The shocking news of the Los Angeles Lakers hiring of Mike D’Antoni has caused a stir in the sports world. Is the real news the hiring of D’Antoni or the fact that the Lakers passed on Phil Jackson? After much speculation and chants of “Phil, Phil, Phil” from the Staples Center crowd, Jackson was surprisingly passed up on by the Lakers’ front office claiming that D’Antoni is a better fit for the current Lakers roster. Is he really? Well, here are the Top 5 Reasons why Mike D’Antoni is not right for the Lakers:
5 Mike Brown
The hiring of Mike Brown was a complete failure. The Lakers pretty much admitted that when they fired him only five games into the season. That happened because the Lakers rushed their decision to hire a coach. They did not take their time to assure that they were making the right decision. Now they hired D’Antoni in a matter of days? Just one day ago they were hiring Jackson then all of a sudden D’Antoni is the coach? It hasn’t even been a week since the firing! The proper measures were not taken in order to make sure that this was the right decision and yet they made a three-year commitment to him for 12 million dollars. Well, in L.A. we are all about winning championships and D’Antoni has none, so why the commitment?
4 New York State of Mind
Mike D’Antoni quit in New York. He was given the keys to the New York Knicks and he could not handle it. He was given a four-year, 24 million dollar contract (sound familiar?) to coach the Knicks and he was a complete failure. He had Carmelo Anthony to lead his team along with Amare Stoudemire and still could not get beyond the first round of the playoffs! D’Antoni’s track record doesn’t exactly give you reason to think that “Showime” is back. His career record is 388-339, which is a .533 career win percentage. But the Lakers claim that he was the right man for the job and not Jackson? Jackson’s career record is 1155-485 for a .704 career win percentage which just so happens to be the highest win percentage in NBA History. So D’Antoni is more qualified to run this team that Jackson?
In “Antoni’s” offense you are supposed to get a shot off in seven seconds. What? That is playground ball! When you have the best big man combination in the NBA in Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol, shooting the ball in seven seconds is just not a bright idea. You have a huge size advantage over every team in the league and you want to run with these smaller teams? That does not even sound right. Bryant is 34 years old, Steve Nash is 38, Gasol is 32 and Metta World Peace is 32, (he is slow regardless — it wouldn’t matter if he was 18) so these guys are not in the point in their careers where running is beneficial to their success. This team is built to feed off of its big men. You feed the ball down low and wait for the double team. When that arrives then someone cuts and someone spots up for an open three. Pick your poison. “Antoni’s” offense is the opposite of that. Run, run, run and shoot is his way.
D’Antoni’s teams are infamous for having terrible defense! Defense wins championships, and coincidentally, D’Antoni has never won an NBA Championship. The Lakers are currently allowing 94.4 points per game which is the 14th highest in the league out of 30 teams. That absolutely needs to improve in order to win a championship. For a Mike D’Antoni team, allowing 94.4 points per game is shutdown defense. His last name should just be “Antoni,” no D.
1 Phil Jackson
The Lakers gave every indication that they were bringing Jackson back. They even made public comments about their meeting with him and said that he was the only man they wanted. What happened? They then signed D’Antoni and said that he is a better fit. How? D’Antoni has never won an NBA Championship in his career! Jackson has five championships with the Lakers and 11 overall. He was named one of the Top 10 Coaches in NBA history; voted in by the NBA itself. And he is ‘not the right fit’? Kobe ‘Bean’ Bryant seems to think that he was the right fit. This Bryant guy knows his basketball, too. If D’Antoni was a better fit then why would the Lakers go public with comments stating that Phil Jackson was the only man they wanted for the job? Why would they even reach out to Jackson in the first place? The Lakers front office actually told Jackson that he was going to be “given the weekend to digest it” regarding his decision. Then, they surprisingly hired D’Antoni without even informing him. Jackson said that he was “shocked” by the news and also said that he feels like he was not given an opportunity. He also said that they all agreed that he was the man for the job. There are many rumors floating around that he asked for an eight-figure salary and he was asking for travel limitations. He shot those rumors down saying that conversations never even got to that point and he never made any such outrageous demands. Why is D’Antoni not the right choice? Because Phil Jackson is — it’s that simple.
This stunning turn of events has taken place too soon — the firing and then the hiring was done too fast. The right man was Phil Jackson and even he was under the impression that he was going to take over. Was Jim Buss’ bitter hatred toward him the reason he was not hired? That’s a legitimate question we all must ask? Hiring Jackson would have guaranteed a championship and many “experts” would tell you that themselves. Why Mike D’Antoni? I don’t know. But, I do know why not, and these are the just the tip of the iceberg.