“It’s not a question of if we make the playoffs. We will.” Kobe Bryant told Sports Illustrated.
However, Bryant’s coach, Mike D’Antoni does not share the same optimist opinion about the Los Angeles Lakers chances of making the playoffs.
After Bryant ensured Sports Illustrated that the Lakers would indeed make the playoffs, D’Antoni told ESPN, “I’m not a guarantee kind of guy, but I’ll let him do the talking since he’s got to do the walking. Kobe’s good enough. I’m with him all the way.”
D’Antoni continued with his less than confident comments.
During an injury update on Pau Gasol with the Orange County Register’s Kevin Ding, D’Antoni told Ding, “By the time he comes back,” D’Antoni said of the power forward who is currently sitting out with a torn plantar fascia in his right foot, “we’ll be in or out.”
It seems as if D’Antoni has never seen a sports movie. His job rests on his ability to bring the Lakers to the playoffs. Even if he isn’t sure that the Lakers will make the playoffs, there is no need to tell everyone. Especially, since he’s the coach.
Even if everyone didn’t know that Phil Jackson was the runner up for the job, D’Antoni walked into one of the toughest coaching jobs in sports. Bryant has somewhat risked his legacy with his statement. The Lakers were confident enough to put up over $100 million dollars. D’Antoni can’t put himself out there too?
During interviews, Jackson publicly pin pointed the Lakers problems. He went out on a limb during the worst of times and supported the Lakers playoff ambitions. One of Jackson’s key statements as a coach is “I think the most important thing about coaching is that you have to have a sense of confidence about what you’re doing.”
For D’Antoni, being “out” shouldn’t be an option.