Mike D’Antoni Hire Offers Possibilities While Battling Perceptions

Darius Soriano —  November 12, 2012

If there’s one thing I love about the Lakers, it’s that they’re willing to take a calculated risk. Dr. Buss is known for his poker exploits, after all.

And, on the surface, this certainly looks like a gamble. With the most decorated coach waiting in the wings to take over and (potentially) bring championship glory back to the organization in a third stint, it seems….odd that the Lakers would go in a different direction. Over the weekend the team was said to be “all in” for Phil but it turns out when they turned over their cards it was Mike D’Antoni’s face as the new king of the sideline.

I, for one, would have been more than happy to have Phil Jackson return for another go ’round. The prospect of having him back was the stuff that feel good movies are built on.

Phil brings a caché that instills confidence and a sense of calmness. His history of championship level success meant the rope he’d have to produce would have been much longer than any other choice. That, in itself, can be a major difference in the perception of where this team is going. Simply put, he has style and substance and that reflects a calm sorely needed in any environment as rich with drama as this one. He knows that territory well and would likely navigate it seamlessly.

That said, there were no guarantees that what Phil would have brought to the team would have been what was needed. This group isn’t some sort of Triangle ready roster that’s simply waiting for him to come back and install the system everyone knows and has comfort with. Only Pau and Kobe have had any sort of success in this system and the other players on the roster that have even played in it number a grand total of three. For what it’s worth, the Lakers actually had just as many players on the team who’d played in the Princeton — or a version of it — with Jamison, Blake, Meeks, Hill, and Ron and it’s not like there was some extreme comfort level there.

So, the Lakers went in another direction. They chose the coach with the more simplified offensive system — yes, what D’Antoni runs is a system — that will rely more on players making the types of basketball decisions they’ve made their entire career. They’ll be asked to move the ball onto the open man and shoot when open all while operating on a spaced floor. There will be a reliance on pick and rolls but I think it’d be silly to think that we won’t see post up chances for Kobe, Pau, and Dwight. For all the sense that D’Antoni is such an offensive genius, I find it odd that there would be so many concerns that he wouldn’t be able to adapt to one of the most talented groups (at least in his starting five) that he’d ever coached.

This isn’t to say there aren’t any concerns. The fit of certain players certainly jumps out right away. Gasol in particular isn’t the ideal power forward to space the floor by circling the arc. The bench players aren’t necessarily “shooters” in the classic sense and that may lead to a breakdown in spacing that D’Antoni will need to confront with creativity rather than simple talent. But for a man that is considered as smart at coaching offense as he is, I think he’ll work through these issues. After all, his top end talent is elite and with that the foundation for any system is improved dramatically.

As to the question of D’Antoni’s lack of a defensive pedigree, there’s both a reality and a disconnect to facts when evaluating him. HIs Suns teams were never as bad on that end as the existing perception. They regularly ranked in the middle of the pack on that end of the floor in terms of defensive efficiency and suffered more in terms of antiquated measurements such as points per game. In his last year with the Knicks, his defense ranked in the top ten of defensive efficiency once he got Tyson Chandler to anchor his back end. With Howard in tow and some very good defenders in place in Los Angeles, I believe we’ll see a team that can play to that same level.

A this point, though, what matters most isn’t our perception of the past but what D’Antoni can actually do with this roster. The talent in place is the same that many believed was good enough to win a championship to start the season. Mike Brown didn’t maximize that talent and he’s now unemployed. D’Antoni will need to produce on the floor with the players he has or the criticism that haunted his predecessor will follow him in the same manner.

No, D’Antoni isn’t Phil Jackson. And we’ll never know the full extent what actually took place in those closed door meetings between him and the Laker brass. But D’Antoni is no slouch of a coach. His teams achieved a great amount of success even though they fell short of the final prize. With this group, though, he may have his best chance to rectify those past defeats and earn himself, and this team, some redemption.

I can honestly say I’m excited about the prospect of what he can do on both sides of the floor with a group that includes Nash, Kobe, Pau, and Howard. Time will tell if he’s up to the task but the same would have been true of any choice made. Even if some people’s perception says different.

Darius Soriano

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128 responses to Mike D’Antoni Hire Offers Possibilities While Battling Perceptions

  1. Off topic. Anyone think maybe, just maybe the Lakers took the perfect time to trade Andrew Bynum?

  2. After reading more about his true defensive efficiency and what Phil’s demand may have been (control over roster decisions) I’m happy with the hire.

    One thing to keep in mind. The Lakers conducted actual interviews and I think we can assume that Mitch/Jim asked questions about what D’Antoni would do with the players in order to get their full potential. Obviously Pau would be been in these discussions. I think before we make any assumptions about who will or who won’t fit we should allow things to unfold.

    I also think his experience as assistant coach of the Olympic team will prove to be incredibly beneficial for this Lakers team.

  3. I have heard the comment several times that Phil Jackson was the ‘safe’ hire. The thinking that separates the Lakers from all other organizations is that they don’t do the ‘safe’ thing, they try to do the right thing. For a highly entertaining team that has a very good chance of getting to June, I suspect the Lakers qualify. Certainly they will now draw more ink than either OKC or the Heat.

  4. but when he comes back in Jan 2013, he will be a 25-20 bynamite! while at the same time, DH will keep recovering, get into foul trouble sometimes, only average 20-15. -aaron

  5. Mike D’Antoni is great for the future too. FA will want to come play in a fast paced system like his. D’Antoni was dominant in Phoenix had it not been for a few bad breaks he might have made it to the Finals. I don’t think you can judge his tenure in NY when they spent 2 years tanking to get LeBron and the next made a mid-season trade for Melo. Made the playoffs but were over matched with talent especially with Amare being hurt.

    Nash, Dwight and D’Antoni seems like a match made in heaven. I like this combination.

  6. I hope we keep Bernie as a coach. Also, I like Chuck Person and Darvin Ham (for the big men). It would be good to have some holdover in the coaching staff – people who have watched the players in training camp and into the season.

  7. Very balanced write up Darius, in spite of the fact that I think you absolutely hate this decision.

    MD supporters: I see the word defensible used a lot (by rr and Funky et al). Why do we want something that is defensible? We want the correct decision for basketball reasons. The use of the word defensive with D’Antoni is a bit ironic at that.

    The coach does not decide everything and I realize that. Preseason I said we were 35% to win it all. That dropped quite a bit with MB falling on his face, but could have gone right back to 35-40 if Phil took over. Now? We are probably 25-30 to win it all. So could we win it with MD? Yes. Might we have not won it with Phil? Of course. But when you are this close – you go with the odds and the odds were greater with Phil.

    KenOak: Phil is a pair of Aces and Mike D is an inside straight.

  8. Anyone know how D’antoni deals with young players vs. veterans?

    The issue that was being overlooked in taking back Phil is that he was definitely going to rely on guys like Steve Blake over developing guys like Darius Morris. That was always Phil’s m.o.

    Is D’Antoni the same way with veterans?

    Also – I wonder which current bona-fide power forwards currently in the league would be better for this system?
    I’d bet Dirk, LaMarcus Aldridge, Kevin Love, Chris Bosh . . . erm thats about it.

    Pau’s game isn’t perfect as a floor spacer, but before people get so down on having Pau (I can already feel that he’s the next target), just try to sit down and think about the alternatives.

  9. Cdog,
    Mike’s reputation is pretty gold among players. He seems to develop less talented players to get the most out of them in his system. I would certainly rate him far ahead of Phil in that regard. Phil is a great coach for veterans, but not so much for very young players – the draft lack of success wasn’t all on Mitch.

  10. Great after 17 years in the league Kobe gets an open court offense…ironic. D’Antoni’s system worked because of Steve Nash and at 39 years of age it will be interesting to see if his body will hold up long enough for the next pg to pick up the system.

    So I guess no one is worried about D’Antoni being the coach on the cell phone until December. What’s the over and under that D’Antoni will lose as many games between now and December as the defacto coach in comparison to PJ missing a few strategic road games like say games against Toronto, Pistons, Bobcats and Sacramento.

    There are only two reasons the Lakers would go away from PJ and the triangle: 1) The triangle is a difficult system to master and the window for this team as constituted is two years. 2) If injuries occur or a trade becomes available mid-season it does no good to the team running a triangle, because they will not reap any benefits from that player that year.

    D’Antoni’s system in theory is easier to incorporate new players via trade or waivers if they become available.

    Would have loved PJ back but there are more inside intangibles that we are not privy to knowing regarding the Buss family.

    Wow, we could use Goudelock in the new system and it will not be SSOL due to the age of Kobe and Nash and the slow feet of Pau Gasol.

    Moving On! Let’s go Lakers!

  11. Jordan Hill probably loved hearing “I don’t play bad rookies” gets to have another crack at him.

  12. Robert,
    You’d be best served to not project thoughts on the guy that just wrote a 1000 words on what I actually think.

  13. Nice commentary Darius……I was in a PJ myopic state for a while and started thinking about a good point you brought up about the D’Antoni defense. He’s never really had any good defenders save Raja on the PHO teams and the utilization of Tyson in NY was sharp. A Ron Artest that is in exceptional shape, KB24, and Dwight form a pretty tough core that will not settle for quick runs up on the offensive end to satisfy their competitive juices. They will play D and that in itself will be a difference. Also, I think D’Antoni’s offensive system may be a godsend for the 2nd unit players as they’ll undoubtedly flourish under it versus the princeton or triangle, imho….

    As a side note, I think Nash will also have a leg up on the mamba now. I should be a comfort level for him to be proactive in his team leadership instead of searching for a niche. I may be alone in this observation, but the games I saw him play, he seemed a bit tentative in his approach in the offensive sets….a two pronged leadership will be a definite advantage than just giving it to KB24 and clearing out

  14. Hale,
    My guess is that Jordan Hill has banked enough ‘chips’ with the Laker brass that Mike D’s rookie comment won’t impact his current playing time. The Lakers need Jordan Hill and the organization knows it enough to resign him.

  15. I was excited about PJ and was hoping we’d get to see that, but honestly, I never would have thought he would have been in the running when Brown first was fired. It was kind of amazing that he suddenly vaulted to “95%” level, frankly.

    This hire really isn’t that shocking, and I am fairly certain it will improve the team relative to where it’s been.

    On a side note, I’m getting pretty tired of the DirecTV/TWC impasse forcing me to “watch” these games via the scrolling boxscore.

  16. Darius: I did not project anything as I preceeded my statement with “I think”. And I read your post, and complimented it as balanced, which is better than I can do at this point.

    All: I will be back to Kobe Alerts and rooting for the Lakers soon. I am still very positive, as I was in the pre-season. I just need to get this out of my system.

  17. Lakers always hug the top of the news even though they are not the defending Champs. All they did was changed a moribund Coach. How it was done leaves a lot of questions? Nobody knew that on Thursday MBrown will be fired. Nobody knew that on Saturday Phil and Jim would meet at Phil’s home and all feeling happy to learn that Phil will become the head coach with 95% probability. Nobody knew that Lakers will win 2 in a row under Bernie Bickerstaff who is not even coaching but just guiding the team. Nobody knew that Laker top honchos whether Jerry of Jim would make midnight decision as if they are beating the trade deadline.

    I just want to ask Mr. Jim Buss why do we have penchant for high drama? High drama when you hired and fired Mike Brown. High drama with your historical feud with Phil, High drama in getting Nash and Dwight while trading your favorite player. High drama in the past with Kobe’s rant leading to Ariza and Pau. We need stability and tranquility in decision making. Think first before going to public in this fast pace of communication.

    Now that we have D’Antoni, we should see how it will work. I wish we get the Championship under Mike D’Antoni, he could be the saving grace of the season.

  18. As a Blazer fan, I usually just pop over to this sit for some good old fashioned schadenfreude. My fear since Mike Brown was fired was that they’d grab Mike d’Antoni as the head coach and Nate McMillan As the lead assistant. D’Antoni is a great offensive coach while McMillan is a great situational and defensive coach. Their Olympic experiences with Kobe and Dwight would immediately command their respect. I’m worried.

  19. Robert,
    I wrote what I wrote and you tell me “in spite of the fact that I think you absolutely hate this decision”. If that’s not projecting what I think, I’m not sure what is. And, I’m unsure why anyone would claim I hate something when I *actually wrote what I think*. In essence, you’re either calling me a liar of that I’m I’m so deluded I’d praise something I really hate. Either way, I take offense to the implication. Stick to commenting about what you think rather than commenting about what *you think I think* and we’d all be better off.

  20. Who cares if Andrew Bynum puts up 30-15 he’s not on the Lakers. And, if he does it will be for how many games? Has he played an 82 game season yet? He is knock-kneed and no surgery will make his knees handle the rigors of the NBA by a 7foot 280lb player that has to run and jump. I wish Andrew all the best as he was a ‘former’ player on the Lakers. A change was best for Bynum and the Lakers.

    Dwight Howard will be fine for the Lakers going forward even if he never becomes the Dwight Howard of the Magic.

  21. This should be exciting. I have a good feeling D’Antoni can maximize our offensive talent which in the past couple of years has not put up the kind of results and numbers that they should with so much offensive firepower. I know there will be questions of how the old legs of the team will hold up in a fast paced offense but I remember the PHX teams having pretty awesome half court sets as well. Look forward to seeing what this team does with Nash being able to maximize his impact.

  22. Was it D’Antoni who coached Nash when he got rob’d when the bench came onto the floor and got suspended for the final game ? If he could take that team almost all the way, was a feather in his cap. With Nash setting up Kobe beautifully, Mamba will flourish. Superman will feast off of the point guards decisions, Ronron must crash the boards and if someone can knock down a 3pt shot every once in a while, Laker nation will be better off. Gasol is still smart and the boys will figure it out after playing together. Go Lakers. Out with the old and in with the new.

  23. Here is the most concise and, I believe, intelligent commentary on the D ‘Antoni hiring:
    http://bit.ly/Q8TtSe. I for one can’t wait to see it evolve. PJ’s time has come and gone. Awesome coach but it’s a new era.

  24. Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports sheds some light on how the decision against Jackson came about:


  25. Suns team w/ Shaq and Amare.

    3 pt percentage: Nash 47%, Barbosa 38%, Marion 34%, Hill 31%, Bell 41%, Diaw 31%. 38% as a team.

    Lakers won’t come close to matching that.

  26. Instead of singing, “My boyfriend’s back,” Jeanie is singing, “You’re so vain.”

  27. there’s a good summary of d’antoni’s offensive system in knickerblogger’s archives.

  28. Darius, you’re overreacting. You started out saying you would have been happy about Phil, and that’s enough reason for most to think you may have been initially unhappy about D’Antoni’s hire.

    I like the hire, as I do think players tuned PJ out in his last go-around. That’s big. Also, there is just too much comfort level between KB and PJ, which may prove to be a problem especially if PJ latches on to Dwight like he did with Shaq and considers Kobe ‘no longer Kobe.’

    Of course it’s not like D’Antoni’s hire is without its problems, but a new coach always gives him a honeymoon period where players listen, and the fact that it comes right after a firing of this magnitude places the burden on the players. So there’s more chance that this will work. As for defense, not many players in PHX were known for their defensive prowess, and they still made it to the middle of the pack. Imagine that with Dwight anchoring the middle and the offense working like crazy so that our players are in position more often than not.

  29. I’m depressed.
    I feel like MD’s system is like candy: it tastes great and gives you a quick high of energy, but in the final account, you end up feeling empty and hungry and perhaps even sick.
    PJ’s system is demanding and thorough and takes time and effort to learn and implement. But in the end, you are full and have the satisfaction of improving yourself and knowing the game better (not to mention winning a ring or two).
    Maybe with this roster the coach wouldn’t have made much of a difference but still, choosing form over substance is a philosophical choice that disagrees with me, though it probably suits LA just fine.

  30. From Worj:

    ” but the biggest issue for D’Antoni’s defense has never been where it was ranked in the league, but how the Suns players – including Steve Nash – never believed they were prepared for the big possessions, the big moments, in series with San Antonio. There was a discipline missing, a mindset, an understanding, in those moments of truths.”

  31. Thanks Kaifa, for posting Woj’s take on the last 48 hours. I highly encourage everyone to read that before posting about why the Lakers were wrong to choose D’Antoni over Jax. Woj didn’t go into this, but I read elsewhere that Jax asked for ownership stake as well.

    I still think this played out horribly for everyone concerned – Lakers were wrong to publicly anoint Jax before reaching an agreement with him. Jax was wrong to “over-reach” though he was dealing from a position of strength. I’m not a 100% sold on Jim Buss, but I agree with what he did here – no one individual is greater than the franchise (except for the owner himself).

  32. Yogi,
    There is no arguing that the last year under Phil Jackson was very disappointing in so many ways – starting with them being boring.

    Dr. Buss brought a showtime, marketing atmosphere to the Lakers when he bought the club. He has been trying to get back to that presentation. That was one reason for going with Rudy T. in 2004-5. My understanding is that Phil was never the #1 choice and fans and the media simply crowned him because it was obvious and created the most number of ‘hits’.

    None of this is to downgrade Phil Jackson. The Buss’s are about winning and marketing. Mike D. gives them a better chance at both – and that doesn’t even count the fact that he is a better fit with the current club and a better long term solution, the way the NBA is evolving.

  33. Robert, the reason that some of us use the word “defensible” regarding this hire is because of comments like yours that suggest that it is not.

    Over the weekend, I wrote that I had concerns about all of the names mentioned for the position, including PJ, D’Antoni, Sloan, and Shaw. Whether or not this is the “right” decision is at this time nothing more than a matter of opinion, although over time the answer will become clearer.

    Had they hired Phil, I’d be ok with that move but I would still have concerns. He’d be a 2 year hire, and he’d bring a system that everyone in the league says is the hardest one to learn (to a team having trouble learning the Princeton). There would be a risk that he would be as ineffective with this bunch as he was in his last year, where the team clearly didn’t respond to him. He’d cost a boatload of money, and there’s no guarantee that players like Nash or Howard would learn and like the system fast enough to be happy (and making Dwight happy is a close 2nd to winning a title this year in terms of priorities for this team).

    All that said, PJ would have brought instant credibility and would be an enormous upgrade over Mike Brown. For that alone, I’d have found his hiring to be defensible, too.

    The difference between those of us arguing that this decision is defensible and those of you saying it was the wrong move, is that some of us feel like the answer to this question will not be known until May or June. In the meantime, does this move seem reasonable? To me, it does, especially (but not only) if D’Antoni can bring McMillan along as a defensive coach.

    I know you’re a fan and you’re venting a little, which is understandable if you didn’t get what you personally wanted. The point some of us are making is simply that by getting your 2nd choice, you probably just got a freaking amazing improvement in coaching that will likely have immediate positive effects on the team you love….

  34. McMillian would be a great addition to the staff. He knows how to slow the pace down, and would be able to balance Dantoni’s obsession to force his fast paced system onto his rosters.

    IMO, one of two things will have to happen for D’Anotoni to be successful. Either he will have to change his old habits by adapting to this slower roster….or the roster will have to change to adapt to his system.

  35. I think D’Antoni will surprise a lot of people. I like that this offense simplifies the decision making for many of the players (Metta) and really places the key play-making in the hands of Nash and Kobe/Gasol. I am not that worried about the lack of shooters and spacing as according to ESPN Kobe shot almost 65% on unguarded catch and shoot jumpers over the past 3 seasons and Gasol shot 47% on long twos. While none of those guys are so called “shooters” those are some pretty impressive numbers on a large sample size. Also, Nash will do a good job getting the other guys shots in their comfort areas which should yield a higher field goal %.

    Per the defense, those old Phoenix teams were about average when you account for pace. Besides Marion, none of those guys were even average defenders, especially Amare who was/is a terrible defender. As Dwight recovers he should cover up a lot of the defensive holes. I think it will rel heavily on our ability to take care of the ball. Top 10 in limiting turnovers will lead to a top 10 defense.

  36. Mike D gives them a better chance at winning over Phil?

    For reals?

  37. For those concerned about our defense, two things:

    1. That the Suns were bad defensively is a common misconception. IF you adjusted for the pace (and didn’t go solely on PPG), the Suns were average. And that’s a squad that had Amare and Nash. Raja Bell and Shawn Marion were ok, but I would rate Dwight and Ron higher. So I think, worst case scenario, we’ll be a top 15 defensive team.
    2. D’Antoni is trying to bring Nate McMillan in as our defensive co-ordinator.

  38. LT mitchell,

    I’m with you on the concern about D’Antoni and his (late)game management skills. I’m hoping, though, that our offense puts up enough points that we don’t run into those types of situations too often 🙂

  39. Mouse,

    Marion was more than ok on defense. He was a versatile defensive beast who was used to guard four different positions under D’Antoni. He played PF, but was often used to guard the opposing PG.

  40. First to say that the Triple Post doesn’t fit this current roster is just absurd! DH, Pau and KB24 all can man the block and it would have been awesome to see. You already have players who know the system.

    No, this stinks of Jim Buss who wants to put his own stamp on the team and he knows he would not have been able to handle Phil who has much respect in LakerLand. Yes Phil wanted a lot of money and Jim Buss out of personnel decision and JB cannot handle that.

    D’Antoni is a good hire but to say he is even in the same league as Phil is just down right silly! Phil is the best NBA coach of all-time and the Triple Post offense will never go out of style.

    D’Antoni helps Nash but he cannot play a whole season at that pace and neither can Kobe. I suspect some sort of variation of his offense will be installed. The Lakers have superior post players and to ignore them would be criminal.

  41. I like the hire for a couple of reasons. The first being that as much as I and we all love Phil and all his championships, the fact that he stipulated he would have to miss road games is ridiculous. How can you be the coach of a professional sports team and miss games? I don’t care how old he is, it’s a road games are a job requirement. Also, MD’s Olympic coaching experience, offensive genius and adaptability, and underated defensive acumen. As Darius noted his Phoenix teams’ defensive efficiency mediocre terrible – and his Knicks’ defensive effeciency was top-10 once they got Tyson Chandler, so we should be fine Howard anchoring and MWP and Kobe. As surprising and shocking to many as this choice seems, as an alternative to Phil D’antoni is probably our best bet.

  42. LT Mitchell,

    Good as Marion was, he was never a lock-down defender. Yes, he could guard multiple positions effectively, and often did, but I would still take 3 DPOY Howard any day. I maintain that we have the ability to be as good, if not better than, as those Suns teams.

  43. You started out saying you would have been happy about Phil, and that’s enough reason for most to think you may have been initially unhappy about D’Antoni’s hire.
    Really? So, it’s impossible to say I would have been happy with Phil and still think “wow, I like this too”? Because I can assure that’s pretty much exactly how it went when the news broke last night. But, again, I invite everyone to tell me what’s in my head because that’s quite reasonable. Sigh.

  44. Darius Soriano,
    Relax. We all really enjoy your posts. I almost always learn something from reading a serious post here. You make me question my opinions and I think that is a good thing. We will always have some who simply shout out thoughts without thinking – comes with the job.

    Thanks again for improving this blog from the great thing Kurt first started.

  45. LordMorien:

    “No, this stinks of Jim Buss who wants to put his own stamp on the team and he knows he would not have been able to handle Phil who has much respect in LakerLand. Yes Phil wanted a lot of money and Jim Buss out of personnel decision and JB cannot handle that.”

    If that were the case, why did the Lakers even reach out to Phil (and only Phil!) first? If this was only about money, I would agree with you that Phil was/is worth every penny. However, from what I have read (see the Woj article that Kaifa posted), this was about Phil trying to extract more than his fair pound of flesh, and Buss saying “No, thanks”. Like I said earlier, no one individual is more valuable than the owner.

    For the record, I’m not saying D’Antoni is a better hire – he may or may not be – just that Phil negotiated his way out of a contract that should have been his.

  46. Like the idea of a defensive coordinator. Skeptical of it being McMillan, who has never been a great defensive coach. That’s a misconception stemming from the slow pace his teams played at. Like the inverse of MDA and his defensive reputation.

  47. Funky: D’Antoni is a reasonable choice. In fact he would be my third overall choice. Phil being #1, Shaw being #2. Since Shaw was under contract I never considered him a contender, so that makes D’Antoni #2. I will reconcile this as follows (I think Edwin may have said something like this). A week ago we had MB and were almost hopeless. If at that time you would have told me that MB gets replaced with MD this quickly, I take it hands down. It is the fact that greatness was in our grasp (in my opinion) and we let it go for the wrong reasons (in my opinion), that is bothering me. I will get over it (perhaps in a decade or so). One thing you can count on me for is that I will never abandon the team, and will root for them no matter what. This time will be no different : )

  48. Like I said before, the most ringing endorsement of D’Antoni to me is the fact that Bill Plaschke is against it.

    Having said that, it certainly looked like the Lakers were having fun playing yesterday and Friday. From what I’ve heard, D’Antoni’s offense is fun to play in. It seems like, more than most teams, the better we do on offense the better our defensive effort seems to be. If all 5 guys get involved in D’Antoni’s offense, then hopefully that esprit de corps will translate into better communication on the other end.

  49. Snoopy2006:

    Very good point. I was among those who thought McMillan was a defensive wiz. The numbers (at least the few that I have seen) don’t bear that out – yikes!

  50. any_one_mouse – They had to! The crowd demanded it….face saving bluff by JB.

    He knew who he wanted all the time. Heck if giving Phil some percentage of ownership meant more titles then hell do it! Winning!

    Seth – Really…lol D’Antoni teams all have stunk at Defense period! Underrated….no his defensive acumen doesn’t even register. Offensive is his Defense. The Lakers will HAVE to hire a defensive guru to cover up his lack of Defensive knowledge. Don’t forget he is a product of EuroBall and we know that if it wasn’t for zone defenses and rule changes then a lot of players from Europe would have never played in the NBA. Short of AK47 I can’t think of one Euro who even knows what defense is!

  51. I second what Craig W. just said. Good work, Darius – thanks for improving the site even since Kurt left; but relax, don’t let what others post get to you.

  52. Robert, that’s fair. Just hope it won’t be 2022 before you get over this. Phil would have been gone 8 years by then anyway…. 🙂

    It will be interesting, to say the least. To me, the immediate effect will be that this will be a much more entertaining team to watch (which, of course, I can’t do as a DirecTV customer…). In two years, the team will undergo a major overhaul one way or another, and it might be better to have D’Antoni under contract and succeeding than it would be to be making the transition from Phil to some assistant coach he has been mentoring–and by “better” I mean “more attractive to free agents.” Who knows, if the team can persuade LeBron to move west in 2 years to play alongside DH12 and a final run with Nash (last year of contract) and Kobe (re-signing for one last run at glory) we might have something….

  53. LordMorien,

    I don’t think the reach out to Phil was just a bluff – every credible source I’ve read says negotiations broke down because Phil was asking for too much. Much more so than any other coach in the league today.
    (Un)fortunately, that percentage of ownership is Jim’s and to give that up is his call 🙂 We’d like to think it is easy, but it isn’t our money 🙂

  54. Let us put it this way, to this hour we have not heard anything from PJ and yet we learned a lot from grapevine news. We need the side of PJ before rushing to judgement.

    With regards to hiring of Mike D’Antoni, it was an improvement based on my opinion, I don’t know whether that opinion would last if Lakers kept on losing. My only regrets is the way it all happened, we are all watching a circus of public relations. Just a week ago, Mitch came out as well as Jim unanimous in protecting MBrown, he is given a longer leash to prove himself. Suddenly, within the week there is a turn around decision that surprised all scribes hungry for NBA drama. Supposing at this point, the name of PJ was never mentioned because of his excuses in the past that he could no longer handle road games, more interested in management than coaching, then the Laker nation will not be as disturb as it is today. Even Mike D’Antoni was surprised by the sudden turn of events. Can we continue going on like this in the future? I think that is what happens when our new owner lacked the managerial experience in decision making, he is handling a billion high profiled enterprise and he is treating it like changing horses in mid season or while the race is going on. We are not questioning the outcome but the process in doing 180 degree change of expectations and perceptions. Can we enroll him to a crash course on Managerial Decision Making at UCLA? It is for the good of the Lakers.

    Well, we have a new Coach, a new set of players for this season, no need to worry about Mike Brown’s Princeton Offense, let’s go Lakers just continue winning and all this talk will be overcome by events.

  55. >Phil brings a caché that instills confidence..

    I think the word you’re searching for here is actually cachet, although cache and cachet both stem from the same French root – just thought you’d like to know. : )

    (I know you know what you were trying to say, what with the accent mark you put on the e!)

  56. tsuwm,
    Ha. Yes. Needless to say, I’ve not slept as much as I would have liked to over the past 24 hours or so.

  57. I don’t get it, why are you all ganging up on Darius for addressing the aspersions Robert was making about him? And regarding this hire, it all comes down to Phil overreaching and JERRY, not Jim, saying “that’s enough”. Jerry wants to win again before he passes on, but he wants to win with style. And ultimately, Phil’s demands shot too many holes in that ship to still float.

  58. it appears Phil demands were not reasonable. Not only coach but GM and sort of owner with his old office back.

    Enough is enough. I heard Mike D at the start and I am very happy with him. I am sure if he had a D. Howard with Suns or Knicks there would be less comments about defense.

    Give me a coach that knows how to score points and bring back show time and not hold the franchise hostage and you get my vote.

    Good move and rge right choose,

  59. Sorry make that right choice. Hate this iPad.

  60. Here is some of the other side of the story: Of course, this is Rambis. Now, if you are a Laker fan, Rambis should carry some weight in this debate. Of course some would put Rambis in the same category as Shaw – part of the old guard, to be sent to Siberia. Whatever the demands were – if that is even true – why no counter offer?


  61. darius: you must be exhausted. at the end of the day, to bring the sanity back into one’s life, you gotta just say, what the heck.

    tonite, watch a little monday night football, kick back in your most kick back position and just chill to one tall, cool one.

    because for tomorrow is another day.

    keep the faith, Darius

    Go Lakers

  62. Been listening to the radio all day why is everybody so down on the hiring of D’Antoni? PJ’s last game Lakers lost by 30+ and were embarassed by the Mavs that series. Have the same roster problems now they did then. No shooters and a older team. What would’ve been different a few years later?

    D’Antoni has proved his system works now we get to see how he does with championship level players. The Olympic experience may help him some.

  63. I’ve been trying to talk myself into MD all day. Just can’t do it when PJ was available. As Robert said we still have a decent shot but if I’m a fan of Miami or thunder I’m happy lakers didn’t sign Phil.

  64. how do Lakers can beat OKC and San Antonio ? MD can give Lakers good chance because Lakers can score over 100 pts , 105,106pts with his offense (including playing better defense). MB’s team can score only 95,96 pts not enough. If we look back last season between SA& OKC because Duncan is old, whenever he was out, OKC can come back because Tony Parker’s TO, young SA players missing shots. With Lakers, Nash and Howard can P@R, Kobe outside , Lakers will have great chance to beat OKC. The first thing we should see is if Lakers can reduce TO under MD.

  65. This news had me up til 2 am last night. following darius and others on twitter.

    im happy with the hire. it will utilize all 4 of our stars.

    not happy with how FO has handled this, and I’m sure they’ll pay for it with fans for teasing them (and apparently PJ) for the job. I love PJ, but extremely happy with this.

    Here’s the biggest part: even with PJ, no guarantee the defense was gonna be any better.

  66. I’m glad with the hire but Ko mentioned this a year ago that the relationship between Jim, Jeanie, Jerry and Phil is ugly. More evidence with this recent hoopla.

  67. Darius, hey, it’s always a matter of degrees. I’m happy that we’re no longer with MB, but slightly unhappier than getting Phil (initially, anyway). Still happy though. Not here to nitpick or argue over something that is largely of little consequence – both to the issue at and as well as your ability to judge the signing neutrally.

  68. We all don’t know the real circumstances about what has gone down. All we really have is media speculation. Didn’t we just go through a presidential election full of this kind of stuff?

    I think we need to take a deep breath and think about what we know about the individuals involved.
    – Phil is a political animal and craves control. Ever since Jerry West left Phil has had the upper hand. The one time he lost out – because Jerry Buss wanted more showtime – Rudy T. couldn’t handle L.A. and the Lakers were forced to bring Phil back in. While we fans really only point to the championships Phil won (no credit given to Mitch for getting the personnel) the front office just might not want to get back into that power game with someone who – pretty much – coasted through his last year of coaching this team.
    – Jim Buss and Mitch K. have done a pretty good job of dealing with all the hype that is the Lakers – the Mike Brown hiring being an exception, but one that is understandable in that the team pretty much required a system mind and someone who could, they thought, develop young players.
    – Jerry Buss really wants showtime back in the Laker arsenal. He tried in 2004 and every evidence points to him hiring someone like Mike D. when Phil left. The problem was that Mike D. already had a gig.

  69. I’ve rarely seen FB&G in such an uproar, at least if you go back and read the last thread.

    I’m not going to quibble over the MDA>Phil decision, even if I don’t entirely agree with it. But if the story coming from Phil and Musberger’s side is remotely true – and I realize they could easily spin it, but I imagine we’d hear a rebuttal from Buss if anything was a flat out lie – then this really was handled unprofessionally. You shouldn’t give a guy until Monday to decide, and then reverse course Sunday night.

    The entire way it was negotiated makes me think it was MDA all along. Why? Because if they really wanted Phil and his asking price was too high, they could have very easily used D’Antoni as a bargaining chip, to show Phil that he didn’t hold all the power in these negotiations. The impression I’m getting from these reports is that D’Antoni had a quiet phone interview and nothing more. And Phil was never given an indication that D’Antoni was a strong player in these talks; everything we’ve seen suggests Phil was told the job was his to decide on. [Edit: John Black promptly did refute Phil’s version, per JA Adande’s twitter. So he said/she said at this point.]

    And TNT thinks they know drama?

  70. Debating who would be better Mike D or Phil isn’t the point here. The point is we landed a huge upgrade over what we had. With these players Mike D is good enough to win it all. Now it’s on the players to perform.

  71. There will be many sources on this which will contradict each other. In my case, if the sources are directly working for the Lakers, D’Antoni, or Phil, they are a little let’s say suspect. So the most credible would be people who are familiar with the Lakers, but not employed by them: like Rambis, Magic, Shaw, – people like that – I wonder how they feel? And if you think they are biased against – why is that? Why do we have that issue, when teams like the Spurs and C’s are lifetime fraternities?

  72. Nice cross-section of comments here. It was a crazy 48 hour ride. I’m ready for the season to get going now. I think we all are. The beauty part is that we still have 75 games left. *shakes his head in wonder*

  73. There is no point judging on how the thing was handled. While it makes for great gossip, we will never know for sure unless one side ‘concedes’ and fesses up. Everyone is biased in one way or another if they’re in the know, and Phil’s intimacy with Jeanie will make it even more difficult to uncover all the details necessary to understand all that happened.

  74. When Mike Brown was fired I thought Mitch Kupchak said that he would get input from the players as to who the Lakers next coach would be.

    Now, Dwight Howard is saying that he learned that the Lakers had chosen D’Antoni via a tweet.

  75. Phil’s version of the story is pretty suspect. “No contractual terms were discussed” and yet there was “an understanding that I would have until Monday to come back to them with my decision.”

    His “decision?” His decision about what? Ifo contractual terms were discussed, what was your decision to be based on?

    That cannot be what went down. Either contractual terms (years, dollars, control, etc) were discussed, or he was not told he could come back to the team today with a “decision.”

    Moreover, the jab at D’Antoni (by suggesting that the leak of the allegedly false demands Phil made might have been disclosed by MDA’s camp) was pretty bush league. Smacks of a guy who got out outsmarted at the negotiating table to me.

  76. Funky Chicker,

    To quote what the agent of Phil Jackson said, here are the statements of Todd Musburger I quote:

    “No discussion of those ideas being contractual terms or demands was ever made,” Musburger said. “They had a full discussion of the club, the roster, the schedule, assistants, etc. But to allow someone either on their side or on D’Antoni’s side to make these allegations — unsubstantiated and incorrect — and incorrectly maligning Phil is so objectionable to us that the process would have concluded this way.”

    We don’t know who is telling the truth because we are not there. This is what I meant when I said the Lakers didn’t handle the public relations the right way. If there is iota of truth on what they are saying and already committed to MDA, they should have flatly rejected the talk right there. On the other hand, if Phil is telling the truth he should have immediately refuted those ridiculous demands circulated on internet and stick with it.

    Therefore, we don’t know the truth on this one. This is like the Florida election but I am sad that we reached to this level of understanding. A Coach who gave the Lakers 5 rings vs. the energetic new management. It is a battle of giants, wits and intrigues full of cheap hoopla, innuendos and hearsay. We just want to aspire for a winning team.

  77. Lakers v Phil: As to what actually went down, there are only a few possibilities and when one examines them, it’s pretty clear what must have happened:

    1. The Lakers never really intended to hire PJ. It was just some kind of smokescreen. IMO, this is BS. No WAY they stoke fans’ interest the way they did (’95 percent’, etc) if this is the case. It’s a PR debacle as it is, why would they bring this on themselves? To what end?

    2. The Lakers and PJ had a meeting of the minds, job was Phil’s, Lakers changed their minds at the last minute for no good reason– just got cold feet. Again, impossible in my opinion. You have the guy lined up, you’ve agreed to hire him, you’ve got a fired up fan base, and then you just change your mind arbitrarily? This, with someone of Phil’s pedigree? Impossible.

    3. The Lakers and PJ had a discussion. In that discussion, Phil said certain things that gave the Lakers pause. We may never know what these things are– it could be road games, it could be money, it could be the lack of contrast between the triangle and the Princeton, it could be an ownership stake or GM ambition, who knows – but either way, it led to a sense that either (1) he was going to be too expensive/a Pain in the A—, or just as bad, that he was more interested in the deal than in coaching the Lakers, so they pull the plug. In Hollywood, I see versions of this all the time– in the midst of a good faith negotiation, someone asks for too much money (or perks) and the studio cans the deal all of a sudden, not because they didn’t think they could counter the offer and ultimately reach an agreement, but because they sensed a lack of genuine enthusiasm. I believe that the job was Phil’s to lose… and then he went and lost it by, if not asking for, than inquiring about terms that made the Lakers’ mgmt reconsider his commitment to the job.

    And if that’s right, then they made the right decision. I’d rather have a 100 percent invested D’Antoni than a partially invested Phil. Even in Phil’s last year, there were rumblings about road games, he was checking his nails on the sidelines, etc. Keep in mind that Phil’s agent could be technically telling the truth (which is good for an agent!) by saying these terms were never negotiated, but that doesn’t mean Phil didn’t bring them up in a way in which Mitch and co. knew they were forthcoming.

  78. Craig W – you start complaining about speculation and then you do start doing it yourself. How do you know exactly what jerry buss wanted? How do you know what forced rudy t out? You make it sound like Mitch is on the same level as Jim. Mitch works for Jim, so whatever Mitch does is because his boss allowed him to do it.

    Most of these moves were decided by Jr or Jerry. I have read that Jerry Buss is ill – a pretty vague description – so it’s hard to say who is running the show. But Jr’s record is pretty spotty so far, and I have to worry that this will be another screw up by Jr.

    Wish Jeannie was running the show!

  79. Phil has stated that he had until Monday to decide, but was basically stabbed in the back on Sunday night. Phil’s agent was on a plane to LA to settle the contract.

    Everything else, as far as Phil’s demands to avoid road games, ownership, gm duties, etc. …is from unnamed sources at this point.

    I am going to believe what Phil says over an unnamed source every day of the week. At this point, it seems Jim Buss is up to his old PR tricks again. Why not wait until Monday to hire D’Antoni? He’s not going anywhere. The most likely scenario for not waiting an extra day is Jim was desperate to hire D’Antoni before Phil announced his decision on Monday.

  80. A little comic relief? I’m enjoying Bickerstaff’s manner with all of this: easygoing and with a bit of sass:
    Bickerstaff: “When I talked to [D’Antoni], I told him to hurry up and come on in and get this seat so I can get some of these microphones out of my face.”

    FB&G vents its legit reactions, and then moves onto the future with our new coach: D’Antoni.

    Phil, an obviously historically great coach, focuses on control, legacy, his system, his relationships, etc. Yeah, that’s okay, but I just want a coach with some urgency. Think we lacked it on Phil’s last lap with the Lakers, who seemed to have gotten mentally lethargic, at that point, with him at the helm.

    Olympics. Adaptability. Longer contract term for longer team vista.

    Go Lakers.

  81. I ‘m kind of surprised that the Lakers even seriously considered Phil. Given what we have heard about the last year or two, and the actual steps taken by Jim Buss to clear Phil’s guys out, I was abut surprised that Phil would be seriously considered. That he was, and I believe he was, says something to me about the commitment to win, regardless of having to admit past mistakes. Add this to Bynum and Brown — that’s a lot for the organization to own up to.

  82. And in other news, apparently Steve Blake is out for the next game, so it’s a Morris/Duhon mix at PG.

  83. With all due respect, I don’t think Jrs record so far is spotty at all.

    The Mike Brown hiring was done in all of the wrong ways, but let’s not forget they tried very hard to bring in CP3. Plus, by the end of that season, from what Jr himself said in interviews, they learned their lesson and admitted that they should have consulted more with Kobe. Fast forward to this offseason. We add Nash and Dwight without losing Gasol. Now, 4 games into the season, when it’s clear Brown has no business coaching this team, they move on – even though it means eating about $9m in Brown’s salary.

    I don’t know about you, but that sounds to me like an ownership group that has a laser focus on winning. Maybe not bringing Phil in upsets some of you, but I got to think that the track record of this entire organization over the last 30+ years (and certainly in the last 12 months) is indicative that this team is committed to wining. Let’s see how this plays out. I’m confident that if things don’t workout well, this team will switch directions fast – they certainly have proven that they can do that.

    As far as Jeannie running the show, what evidence do we have that she would do a better job than JR? Are we basing this on her relationship with Phil? Last time I checked, she had a PR role with the team. Do we even know if she is capable of running the FO? How about making unbiased personnel decisions? If you think about it, because of her relationship with Phil, one may argue that her opinion on coaching direction may be biased.

    I think that a lot of folks are ignoring the complications that bringing involved in bringing Phil back. From having to bring in a ton of new assistant coaches (who on our staff knows the triangle?? – oh, and his best disciple is now working for the Pacers), to teaching players a complicated system, to implementing that system on a team not built to run the triangle, to Phil’s known health issues, to his salary (remember, this guy is not coming cheap, nor on a one year deal). That’s a whole lot of issues, financial, business and personal, that may reasonably lead the FO to pursue another coach. Sure, Jim made a big mistake by hiring Brown, but he has shown better judgment since. Cut the guy a break.

  84. 1/2 & 1/2, that’s exactly right. Phil’s explanation is not credible (particularly when couple with the “they gave me until Monday to decide” claim), and it calls into question everything else from his statement.

  85. Every have a bad breakup in a marriage or long time girlfriend? Lots of things were said by both parties. Then you go back for a visit after a year or so of not talking. After about an hour you remember why it didn’t work. I believe I just described The Jim Buss/Phil Jackson non-reunion story. Phil can be very intimidating and has that inside track to decision-making, who happened to be Jim’s sister. Never could see Jim moving backwards to being Jerry little boy in the eyes of Phil.

    Don’t forgot the published quote when Phil left Lakers and asked about his relationship with Jim. Something like:

    “Didn’t talk with him for about a year so it was fine”.

  86. Phil without Tex – no titles.

  87. First the Thunder get rid of James Harden and now the Lakers screw Phil Jackson. Strange year for the western conference.

  88. Lol – so tempted to take back what i said yesterday about this board being capable of informed civil debate. Fair enough to debate the merits of pj vs miked but at least get your facts straight.

    Mr pringles (thanks chibibi lol never thought of that during the 5 years while following him in phoenix haha) will do just fine – and hes gotten support from both van gundys, melo, and mike woodson. Svg even phoned mike d and reccomend he keep steve clifford on as steve worked in orlando as a defensive assistant and developed how howard covered for a much weaker orlando defensive team. I think pj is spinning a lot here and listening to kurt rambis rant lol – well it is hollywood afterall – good times good times

  89. This is going to be really, really interesting if we meet the Spurs in the playoffs. Nash and D’Antoni finally beating the Spurs as Lakers.

    Seriously though, I like this signing more and more. We would have heard so much about the Lakers family in-fighting once Phil was back with Lazenby reporting leaks and stuff every week (I like his book though). Also, Kobe needs to win one without Phil to further embellish his legacy and do what Jordan couldn’t 😉

  90. Darius,

    Please tell me you’re going to be awesome and do a, Xs and Os breakdown of D’Antoni’s offense and how it’ll be implemented with this roster. Defense too, hopefully?!?!

    Looks like Nick from Basketball Breakdown got off to a head’s start:


  91. s@harold – nash got over the spurs in ’10 when they swept the spurs (dragic dropped 23 in a quarter!) and nash got misty eyed then so i think he’s past that hump but im sure d’antoni would prob grin a little if it came to pass. Suns should have won in 08 – cept tim duncan hit a game tying 3 to force triple overtime and that loss was too heart breaking to overcome.

  92. It will come down to 2 things: whether Nash will be healthy enough to play the necessary minutes in the playoffs, and offensive rebounding.

  93. Since many hours pass since the hiring of Coach Mike D’Antoni..So many articles, videos, commentaries, feedback coming from many forms medium via internet, newspaper, social networking sites..At first i was shock becaue i taught (like many TRUE LAKER FANS all over the world) will hire the greatest coach in professional sports which is Coach Phil Jax…Then there is the reality that they hire coach Mike D.I have nothing to say to coach Phil is has it all, we cannot take the success with his name,,the future HALL OF FAME coach,, For me based on what i observed, coach Mike D could give this current Laker team a chance to win the championship..As we go by the history of Coach Mike D’Antoni coaching career..i can say it is a good one…the Suns offense is a high octane one, they cant win the championship because of so many reason specially the suspension of Amare and Bell that time,,,in new york we all know its a management decision, they want LBJ but they end up with Melo…The USA Mens Olympic basketball team as we all witness is a fast pace offensive execustion that has a player or two that spread across the 3 point line(they win the Gold medal with a star studded lineup),,We can imagine the offense he will use is the a hybrid of re-incarnation of Showtime Era of Coach Pat Riley SSOL era in Phoenix circa 2004-2008..Nash/Johnson; Kobe/Scott; Metta/Worthy; Pau/Green; Howard/Kareem or Nash/Nash; Kobe/Johnson; Metta/Bell; Pau/MArion; Dwight/Amare…I can imagine this type of offense will be exciting to watch…So many perception has come out whether negative or positive about the hiring for the new laker tactician,,,let us now wait what will happen in the season…Laker land full of drama..only in hollywood..lets support this team as the season goes thru,,we want a championship coach mike, all the burden is up to u,,,gud luck to this current squad,,

  94. Jackson added that he never discussed contractual terms in his meeting with Kupchak and Buss on Saturday. His agent Todd Musburger later told ESPN that he felt Jackson’s reported demands — including a salary in line with his previous Lakers contracts, more say over personnel decisions and the ability to skip some road games — had been leaked to the media by the Lakers or D’Antoni’s representative
    I see: so NO demands, huh? then what was leaked? Phil’s the liar, here (although he should fire his agent for making that so apparent)

  95. I’ll be honest here. I’m a Phil Jackson guy. I think he is the greatest coach in the history of the NBA. Having said that (showing my bias openly) I claim that he would have given the Lakers the best chance to win a championship this year and the next. Not pocket aces Robert. 🙂 It’s more like PJ would be flopping a flush draw. I am just not sure that D’Antoni’s system will suit this team as it’s currently constructed. I don’t know if you guys noticed this, but Nash is older and slower than he was when he was killing the Lakers 5 years ago. I have never seen Nash get his pocket picked like he has a couple times so far this year. Just straight up *picked while bringing the ball up court.

    So, now instead of having a system like the Princeton or Triangle, where Nash is not the full time initiator, we will live or die by Nash’s health and age. This is a scary proposition to me. I’m ready to roll with it though….I will say this- we are probably going to have a lot of fun watching this team if D’Antoni’s offense really takes off! Go Lakers! Get on board or get outta the way.

  96. Harold – “Also, Kobe needs to win one without Phil to further embellish his legacy and do what Jordan couldn’t”

    Kudos for a great line!

  97. at the end of the day, we all wish Kobe wil win his 6th ring with his coach Mik D’Antoni…its all that matter to the Laker fanatics..

  98. Kobe Bryant (via Facebook)
    “It’s been a wild week to say the least.
    I’m happy to have closure and can’t wait to get to work with Coach D’Antoni.. spacing, ball movement. And despite the chatter, I believe we will be phenomenal defensively. I’m looking forward to getting started with him and his staff this week.
    Mamba out”

    Time for everyone to shut up and have some patience;)

  99. At his most succesful, D’antoni has never won a conference finals. Even when the Steve Nash offense was humming, they didn’t get all that far.

    I think he is a good coach. I just don’t see any indications of greatness or that he has had anything beyond moderate success in the NBA(and I think Nash was the reason behind that offensive system running so swiftly).

    Two more things. Defense win championships. The playoffs get sloooow. The only stalwart, superstar defender on the Lakers is Dwight Howard. Kobe, Nash, and Blake are a weak backcourt on defense. Tony Parker, Chris Paul, and Westbrook will blow by them like nothing during the playoffs.

    The reason that the Lakers initially hired Brown was because of his defensive abilities. They are throwing that out the door with D’antoni.

    I sense that the Lakers are throwing things at the wall and seeing what sticks, especally cause Kobe is almost done. It takes multiple seasons to examine what is working and what is not working, and then to adjust accordingly. I think that if this team is going to win a championship next year, the roster is still going to need some big changes to account for top heaviness, age, a weak bench, and lack of chemistry.

  100. @jim – reread the posts prior to yours as multiple people have refuted the overblown claims regarding lack of defense. A strong team d will develop as people finally get some real time together – in the mean time, there will be a strong offense in place to run up the win column, get the bench involved, and get some easy wins so that the top 5 get some rest. in regards to playoffs – bench strength means nothing and is pretty much neutralized as the game slows down and the 5 best players are on the flr 80 percent + of the time. And yes pace of play does slow down at times – and guess what – the Lakers now have 3 of the best operators in the half court in Kobe, Nash, and Pau w the best post finisher in Howard. I think they’ll be ok.

  101. Look for everyone claiming Phil leaked things – I think his comments and those of his agent are as close to reality as we will get – Mitch will have some explaining to do tomorrow when they have the press conference because no way would an agent blow up the way that Phil’s did at the Lakers unless they had some kind of verbal agreement in place.

    Even Kurt Rambis talking about how Phil was trying to visualize the season is something that we had seen in past seasons means that he was taking a very serious look at it and with it coming out that he was going to say yes by the given time that they had agreed upon leaves a real sour taste in everyone’s mouth who still respects the man that brought us 5 titles.

  102. I think one guy who will benefit enormously will be Darius Morris. He’s always looked like a run-and-gun point guard. Every time he got it last season he jumped up and down in frustration that his teammates weren’t running to the other side of the court. He just looked like he wanted to go on a break so bad. Now he’ll get his chance, and hopefully, under Nash’s tutorship, he’ll learn some.

  103. I’ve been thinking about Darius Morris and how much I am liking the little strides in his game. I like him attacking the rim as it often gives our great rebounding bigs (DH12, Pau, Hill) a chance at put backs. He attacks with quickness, which this team has been needing and will need if the 7SOL principles will be run. He can catch and shoot a little behind the three. There is no reason to think that he won’t continue to grow into these skills. He plays D with athleticism and bodies up. This team could use that kind of energy at the 1. Right now Morris is at about 10 minutes a game and I would, were I a coach, think about keeping his minutes right around there and let Nash start at 20 minutes a game. I slowly grow Nash out to 25-30 minutes. If Blake starts off getting 18 minutes, I would not mind it at all if it were his minutes that shrunk as Nash’s grew and then see where the rotation is in Feb-March. By the time the playoffs come around I know what everybody brings. Nash can maybe handle more minutes and I sub with Blake and Morris depending on match-ups. I have no doubt that we’ll need Blake’s 3-point shooting in the playoffs, but if Morris can get consistent out there, we have a more complete player to sub in for Nash. If not, we still have a Blake that has had regular run and brings some veteran something-or-other… I don’t know. He just brings his Blakeness. Maybe Blake is this team’s Vujacic with an angry face instead of a smug one.

    “Seeing that nothing is ever just itself”
    (All the D’Antoni talk has everyone talking Pau in the Diaw role, Artest is the Marion with better looking shot that somehow is more then slightly less reliable, Dwight is the STAT that plays monster defense but no touch on the ball outside of 8-10 feet, Nash is Old Nash).

    …Oh can I say something about Nash? The greatest trick he ever played is in getting grown men so comfortable catching a ball with saliva all over it that he raises their shooting efficiency. He is a great, great man…

    Seeing as nothing is ever itself (except for Nash) I want to know who our Tim Thomas will be. I’m sure one of you guys in the comment section must know. I want to know who is going to victimize a fanbase with a ball tipped out to him with time running out and nailing a dagger. This hiring must mean what we saw already is just waiting to happen again exactly as we remember it. We’ve had Horry, and really Tim Thomas is the Disappointed Man’s Rober Horry, but every run has a magic moment. Some current role player will have one. They are preparing themselves right now. Someone in a playoff game will find himself in a play, by design or a broken one, but comparable to ones we saw in smaller moments. It’ll be something comparable to something the player has done in practice. Something comparable to all the great moments we’ve already had as fans of this team, and this is where I think I grow bored of comparisons. D’Antoni is not Phil, and Phil is not Riley, and Riley isn’t Auerbach, and Brown isn’t anything like any of them. I’m looking forward to seeing what is really going to happen and not think much more of the coulda, woulda, shoulda, and the “I was expecting something else, so this must suck”. Not going to spend time comparing all the interchangeable opinions either. I’ll make my comps after I see what happens. Maybe there won’t be a comp.

  104. If Phil Jackson had never come into the picture, I’d have been very happy with the D’Antoni hire. It’s hard to imagine who else I’d rather have, of the available coaches.

    The (not very good) way this has played out illuminates a lot of problems the Lakers have in the front office (mostly Jim Buss), but for the guys on the floor this year I think it will work out fine.

  105. P. Ami: easy. Our Tim Thomas will be Antawn Jamison. Watch the clutchness.

  106. The die is cast. Now it is up to the players to play up to their capabilities. Winning has to be their priority. This team has enough pieces to be in the hunt. No excuses. It begins tonight.

  107. Rubenowski & P. Ami…..

    Agree with your comments about Darius Morris. I like his speed and size on defense at the 1. I especially like the way he avoids the initial screen on the opponent’s pick and roll and stays in front of his man. He has got to learn to resist the urge to double-team the post at the expense of leaving his man free for the kick-out, though. He’s got to stay with his man, especially against a team like SA which specializes in the corner three.

  108. Interesting from Yahoo Sports
    Jackson wanted to humiliate Lakers vice president Jim Buss far more than he wanted to coach the team. He wanted significant allowances on travel, coaching duties and an ability to veto player personnel moves that didn’t fit his vision. With an unprecedented 11 coaching championships, Jackson had every right to make unprecedented demands. He doesn’t have the right to be surprised when the Lakers rejected them and hired a pliable, cheaper coach in Mike D’Antoni.
    “Phil wanted Jim Buss to walk away with his tail between his legs,” one source with knowledge of the discussions told Yahoo! Sports. “He thought he had time to still negotiate with them, and see how much they would give him.”

  109. Sorry that was from Adrian Woj. and I feel it’s right on the money. Phil played poker with the wrong family and they caught his very obvious tell.

    A bluff is only a bluff when it works otherwise it’s a just a embarrassing loss.

  110. BOTTOM LINE: Mike D > Mike B.

    Stop worrying about what ifs with Phil an realize that this is an improvement nonetheless.

  111. Ko,

    I read that article on Yahoo and it “feels” right to me. We know how things ended with Phil and how ugly it got. Is Phil the kind of guy to come back peacefully? I sort of doubt it. I don’t think the FO or Jim Buss specifically are without blame over the past couple of years, but Jim has agreed to significant changes in the hopes of winning now, including ones that I did not think he would make (Bynum and Brown the two biggest). I personally am shocked that the Lakers even seriously considered Phil at all, given the fallout from 2011.

  112. This is what it is. We can debate who would be better for the team. I think “most” would give the nod to Phil, but D’Antoni is a very reasonable choice and some prefer him. The way this was handled was ridiculous, and it could have been Jim’s fault, could have been Phil’s fault, and could have been a combination. The fact that our relationships with our legends Phil, Jerry, Magic, Kareem, Shaq, etc. is very shaky, also is what it is. Everyone knows how ,much I hate the C’s, but can anyone imagine that a situation like this could have happened to Red A in Boston? Do the Celtics and Spurs have ex-players and coaches openly criticizing them like we do? The Spurs have ex-players willing to literally fight for them : ) Again, it is what it is. We are the LAL and overall I wouldn’t have it any other way : ) Let’s root for a win tonight.

  113. If Phil had more reasonable demands, would have been interesting to see who Laker management would have took then, because to me it would then be a no brainer to pick Phil Jackson. But it is what it is. I am going to get behind Mike D and trust he is going to get this team to play great with amazing offense and……well….ok defense lol. Lets all hope for the best.

  114. Robert,

    I think that’s a very well stated post. I think the gradual leadership change from Dr. Buss to Jim has definitely impacted the evolving nature of the organization, particularly with such a strong figure as Phil Jackson in the mix. It’s really too bad that things could not have played out differently the past few years, but I guess at some point owners / GMs / coaches have to go their separate ways. Not very often that things work out as they did for Red and the Cs.

    Regardless, agree with you on hopes for the future. #17 would make a lot of this sink into the background.

  115. P. Ami and Kenny T,

    We’ll get our Darius Morris dose tonight. It won’t be in the kind of system we’ll be running with Coach D’Antoni, but at least we’ll be able to see how he’s progressing. Let’s Go Morris!

    It’s time to move on, folks. Showtime is back!

  116. The Lakers made a big mistake not hiring Phil Jackson. Don’t over think it. He is the best coach in the history of the NBA and has the clout to be able to lead four star players.

  117. Defense wins championships. I think there’s ample evidence that D’Antoni never really got that, and maybe this time he’ll be humble enough to make it a priority now that he’s got Dwight.

    But I hope he delegates it to someone else. I read one rumor that Nate McMillan is being offered a position as the defensive coach. That would make a pretty good duo – and certainly gives McMillan an inside track if D’Antoni flops – but it’s step back for McMillan if he wants to be a head coach.

    And does anyone think that the current bench is sufficient for a title run? I think more tinkering needs to be done, and right now, I can’t see many teams wanting to help the Lakers, especially given Howard’s contract status.

  118. Aaron – so what? They made a mistake. Mike Dantoni is an improvement over Mike Brown. Let’s move on.

  119. Glad to see most of Laker Nation rallying behind Mike D even if he wasn’t everyone’s first choice (in his first LA interview the coach himself said that he has several close friends who are Laker fans and even THEY were disappointed…showing that the guy at least has a good sense of humor).

    I think the team will be better offensively under MDA than the would have under Phil, certainly in the early weeks and months. Everyone seems to acknowledge that defense will be the key and is the area where MDA does not have the reputation. My hope is that this team will be better defensively than anything MDA has shown before simply by virtue of the defensive talent that this team has that his prior teams didn’t have. With Kobe, MWP, and DH12, the Lakers have some great individual defenders, and I think that increased effort is where the improvement will come from (more than scheme).

    More than strategy, defense is about effort, and whether we like it or not players almost always play harder on defense when they are engaged and making shots on offense. The new offense should be a much greater source of defensive inspiration than what we’ve seen throughout the preseason and first 5 games under Brown, where the guys were out of sorts on O and correspondingly lethargic on D.

    A final word on PJ: it is entirely possible that the front office was wary of starting another countdown to the end of PJ’s contract. Recall that two years ago was a very disjointed year, with a lot of distractions about it being the last year of Jackson’s contract. By the time the season ended (in humiliation, with a team that was outplayed AND outcoached) none other than PJ himself said that it was a “relief” that this had finally ended. Signing Phil to a 2 year deal would mean that this countdown to the “final year” would begin in less than a year, and if the idea was to have a guy on staff to take over the reins from Phil, that required the team to pick TWO coaches this weekend–one for the next two years, and on to succeed PJ, and that might have been more than the team was willing to deal with (when combined with PJ’s reported demands). By comparison, hiring the cheaper MDA might have been viewed as a much easier decision to make under these circumstances….

  120. PJ’s not coming back it’s time to move on. It wasn’t a for sure thing Lakers win the title had he been named coach. A great coach and manger of men got all the credit for winning but no blame when Lakers lost. Every year Lakers didn’t win it was epic fails. Blowout loss in 03, Embarrassed in 04, Blowout loss in 06, Embarrased in 07, Blowout loss in 08, Blowout loss and embarassed in 11. Five titles are what’s most important but why does he never get any blame for his teams absolutely getting thrashed those years? It wasn’t all roses it’s time for a new guy to try and take Lakers to the ship. Nobody believed in Spoelstra either it’s time we back our new guy D’Antoni.

  121. Exactly. Time to move on. We can only lament so much for so long.

  122. The mistake was reaching out to Phil in the 1st place. That dude checked out 2 years ago, why even bother going back after him. Mike D will bring back showtime and Lakers will just blow out teams and get the starters valuable rest for the playoffs when they will be nice and fresh!

  123. Wonder who the 4th star is that Aaron is referring to since he keeps on saying Gasol is just a guy now. Maybe it’s his new crush Morris since Goudelock is not longer here!

  124. I was never sold on the coming back of the triangle, really. With the current roster, even Barry B is doing a good job: Let them play!

  125. It’s Jim Buss’s toy. You buy, you break.