Here’s another option at which Lakers fans are licking their chops. Everyone has seen what D’Antoni did for Steve Nash and the Phoenix Suns, and how his Phoenix teams put the Lakers out in two consecutive playoffs (2006 and 2007).
D’Antoni would possibly be the best fit for Steve Nash and Dwight Howard offensively, but what about defensively?
Kobe Bryant clearly respects D’Antoni as he played for him during the Beijing and London Olympics where D’Antoni was an assistant coach. Not to mention that D’Antoni was Bryant’s favorite player when he was growing up in Italy (he used to wear #8, which Bryant has said is one reason he used to wear #8 early in his career).
It would be hard to imagine these aging Lakers running a “7 seconds or less” style of offense, but D’Antoni would likely figure out a way to make it all work. I think Kobe would be intrigued at any offensive system he decides to implement.
Additionally, I feel that D’Antoni would be the best candidate to get the bench scoring efficiently and productively with his run-and-gun style. Players such as Steve Blake, Jodie Meeks, and Devin Ebanks would do exceptionally well, in my opinion, and Antawn Jamison would surely perform better than he is now.
His defense, however, would still have to be proven, but if he chooses a solid defensive minded assistant coach, that could solve the problem. Nate McMillan, maybe? I actually like that idea since both were assistant coaches at the Beijing and London Olympics and could harmoniously co-exist.
At 61 years of age, D’Antoni is as experienced as he’s going to get and still has years left in him as a head coach.
Notables as Head Coach:
- Win-Loss Totals: 388-339
- Win-Loss Percentage: .533
- Championships: 0
Alternatively, the Lakers could decide to somewhat gamble with Brian Shaw. Shaw obviously has the respect of Kobe Bryant, and he would bring the Triangle Offense back to Los Angeles. Although Shaw isn’t proven as a head coach, Lakers management is very familiar with him. Should they decide that the Triangle is best for the Lakers but cannot convince Phil Jackson to return, Shaw could be their man.
Obviously, Shaw is currently under contract with the Indiana Pacers as an “Associate Coach,” so he would likely have to be released somehow. I wouldn’t see that as much of a problem because teams often allow assistant coaches to interview with other teams while still under contract because they understand how hard it is to land an NBA head coaching gig.
Although they would hate to lose an assistant coach, no one would blame him for wanting to take a job of a lifetime.
At 46 years of age, Shaw isn’t much older than Mike Brown, but if the Lakers decide they want to run the Triangle now and even after Kobe retires, Shaw would definitely be the best candidate.
Notables as Head Coach:
- Win-Loss Totals: N/A
- Win-Loss Percentage: N/A
- Championships: N/A (2 as assistant to Phil Jackson)
Next Page: The Final Thought