toward him this season has also given fans comfort.

Last season, it was no secret that Dwight Howard didn’t buy into what D’Antoni’s philosophies and Pau Gasol was unhappy with his role as a stretch four and sometimes being relegated to coming off the bench. Kobe Bryant even had to step in and say “this isn’t working” and that the players had to “get back to the basics” at one point, following the under-utilization of Gasol. Kobe otherwise stood by the coach, and placed the responsibility on himself to right the ship.

Prior to this season, however, D’Antoni being the head coach actually factored into some players’ decisions to come to the Lakers. Jordan Farmar said he “dreamed of being in Mike D’Antoni’s system” for years, and Nick Young, who’s not shy about being a scorer, is a perfect fit for the system and his scoring mentality is embraced by the coaching staff.

Additionally, Pau Gasol seems comfortable and excited about what his role will be this season. D’Antoni recently called Gasol “the best center in the NBA,” perhaps indirectly apologizing for any frustration he may have put the Spaniard through last season. Overall, the rest of the players seem on board with what the head coach is trying to do and are generally excited about the style of play.

Players’ embracing Mike D’Antoni and his system has deadened some of the negativity towards him, but one more factor really impressed me recently.

Mike D’Antoni started both of his seven-footers — Pau Gasol and Chris Kaman — in the third preseason game, and it looked like the two had been playing together for years. The chemistry was natural, but it was a configuration D’Antoni typically doesn’t prefer, as he prefers to have an athletic, stretch four at the power forward position.

However, D’Antoni acknowledged this and was open to the idea of it nonetheless. Per Eric Pincus of the L.A. Times, he had this to say last week following the game:

“The two bigs can play together. I didn’t know that. I’ve not traditionally loved two bigs together, but they have nice chemistry and they both are skilled. We’ll see going forward, but it looked good last night.”

It may have not been something he traditionally likes to do, but it was his choice to give it a chance, and he’s at the very least open to the possibility of it — which is something that may not have even been an option last season as D’Antoni was hesitant to play Gasol and Dwight Howard together at times. Kaman and Gasol are seemingly better complements to each other, and it appears D’Antoni is willing to give it a shot if it translates into efficiency on offense and defense.

Perhaps Mike D’Antoni isn’t the best coach out there. Maybe he’s not even the best coach suited to coach this current Lakers team.

But, he is a man who acknowledged when his coaching philosophy wasn’t working with the team he was given and completely reversed it, sought out the necessary outside help to better his team’s weaknesses, and continually learned from his mistakes. He’s also a coach who’s taken some of what worked last season (high-low action between Pau Gasol and the other big man on the floor) and given it a chance in a season where his current personnel allows him to play more of his style of basketball.

It may only be the preseason, and true success has yet to be seen, but the overall optimism and edge the team has mentally indicates the promise of an exciting season.

There’s no question D’Antoni is still in the “hot seat” and won’t truly have unanimous approval from fans until he at the very least gets his team to “overachieve” this season, or even until he wins a championship for other fans, but he’s certainly doing everything in his power to help his team win as many games as possible. He’s also maintained thick skin in a hostile environment that’s supposed to be considered home court, while attempting expected to fill (no pun intended) the giant shoes set in front of him.

You won’t hear many people admit it, but Mike D’Antoni is slowly earning Lakers fans’ acceptance, even he doesn’t have their full approval just yet.

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About The Author

Suki is a graduate of Cal Poly Pomona and an unsigned contributing writer for Lakers Nation. Follow Suki on Twitter @TheRealSuki and Facebook. You can check out the rest of his work here.

Number of Entries : 178
  • TD

    The reason MD will never get full approval from me is because of the way he treated Gasol last season. Absolutely unforgivable for me. Not just from a personal standpoint but a basketball standpoint. You don’t bench a player of Gasol’s caliber and you certainly don’t try to force a player out of his skill set and then bench him because it’s not working. To me this shows a total lack of ability to read situations and make wise decisions. The other thing about MD is his haphazard substitution patterns. It’s as if he’s not in touch with the players and the moment. I’ve been constantly perplexed by his substitution choices and timing. And finally, this also speaks to another major weakness of his and that is his inability to make adjustments during games. Great coaches make thoughtful, strategic and accurate adjustments and I have yet to see MD master this.

    • hookedonnews

      I don’t think you understand what happened last season with Gasol. MDA was brought in to implement his system. That’s the reason he was hired. Because of his respect for Gasol he started him with Howard even though he normally would not use someone like Gasol at PF. Gasol had bad knees and plantar fasciitis. He wasn’t shooting well, even at the rim. The stats showed that Gasol and Howard played better when they weren’t on the floor together. That’s the reason D’Antoni wanted to bring Gasol off the bench. He plays better in the post. It wasn’t that he was benching him for poor play. He was trying to put him in the best position to succeed. Of course, Gasol didn’t like it. A lot of all that might have been avoided if Gasol had been healthy. As you know, once he was healthy at the end of the season, D’Antoni adjusted his system and played them together in a low-post offense. They were trying to keep Howard in LA, so of course he was the priority. As far as the substitution patterns go, the bench was terrible. They were given plenty of opportunities early in the season, and they couldn’t cut it. The Lakers were in play-off mode for the last few months of the season because they weren’t going to make the play-offs otherwise. The injuries were also a major factor in players playing more minutes than they would ordinarily play. I don’t think you can judge D’Antoni’s coaching by last season. I have been watching his career for a long time. He is a good coach. He was handed an impossible situation with no opportunity for a training camp to assess his players and with his starters together on the floor together for a total of 7 games all season. The fact that they made the playoffs under those circumstances is a minor miracle, and who knows what they could have done if Kobe, Nash & Blake had not gone down. I don’t they he has a problem making adjustments during a game. I haven’t even mentioned having to deal with Dwight Howard who wouldn’t cooperate and really didn’t start playing until after the All-Star break. Coaches can only do so much with a team decimated by injuries with a lousy bench. They’re not magicians.

      • cj

        agreed he got brought into a beat up team with stars butting heads. it took a wile but it was give and take until they found a happy medium late in the season. i believe if kobe does not go down we beat the sas in the first round and we had gs’s number all year so i would have been a gasol wcf lol idk who wins that though.

      • Daryl Peek

        Great perspective man!! Most people don’t pass go and go directly to a poor foundation of blame game.

        • hookedonnews

          Thanks. Media/press do the same thing and should do a better job of getting the facts. They drive a lot of the fan reaction.

          • Daryl Peek

            Exactly

  • Cambo nate

    Good article. I agree he is slowly earning respect from fans, including myself. I’m not gonna lie, when I first heard he was hired I was heated because of what he did in New York and how that ultimately turned out. He was subject to controversy and he did bring that to LA. But with Dwight out and some new young faces, I can definitely see success even without Kobe. I think the hiring of Kurt Rambis really hyped me up because he is so respected in Laker nation. Without a doubt this will be an interesting season, but more exciting than last season for sure. I won’t be surprised if the Lakers shock so called experts and slip into the 6th, 7th, 8th seed this season. GO LAKERS!

    • Suki Thind

      Thank you for the feedback and thank you for reading!

    • cj

      i honestly see the lakers n the 45-55 win range this season. i see them getting the 6th seed going 52-30

      • Suki Thind

        Me too. I’m an eternal optimist, but if healthy, they can do some things.

        • cj

          agree if healthy this is were i see them but if they get injured again or if kobe miss’s to much time they could also be around a 30-40 win team too. then again the flip side is if they are healthy and everyone clicks the right way this team could overachive and win close to 60 and be a contender. this is a weird and very up and down looking team.

          • Suki Thind

            Yeah. If you think about it though, imagine this team 4 years ago. Kobe, Nash, & Gasol. That’s a winning team right there! But, obviously this isn’t 4 years ago. Still, add in a player like Lamar Odom (not LO per se, but someone as talented in the current day) and I really like our team.

          • cj

            imo it all depends on health for this team. if health i could see them in the finals if not i could se them getting the 5th pick in the draft.

  • LakersHeatBeef

    Only time will tell.MDA has a lot riding on the next season.I think he will be gone when Nash leaves.They both have 2 years left,no way will they renew MDA after he is up IMO.

    • cj

      depends on if he wins a title this year or next(if hes here next year)

  • bert

    Have you seen their defense lately, or lack thereof? That has to greatly improve if they’re going anywhere, but to the 12th maybe lower. The other teams out there are immensely improved. Good luck, coach ‘D’.

    The same goes for Rambis, one of my all time favorite players, but his job now is to improve the defense. If he doesn’t succeed, it will reflect not only on him, but his coach, AKA no D, ‘D’ and further cement the coaches legacy as having good offense, but no defense. Translation: no rings for you, Kobe. Good luck, Superman.

    • cj

      do u watch the lakers games? im going to say no because if u did u would know they have played really good d all preseason. its the 3rd stringers that are killing us.

  • Jim213

    Still going by what I mentioned in the previous article. Good follow up, but winning and exceeding expectations (best thing for franchise) is the name of the game as it’ll also shut those who criticize which includes myself to an extent.

    • Suki Thind

      Definitely. I’m still not 100% in approval, but I’ve accepted it.
      Nonetheless, I think he has the pieces on this team that fit his style.
      Honestly, if you look back at some of the talent he had previously, he
      was able to overachieve by using the greatness of Steve Nash. It’ll be
      interesting to see what happens this season, but I think it’ll be filled
      with much more excitement and positivity this season — even if we
      don’t even make the playoffs! Haha, I think we’ll get there, though. If
      all else fails, management will dump him at the end of the season and
      get a coach that’ll appeal to the “big name” free agents.

      • Jim213

        Agree, but they should’ve gone after Lil Nate, then we’d possibly be talking about being in the bottom mix of contenders as long as KB24 stayed healthy and returned to his usual self by March. With the acquisitions that include Farmar, Kaman, S Williams, X Henry, and others have helped to increase overall depth.

        • Suki Thind

          I think Young & Henry can definitely provide the scoring that Lil Nate could. Too many of those guys on one second unit and you lose ball movement. Haha. But in all honesty, yeah we lost a great defender and post presence in Dwight Howard, but we gained a bench and some youth, which we desperately needed. Previously, we were getting talent in the form of older veterans who were looking for rings (Jamison, Nash). Now, we’ve got some guys who are younger, but kind of hit a rough patch and are looking to rejuvenate their careers (Young, Johnson). We’re still missing some pieces, but I’m almost certain Mitch is going to make a trade or two throughout the course of the year; minor trades, but hopefully ones that fill some gaps. Should be an interesting year.

          • Jim213

            Sure they’d be able to score but the team requires a player that will step up and fill some big shoes. Nate played good during the playoffs given D Rose’s absence and would’ve held the fort down IMO but the advantage would’ve come come playoff time with both on the court. .

          • Suki Thind

            You’re right. Nate definitely helped carry that squad.

      • hookedonnews

        I don’t know why D’Antoni would not appeal to the big name free agents with the possible exception of Carmelo Anthony. D’Antoni is well-liked and respected. He has worked with a lot of these guys at the Olympics. I don’t think D’Antoni should be dumped at the end of the season unless they are just terrible. This is a team with a bunch of new players who aren’t exactly All-Stars. Their big 3 are all coming off major injuries, and no one knows how Kobe is going to play when he returns. Considering what MDA has been able to do over his career, I think he’ll be successful in LA, but these things don’t happen overnight. It takes time to build a team. Bringing in someone new with a new system would just mean starting all over again from scratch. I don’t think that would be a good idea unless this season is a disaster, and D’Antoni is responsible for that.

        • Suki Thind

          That’s true. I think if they overachieve, he’ll definitely be here. I think they’ll talk with different free agents and kind of gauge what they want in coaching. If they underachieve, though, then I think he may be gone.

          • hookedonnews

            I don’t think coaches should be hired or fired because of a player’s opinion. Mitch Kupchak has indicated more than once that the Lakers aren’t going to do that, and I think they proved that last season with Dwight Howard. I don’t think the FO wants another coach. Unless there are serious problems this year, I think his job is safe. As I said, most players like MDA, and I don’t see anyone out there who’s that much of an upgrade. On the other hand, I could not have foreseen Doc Rivers leaving Boston, so anything is possible.

          • Suki Thind

            I love that all the players generally like D’Antoni now. Even Pau, who was obviously upset about last season, is happy to be back in his natural position. I’m also glad that the Lakers didn’t bow to Howard, because maybe he would’ve stayed, but he would’ve caused problems down the line. Looking back, we dodged a bullet and saw his true colors this season instead of later on when we would’ve had a max contract to deal with. Now, if that player is LeBron James, though, you’d better believe Mitch is going to fire whoever it is. lol…but LeBron isn’t coming, so I don’t see Mitch making a decision solely based on the idea of bringing in a player who might be more enticed by another coach.

          • hookedonnews

            I agree 100% about Howard.

  • Jack

    Lmao..says who?!

  • hookedonnews

    The players like D’Antoni and his system. Fans need to get on board if they haven’t already. The team needs positive energy from the fans. Now that the dream of getting Phil Jackson back is over, there is no reason for the fans not to give MDA a chance.

    • Suki Thind

      Exactly. I wrote an article last season when we were really in a dark spot on how the Lakers needed that unconditional support from their fans more than ever. Energy is often a key in winning games, which is why teams usually win more at home. Similarly, home teams with loud crowds have an added benefit. Unfortunately, this is Hollywood and the crowd at Staples Center rarely gets loud and if they do, it’s only after the Lakers have given them something to cheer about. In any other arena, the home crowd hypes the team up first. Oh well.

      • Suki Thind

        But, you are correct. Phil is not coming back, and we’re stuck with D’Antoni whether you like it or not, so there’s only two options: Either keep hating on the man, or support him and see how far we can go. I’m choosing the latter!

      • hookedonnews

        Agree. OKC has a real advantage at home. Would like to see Lakers fan give the team that kind of support. Fans should be motivated by the lack of respect the team is getting and by Kobe’s return.

        • cj

          that is up to the lakers to change the atmosphere in staples. every other arena gets the crowed worked up. look at heat home games they have the 2 min thing they do and every time a player hits a three the pa announcer says the players name like the start of the game. the lakers are still in the past when it comes to how the announcer interacts with the people in the stands,

          • Suki Thind

            Phil actually instilled fans with some confidence in D’Antoni recently. He’s not coming back, as you said, and so it’s time to embrace D’Antoni as the players have. As for them not firing D’Antoni to please Howard? They should have gone with Phil in the first place — I think most will agree with that — and Dwight Howard probably would have stayed. Having said that, he still would have not been happy in the long run, and we’d have been stuck with an unhappy “superstar” with a max contract. Looking back at it all, yeah, D’Antoni was one reason Dwight left, but it’s better he left sooner than later because we saw his true colors in the first season rather than the 2nd or 3rd. Essentially, it worked out because we dodged a huge bullet. We just have to revamp next season and get back at it!

          • Erad

            Yeah, thank God he’s gone. Now we can move onto Chris Kaman!

          • hookedonnews

            At least Chris Kaman can make a FT and is willing to be a team player and play within the offense. He’s also a much better shooter at the rim or from mid-range. Howard is a great defensive player and rebounder when he wants to be, but he has proven that he’s an immature diva who can’t control himself on the court and is a liability because of his FT shooting. He was also a problem in the locker room, and everyone seems a lot happier this season with him gone. Sometimes talent isn’t enough.

        • Anomaly37

          They get a lack of respect because of the piece of shit they’ve got coaching them and because their best player is 35 and coming off MAJOR knee injury. Why exactly should this be a vaunted or talked about team?

          It fucking shouldnt. Period. And it’s sad because the Lakers only needed to A) fire D’Antoni with Mike Brown off the books B) show a willingness to invest in Dwight beyond stupid ass billboard signs.

          If all of that failed then tank it. This would have pushed us closer to a ring or the lottery, the only two destinations worth a shit. Instead we’ve got a coach no one wants, players no one wants and injured, past their prime legends.

          Whoop-dee-do lets throw D’Antoni a fucking parade once he gets us to 40 wins. You fucking people are the new clipper fans. You disgust me.

          • hookedonnews

            Man, you need to calm down. First of all, their best player is coming off an Achilles injury, not a knee injury unless you believe that Pau Gasol is their best player. Did I say that they should be projected to win the Western Conference or that Kobe should be rated #1 when he’s coming off a serious injury? Mike Brown is not completely off the books. The Lakers showed a great willingness to invest in Dwight Howard. However, they weren’t going to fire their coach to please him (Orlando did that & he left anyway) and they weren’t going to amnesty Kobe Bryant. Kobe is the primary reason he left, and there would have been hell to pay if they had chosen Dwight Howard over Kobe Bryant. Wasn’t going to happen. We’ve got the coach the FO wants, and plenty of fans are beginning to realize that D’Antoni is a good coach. They players are on board with him and his system. I don’t know what coach you want, but if you’re pining for Phil, he’s not going to coach again. You seem to believe that the Lakers win a championship every year. Teams have to rebuild from time to time. Steve Nash, Gasol, and Kobe may be past their prime, but they’re still great players, and they’re not going to tank a season. A lottery pick doesn’t guarantee you a championship (ask the Trailblazers). The new players show some promise. It’s not all gloom and doom, and we’re not going to celebrate a 40 win season. I do believe the Lakers will be better than ESPN, etc. predict, and there are not 24 players better than Kobe Bryant. That doesn’t mean I’m an idiot and don’t realize that it’s not going to be a cakewalk.

          • Erad

            Well I see your Portland Trailblazers and raise you the Oklahoma City Thunder. Not saying the next KD is in the draft but going about this the Detroit Pistons route and pretending our team is a title contender well past its prime gets us nowhere.

            Me (and every other Laker fan probably including you) pined for Phil but that’s beyond the point. How can you have faith in a guy that immediately burns bridges with his best players everywhere he goes? How can you have faith in a guy who didnt even prioritize keeping Dwight involved on a contract year?

            Okay so you don’t win the championship every year, but shit at least the Celtics knew when to call it quits.

            Honestly I never advocated amnestying Kobe (UNLESS we could make a strong push for CP3 then bring Kobe back the following year, healthier anyway) but what is there to gain from this season?

            There certainly aren’t 24 current players better than Kobe when he’s healthy. Shit there aren’t that many ahead of him all-time but who the hell knows where he’ll be when he gets back?

            No one. Not me, not you and probably not even him.

            So I ask again: what is there to gain? 50 wins? Maybe a six game series in the playoffs? Weigh that with a pile of shit in the other hand and tell me which is heavier.

            Even if you don’t strikeout in the draft and/or this Wiggins kid doesn’t live to the hype and turns out to be not worth the effort, draft picks are assets. And the Lakers need as many of those as they can get their hands on.

          • hookedonnews

            First of all, I reject your characterizations of MDA. He did everything he could to keep Dwight in LA, even catering to his desire to play with his back to the basket rather than running pick and rolls. If he didn’t get the basketball enough you can lay some of the blame on Kobe, but some of it goes to Howard who just wasn’t getting open. They tried to get him the ball and more often than not it was stripped or he took a bad shot (or was fouled and you know about the FT shooting from hell). D’Antoni hasn’t burned bridges with his best players. He certainly didn’t do that in Phoenix.Maybe you think he mistreated Pau, but that’s a misreading of what happened and Pau has no problem with him. Yes, he had a problem with Carmelo Anthony, but Anthony was the source of that problem not MDA. I guess you think coaches should let divas like Melo run the team. All that is history, and the important thing is that the Lakers players like him and his system. He’s a good coach and no one who knows the NBA would say otherwise. As far as tanking in order to get a high draft pick goes–do you really think that Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, and Pau Gasol would agree to that? Kobe & Nash are at the end of their careers, and they aren’t going to lay down for anybody. Gasol is in a contract year and needs a good season. D’Antoni is playing to keep his job, and the rest of the players came to LA to win not see how many games they could lose. Teams like the Lakers don’t tank. Maybe you think they should, but for the reasons I’ve already given you it’s just not going to happen. No one knows what kind of team we’re going to have. D’Antoni has a history of making mediocre players look good, and he’s very good at working with young players. There is more than one way to build a team. We’ll just have to hope that the FO will be able to add some players through free agency. I agree that no one knows how Kobe is going to play when he returns. I wouldn’t bet against him. I just think ranking him that low was disrespectful to someone like him. Better to rank him a little higher than he should be than a ranking like that. It’s no more than a guess anyway.

          • Erad

            I’ll be honest, a lot of what you said resonated outside of when you started talking about D’Antoni’s player issues. You can say their fallout was Melo’s fault and to some extent it probably was but

            1) who’s still in New York? This is a star driven league, much more so than say, the NFL. Carmelo doesn’t really put you in contention but he puts you in the conversation. As a coach its your job to find some middle ground and keep your best players engaged.

            2) he doesn’t have the track record or clout for a lot of the what he says and does.

            With the Lakers, the pick and roll thing was more a result of Dwight’s health and unwillingness to absorb contact with a bum shoulder, back, etc. He’ll probably get right back to setting them this year.

            Even though D’Antoni relented on pick and rolls it never seemed like a top priority of his to make sure Dwight didnt turn into an after thought on defense. We SUCKED at getting him the ball, particularly in those Miami games where he should have been like a bull in a china shop.

            So if you’re Dwight do you choose the coach who is far more invested in guard and perimeter play than anywhere else on the floor or do you go play for the Hall of Fame center who’s going to make you one of the featured points of his offense?

            See, Dwight’s an asshole but Laker fans can’t see past that so they say dumb shit like “I’m glad he’s gone” or imply that we’re better of with Kaman but when Dwight gets healthy and starts winning games by the dozens people will start to realize how fucking awful this off-season has been.

          • hookedonnews

            Howard was getting more contact camped out in the post with 3 people all over him than he would have had on pick and rolls. As I said, MDA made it plain that it was a priority to get Howard the ball, but trying to force it in there when he was surrounded hardly ever worked out that well. There is also the story that Howard had gotten criticism from Shaq about his play in the post, and that’s why he wanted to switch from pick and roll to more traditional post play. Regardless of all that, Kobe was the primary reason that Howard left, not D’Antoni. He didn’t like playing with Kobe. He asked them to amnesty him. When Kobe said he was going to play another 2 or 3 years I knew Howard wasn’t going to stay with the Lakers. (MWP has also said the same thing.) He wanted to be in a city where he was “the man.” He knew that would never happen in LA as long as Kobe was there. Plus when they were trying to get Howard to stay, Kobe’s “listen and learn from me” speech wasn’t helpful. I wanted Howard to stay, but unless he could have changed his mindset he would have been a distraction on the court and in the locker room. Bottom line: it was him or Kobe, and in LA it’s always going to be Kobe.

          • Erad

            Oh and last thing: there was no shot Dwight was committing to five years of coaching Pringles. None.

            Yeah there’s a risk that you fire him and Dwight walks leaving some egg on your face. The alternative is he definitely leaves egg on your face and your left with the third best coach in the Pacific Division.

  • dantonifan

    you dantoni supporters are such losers like your boy jim buss jr. how can you pass up on phil jackson the best coach in professional basketball history? you deserve this mediocre season you’re about to have.

    PLAYOFF RECORD

    dantoni 26-44 .441 NO RINGS YOU LOSERS

    jackson 229-104 11 rings

    nuff said

    • hookedonnews

      It’s time to stop riding that horse. Phil has retired and isn’t going to coach again. D’Antoni is the coach. No reason not to support him. The players do. No other coach available who has rings that I’m aware of. Time to move on. The players and fans don’t deserve a mediocre season because you’re still bitter about Jackson not being hired.

  • just a fan posting his opinion

    This is an amazing article. to be honest, i was actually one of those fans who supported D’antoni through the first few months of being in charge of the Lakers. I had faith that in his system, the lakers were going to play well, and as a fan, I believe to respect and support everybody on the team. Well at first they did, but at one point, when he sat out Pau, played only 7 players in a game and other what nots, i have truly lost all respect for him. But approaching the playoffs, he adjusted his coaching to suit the team, which regains some respect. It is just awesome to see what D’antoni had done over the off season, hiring Kurt Rambis, getting Young, and getting a bit younger. The loss of Dwight will actually hurt a bit, but i can see Kurt Rambis getting the best defense out of every player. This season will be a very interesting one. I can actually see the Lakers going to the top 5 in the western conf, especially with kobe going back, gasol and kaman playing well togther, and that most players in Lakers are actually happy in the system. LETS GO LAKERS!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Suki Thind

      Thank you! I think I agree with everything you said here as I felt/feel the same way. I’ve already seen much better TEAM defense than last season. Nash & Kaman are over there stripping people and getting blocks, etc. That’s already something to cheer about! Haha

      • cj

        agreed the lakers could be 5-1 or 6-0 easy. they have had the lead at half in almost every game and then they start playing guys who wont get pt and we lose the game. im looking foward to the clipper game i fully believe we might pull off an upset day 1.

  • 3339

    I just don’t think hes the right coach to get us back to the championship level.

    • STFU3339

      STFU, u & Charlie Murphy d biggest cry babies here U trollz.

  • ra

    MDA’s system worked best with not only Nash in his prime, but ‘better than average’ or ‘exceptional’ players like the Matrix, Stat, Leandro Barbosa (at the time, the fastest NBA player), etc. to name a few. It was ‘run & gun’ in its prime.

    The Lakers are definitely not that team. NY was not that team. MDA’s system peaked in those years. Unless this team can thrive from optimizing use of players’ specific talents, it won’t be the same, and won’t even come close.

    If it doesn’t come close, then it will rely heavily on defense. The Suns MO was ‘outscore the opponent’, and don’t worry about defense. Once the opposing team scores, set up position while that team is celebrating its score, and dash down the court and score. That stunned many teams, but it didn’t work in the 1/2 court set characteristic of playoffs.

    MDA has a post up player (maybe a couple), and so the ‘run & gun’ doesn’t work in this case. It will rely ‘heavily’ on defense, and if that doesn’t shape up, look for an average season. MDA’s offense will also rely on Nash’s ability to ‘enhance’ players’ specific abilities. Even if he (Nash) is not on the court, as long as he’s in every game, he will bring out the ‘best’ in the players. We have to count on that.

    As for Phil, his style of coaching relies on a specific team architecture (90s Bulls, 2000+ Lakers, 2008+ Lakers). Last year’s team had that, this year’s team doesn’t. Also, Phil was coaching ‘injured’, and definitely couldn’t sustain the year long drain (travel, etc.). Phil would have to teach these young-uns from scratch, and that’s not his style. His system thrives off veterans, or at least players with a little more than few years experience.

    Too late for Phil and the Lakers now. MDA has a chance, but there are plenty of other coaches who can come in to the Lakers. I was even hoping that Doc Rivers would have had a chance to get the Lakers into shape, but that ship has passed too.

    Anyway, no choice but to see how MDA plays out this year.

  • Anomaly37

    The entire premise of this article is shit. D’Antoni had about as much to do with that 28-12 around as I did. Was anyone watching Kobe go the fuck off last year? Anyone remember him carrying the team until his legs have out?

    That was brilliant coaching now?

    The same idiot who gave MWP more field goal attempts than Dwight Howard is a guy we should embrace? The guy who alienates key players everywhere?

    He’s AT LEAST half the reason Dwight’s gone now. And look yes Dwight is an asshole, but he should have been our asshole, our asset. And because his piece of shit coach couldn’t get him the ball, nor even seem particularly invested in trying to do so Dwight walked.

    We’ve got the third best coach in the Pacific Division and you want to e,brace that? There’s looking for the silver lining and then there’s pissing in someone’s face and forecasting rain. You Lakers fans are content with ANYTHING nowadays huh?

    Chris Kaman? Awesome! NBA Finals here we come! This roster is a car made up of sticks, band aids and duct tape. The fact that D’Antoni’s driving it should not make anyone any happier.

    Mike D’Antoni is the other half of Mike Brown. Still a one trick pony with no idea of how to manage a championship team, but hey he encourages people to shoot so, awesome.

  • Lakers4Life

    Yeah, Dumbtoni may have earned acceptance from like 4-5 fans of the minority, but fact remains that the remaining millions of fans including myself simply want that clown out of Lakerland. We want Phil for teh win!!!

  • Jerard Wright

    Of course two bigs can play together in the post if they are fundamentally sound, Can anyone say McHale and Parish of the Boston Celtics? Or even as recent Lakers history with Odom and Gasol and back to 2004 when Karl Malone and Shaq complemented each other in the post.

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