In what may be a bit of a bittersweet anniversary, it was on this day, exactly one year ago, that the Lakers hired Mike D’Antoni to be their head coach. D’Antoni signed a four year deal worth $12 million.
The move was met with a wave of backlash as most Laker fans believed that the team was set to hire former coach Phil Jackson, who had led the Lakers to five championships, and was believed to be the preferred choice of both Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard. Even Jeanie Buss wrote about how the decision shocked her in her recent book.
The results on D’Antoni have been mixed to this point. He went 40-32 last season, but the Lakers did finish the season 28-12 despite losing a number of key players to injuries including Pau Gasol, Steve Blake, Jordan Hill, and, of course, Kobe Bryant.
This season, with an almost brand new roster, the Lakers have started 3-5 and are averaging only 97.3 points while giving up 106.5 points. Only the Sixers and Wizards are giving up more points per game this year and the Lakers’ negative 9.2 point differential is second worse in the league to the Utah Jazz.
Even with the struggles D’Antoni has encountered throughout his first full year as head coach of the Lakers, he has still maintained a winning record despite an enormous number of games lost to injuries. Many others would have used this as an excuse but D’Antoni just keeps on looking for ways to make things right, and that is an accomplishment in itself.
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