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NBA Los Angeles Lakers

Los Angeles Lakers Hire Mike D’Antoni Over Phil Jackson

Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

The Los Angeles Lakers have found their new head coach. Instead of going with arguably the greatest coach of all time, Phil Jackson, the Lakers have signed former New York Knicks and Phoenix Suns head coach Mike D’Antoni.

So, the Lakers went from a defensive minded coach to the complete opposite end of the spectrum. If there is one thing you can say about D’Antoni’s teams, it is that they could score. Winning is a different discussion.

Something tells me Jackson wanted nothing to do with the job, considering D’Antoni is a serious downgrade. He had some success with the Suns, getting to the Western Conference Finals in the 2005-2006 season and losing to the Dallas Mavericks, but never sniffed a championship otherwise. The move is interesting because it reunites D’Antoni with long time Suns point guard Steve Nash, who won two MVPs while running the point with D’Antoni.

He was a failed experiment in New York, where he compiled a 121-167 record in three plus seasons. It will be interesting to see how he works with Kobe Bryant, who has pretty much run the triangle offense his entire career. D’Antoni’s offense is predicated on getting quick shots, pushing the pace and maximizing opportunities. Though this approach has not produced championships in the past, D’Antoni also never had a defender of Dwight Howard‘s caliber.

The Black Mamba also played with Team USA, where D’Antoni was an assistant the past two Olympics. One has to wonder if Bryant signed off on this move.

It will be interesting to see what D’Antoni does with this group, who many pegged to be the favorites in the Western Conference. Just five games into the season, they fired Mike Brown and were looking for new direction. You know D’Antoni is going to get this team to put up points, but can the players make up for the lack of defensive emphasis? I’m thinking yes.

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