Mike D’Antoni Era Brings As Many Questions As Answers

Darius Soriano —  November 15, 2012

There are so many angles to the Mike D’Antoni hire that it’s nearly impossible to cover them all in a single sitting. The nature of his hire, whether he is — as the the front office claims — the right man for the job, how he’ll manage the heat of real championship expectations….I could go on and on.

But while those are mostly off court questions, it’s the on court ones that pique my interest. D’Antoni is a splendid coach that’s had a lot of success in this league. The top of the mountain has not yet been reached by any of his teams but that doesn’t diminish his quality, it only speaks to what his teams were able to accomplish.

But in Los Angeles, and with these Lakers, he has another shot to get where he wants to go. But to get there, several questions will need to be answered. Here’s a sampling…

1. Can he maximize his big men? The parallels between Dwight Howard and Amar’e Stoudemire are obvious. Both are athletic freaks who offer dominant roll man options in D’Antoni’s most used offensive action. And while he’s not the same caliber of athlete, Pau Gasol offers a similar option when operating the pick and roll. Both can be fantastic finisher in this play with Howard bringing the type of explosive dives to the rim that collapse defenses and Pau being a player that can slide into any quadrant of the court and be a scorer or passer after setting a ball screen.

But these players will also need more than P&R opportunities to be at their best. Both are very good post up options that can score in single coverage and create the types of mismatches that make defenses adjust their schemes. Howard has shown over the course of his career that simple power moves when isolated on the block create easy baskets while putting the opposing front court in foul trouble. Pau has shown he can work from the elbows and either low block to great effectiveness and getting him to his preferred spots would help him thrive.

Can sets be designed to take advantage of these players skills? Can it happen when both share the floor? These are questions that even Phil Jackson would have struggled to answer (lineup data shows that Phil played Lamar Odom with either Pau or Bynum at twice the rate he played Pau and Bynum together) so it’s not like this is some easily solvable riddle.

2. How will rotations be deployed and what will personnel groupings look like? One of my pet peeves with Mike Brown was his over-reliance on his starters and how that filtered down to a bench unit that never seemed to have his trust. D’Antoni also has a history of leaning on his starters heavily and playing a short rotation that featured his best players for extended period.

This Lakers’ team, however, needs more balance between starters and bench production. The reserves need their time on the floor not just because their production is needed but because the Lakers’ starters need their rest. Since the moment that Nash and Howard were both acquired, I’ve lobbied for staggered units that featured at least two of the big four on the floor at all times. The arguments is that their elite skills can augment the more specified ones of the bench players to create units that can carry the game against the groupings the other team deploys.

Under Mike Brown, we didn’t see this. Of course Nash was injured in the 2nd game and we didn’t get a chance to see this play out (though when all big four were available, we still didn’t see this). But D’Antoni will (hopefully) have his full arsenal of players available to him soon and my advocacy for this approach remains high. Spreading out his stars should allow them enough time to rest while still optimizing the strengths of his bench players to the point that they can provide a positive impact.

3. How will spacing issues be accounted for? The Lakers aren’t a great shooting team. Their best shooter is Nash but the presumption is that in this offense he’ll have the ball much more than he did in Mike Brown’s (or what Phil Jackson’s Triangle) offense. This fact will sure affect spacing because if Nash has the ball more, the other four players are spacing the floor for him rather than him contributing to the spacing because he’s working off the ball.

Do the Lakers have enough shooting to give themselves the room they’ll need to run a P&R heavy offense? At first glance, the answer to that question is no. Of the starters, only Kobe demands respect beyond the three point line and defenses have already shown a penchant for leaving Gasol and Artest to crash the paint and blitz the strong side when they run P&R’s. D’Antoni’s sets provide a natural element of space that is aided by the defensive three second rule but the question of whether this will be enough remains.

Wit the above question unresolved, the next logical one is whether the need to get more shooting on the floor affects the playing time of players who are currently key members of the rotation. Will Ron still be a guy that closes games? Will Jodie Meeks earn more minutes? Jamison? Will Jordan Hill still be a major player for this team? (This latter question is one that I’ve thought about a fair amount. Hill is a monster on the offensive glass and, ahead of Gasol, their 2nd best big man defending the P&R. He helps the team immensely when he’s on the floor and I hope his minutes aren’t affected.)


These are just a few of the questions racing through my mind. Over the coming days (and over the remainder of the year) we’ll cover more and look to answer some of them ourselves. Today, when D’Antoni is introduced as head coach I’m sure he’ll also discuss some of these topics and expand into other areas in which he hopes to improve the team. But as those questions get answered, more will remain and we’ll still need to see this team play on the floor.

Darius Soriano

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to Mike D’Antoni Era Brings As Many Questions As Answers

  1. Phil has used the triangle system his entire career and the only time he made adjustments for his players’ skillset was when he had Shaq – a player too dominant, but more limited than Michael Jordan, and thus requiring an adjustment by the coach. This is a key (IMO) to why Phil did not develop rookies well – he needed players who already knew the NBA because they were going to have to also adjust to his system – he didn’t like it when they had to learn both those things.

    I posit that Mike D’Antoni has been the more flexible coach over his career. If I am correct, the Buss’s get both a more ‘showtime-like’ team and a coach who can adjust to his talent better. Mike’s personality is more geared to finding what his players do best, then fitting them into those slots in his system. Since his system has more flexibility, his players thrived faster. This is a critical Lakers need this year.

    Mike maximizes his players skills fairly quickly. This is a key talent that the Lakers really need to take advantage of this year. It, along with his faster paced offense, is why I – personally – think Mike D. was the first choice from the start of the coaching search.


  2. I’m still scratching my head about this whole Brown->Jax->D’Antoni thing.

    By all accounts, our defense was horrible. So, we get rid of an ostensibly defense-first coach, to usher in one who is, at best, average defensively. Sure, I understand the good offense leading to good defense dictum, but I thought our offense was actually good when it worked (turnovers notwithstanding).

    Now, coming back to the topic du jour, I agree with Darius – Jordan Hill must play significant minutes. The more I think of it, we don’t need a backup PG – we have an adequate one in #24. And if you buy what I’m selling, what we need from that 3rd guard is good defense, and good shooting.On paper, Meeks is that guy, which explains why I haven’t given up on him yet. I think he needs to settle into a rhythm, So, if we can stagger minutes between Kobe/Dwight and Nash/Pau, we could have an adequate 9 man rotation:

    Dwight/Jordan/Ron/Meeks/Kobe, and

    So our big’s rotation would be Dwight/Pau/Jordan and our guard rotation would be Kobe/Nash/Meeks.

    That back-up SF position is something that needs to be decided (or shared) between Ebanks and Jamison. Yes, I know Jamison is woefully inadequate as a SF, but I’m looking at no more than 16 minutes, mostly to be played against the opponent’s second string.

    This would ensure that our starters play no more than 32 minutes each, we have at least 2 of them on the floor at all times, and have enough shooting to space the floor.


  3. classic d’A moment from the press conference– he said something like that better teams should run as many plays as possible to reduce the ‘margin of error’– i guess the thinking is that if the odds are 53 percent in your favor, the overall odds increase the more you roll– i.e., you’re better off with 1000 dice rolls than with just a few. It was very un-Phil like, I must say.


  4. Magic Johnson stated that he does not believe in Jim Buss, and made his feelings known about Jim choosing D’antoni over Phil.

    It’s unfortunate that Jim’s personal feud with Phil, and possiby Jeannie, got in the way of doing what is best for the team.

    I really hope Dantoi has evolved as a coach, because if he is the same coach from NY, he won’t make it here in LA.


  5. LT mitchell,
    Just how do you know that Magic knows what he is talking about? Sounds more like Magic has issues with Jim Buss, than that he knows anything more than the rest of us. Magic, specifically, was not in any way involved with this decision. People with contacts within the Laker organization have repeatedly said Jerry Buss was intimately involved with the decision to hire Mike D. Yet we fans just assume that Magic’s comment is the ‘last word’ on what happened.

    None of us really know. Most likely – neither does Magic.


  6. I believe we made the correct hire in D’Antoni. We may or may not win it all, but having Phil would not have guaranteed or improved our chances as I think we had enough top talent to begin with, and that if we are without injury, the tightened rotations would have taken care of a lot of the deficiencies in the playoffs.

    The one thing that needs to be done, and i keep bringing this up because new evidence supporting it seems to crop up every day like Phil employing Lamar-Pau twice as often as Pau-Bynum (injuries and whatnot surely played a role in this), is that Pau should be used as a center.

    Team Spain didn’t have both Gasols at the same time when they were at their best, our teams never had Gasol paired with Bynum when we were at our best. The problem Pau has is aggravated now that he is older and more easily tired. We need a stretch 4 with Dwight and an athletic one with Pau, both of which would have been solved had we still had pre-09 Odom, but hopefully Hill will do.

    The FO probably recognizes this as well as we only got Sacre as our backup big; it’s just a matter of Pau accepting it and the coach accepting it. Dwight will be out with foul trouble a lot and we can still close the game on tight situations with Pau and Dwight at the same time, so minutes should not be a problem… and even if it is, I don’t think Pau playing less than 30 minutes during the regular season will be a ‘problem’


  7. Lt Mitchell: Agreed. Forget the reasons for the feud and whose fault it is, the fact that it exists is bad for the Lakers. Our owner and our legend coach do not get along. Not good.

    Alex: from previous thread. Exactly. Magic is the Lakers. The fact that there is now a rift between him and management is also a shame.

    I want to move forward, however I am not going to throw Phil, Magic, Rambis, Shaw, James Worthy, and all the others (list too long) who criticize this FO, under the BUSS, in the name of moving forward. These guys are our history. They are our legends. What next? Should we rename the team so we can have a clean break with Phil, the Triangle, and all of the HOF Lakers who support him?


  8. Trying to implementing the triangle at this point of the year would be very difficult this season, due to the practice and time constraints. Combine that with the age of Kobe and Nash, the length of Kobe’s contract and his indications that he will retire at its end, the strong potential of Phil not coaching past 2013-4, the lack of Tex Winter (which, IMO, is a significant negative to hiring Phil as coach), a (presumably) pieced-together coaching staff (as opposed to the very strong, hand-picked, many years with Phil staff that was typical of his teams), and the result of Jackson’s last season with the Lakers. That looks like a very low probablility of a title this season, likely somewhat better chance in 2013-4, and then a probable new coach for 2014-5. D’Antoni would very likely mean a higher probability of a title this season then Jackson, at least as good the next year, and (assuming reasonable level of success) would continue on the following year.

    Don’t give so much weight to Phil’s previous titles that they overshadow the likely outcome of the next 2-4 years.


  9. D’Antoni: “If you have best team, why not play most possessions you can play?”. Maximize your talent – attack always and make the other team respond – and by putting points ont he board that helps give some breathing room for the defense and allows the bench to get out there.

    As far as Magic is concerned.. sigh.. i get it, – he’s part of Laker history and lore and yes the lakers did bungle things with Phil w a little – though i seriously believe that they really didn’t want him and they were damned if they did interview him and damned if they don’t. But Magic’s behaviour and tweets are coming off as incredibly childish. Funny he mentions that Buss is making “critical mistakes ” w the coaching hires of t Mike D and Mike Brown – who have both had good success in this league and are excellent coaches despite the events of the last couple weeks. Considering Magic went 5-11 in his coaching career and was a coach killer for Paul Westhead – i believe Magic didn’t believe Westhead was the best fit for him and chafed at how the team ran – what right does he have to say anything regarding the coaching choices of Mitch and Jim.

    Magic doesn’t realize that the Lakers are moving forward – and at some point they have to move beyond Phil. The only two Lakers on the roster in 3 years are Nash and Dwight – if he resigns – like it or not there has to be a plan for year 3 and beyond and Phil wasn’t going to be part of that.

    in regards to Shaw – really? does anyone think that would’ve been a good hire for this team? an assistant coach with no head coach experience who now has to deal with a roster and point guard that are all more talented and possibly basketball minds than him? Do you really think he would be the appropriate one to develop an offense that fits this team when all he knows is Phil J’s version of the triangle? Shaw may make a good head coach some day – but he’s not the guy to lead a veteran team in a win now mode to a championship. Magic and a lot of Laker Nation need to start viewing this long term and be thankful that at least management not only swung for the fences personnel wise this summer – and that they at least have a plan going forward – instead of being a mess in 2 years and held hostage by another PJ Fiasco


  10. I also love all the legends, Magic is however wrong to state is opinion like that in public. It made him look foolish. To say he loves the way the Dr does things but not Jim is fine, but for Magic to acually think that Jim Buss decided on his own to make those changes is crazy. Ther is no way that happened.


  11. Even James Dolan doesn’t look that bad now that the Knicks are doing fine without Jeremy Lin, so I’m going to give Buss the benefit of the doubt here, especially after signing both Nash and Howard, as well as dumping Lamar, Luke and Fisher.


  12. Magic was an awesome player, great business man, a community hero and so much more…. but part of his greatness is his marketing savvy and his ability to get folks a lot smarter than him to run his business. From a purely NBA business point of view, I would not put too much stock on what he says. Dude has never been a major FO player in the NBA (he owned a “silent” 4.5% of the Lakers) and there are probably a million reasons good and bad why that was the case. Even now with the Dodgers, he is a 2.5% marketing figure head, not in charge of player decisions nor coaching ones (why would he be, he’s not a baseball player). That’s not an insult to the guy, that’s just reality. I love Magic, but my love for him as a Laker does not blind me to reality or give him a free pass on anything. Saying that Phil “is owed more than that” is not enough. Unless he provides some well reasoned arguments as to why Phil is a better fit than D’antoni, I’m not buying it.

    I understand the love for Phil (I too love the guy), but I don’t understand how that love can blind a lot of folks into believing that Phil – and no one else – is the right coach for this team *as currently staffed* and given the goal to go as far as possible this year.

    I think Craig W expresses some very valid points about why Phil, as great as he is, is not the right guy for this team right now. I have my doubts about D’antoni, but I recognize he was the best option available at this junction of the season. Is D’Antoni better than Phil? Ha! NO. But his system is a better fit for this team right now.


  13. Time to move forward – D’Antoni is being classy – keeping all the staff on that want to stay and only bringing in one other guy (his brother), and said he’d reach out to Magic for feedback on playing uptempo. He’s rising above the mess. Time for Magic etc.. to let it all go and support the team that is.


  14. Looks like DirecTV just didn’t want to make its customers watch Mike Brown’s brand of basketball. Looking forward to having a game to watch, finally, on the late night DVR tomorrow.


  15. Marc J. Spears ?@SpearsNBAYahoo

    Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said they should average 110-115 points per game

    Good to hear!


  16. Sam Amick: Mike D’Antoni showing why players love him in discussing Jodie Meeks: “The only time (he) needs to shoot it is when he touches the ball…” Twitter @sam_amick

    i think the bench guys will get some chances to show what they can bring


  17. harold: I am not re-questioning the decision. I moved on. I am questioning the way it was handled and continues to be handled by the entire Laker family. We can debate on a blog, but our legends, our management, and our writers/announcers should not all be taking sides and throwing rocks. It is not good, and management, like it or not is a the center of it. This doesn’t mean it is all their fault, but all fights/rifts require at least two parties by definition. If you are in a lot of fights it isn’t always the other persons fault.
    Lou: Yes – Magic is not helping here either, but why is he doing that? Why is Rambis saying the things he is saying? Why is their such a deep divide with Phil? Why does Kareem feel shunned? Why does Worthy feel the way he does? Are all these guys completely wrong and Jim Buss is correct? He might be, but the fact that the Laker family is fractured is not good and signing D12 (as much as I liked it and kissed the ring) does not give the FO the right to damage our name, break links with our HOF players, and treat our legendary coach and his system like a pariah.


  18. Jerke: I support D’Antoni as well. I also think that it is not just the coach, but the players must do their part as well. I am not sure how this would be backpedaling on anything I or Magic said. He is a Laker legend and I am a Laker fan. We are both saying we are supporting them moving forward.

    I hereby pledge not to bring this up in any game threads or summaries, but if the threads are all about this – I will continue to present my pro-Laker (Phil, Magic, James, etc are favorite past Lakers) argument.


  19. One aspect I haven’t heard discussed much is how Phil always got a little burned out at the end of every season. Whether we put up another banner or not, he was always deciding if he was going to come back for another year. With Dwight unsigned I think it was even more important that we have a coach and staff that we knew were going to be around for a few years. Even if he had signed for 2, I think there would’ve still been the uncertainty of him staying for both.


  20. It´s good to see D´Antoni handling this in a `classy´ way because that & winning championships is what our Lakers are all about – now let´s get this juggernaut a´rolling! (nice insights everyone, thanks)


  21. @jerke – I enjoyed it when D’Antoni was talking about Meeks, basically saying the only reason the guy’s in the league is that he can let it fly, so why not give him a chance to do what he does best? This really played into his overall philosophy which is don’t make it any harder than it needs to be. It’s simplistic and he admitted as much – he’s not about to actually start giving it all away his first day on the job. It was only a presser but it’s a nice change from Mike Brown’s way of micro-management.


  22. There are so many inaccuracies in today’s posts, I can barely count them all.

    – Dwight publicly lobbied for Phil, so if anything, hiring Phil would have increased the chances of Dwight signing with the Lakers, not the other way around.

    – Magic got rid of his coach, and in hindsight, hiring Pat Riley was the correct decision. His desire for a coaching change actually strengthens the argument that he has an understanding of what type of coach is needed.

    – Magic has been the face of the Lakers for almost four decades, and built the NBA, along with Bird. He can say whatever the heck he wants. He’s earned that right.

    – when Phil first joined the Lakers, people had concerns about the team learning the Triangle, but the team started the season on a blistering pace. To suggest that this team has a better chance at a ring with D’Antoni over Phil is ummmmmm… interesting.

    – Kobe, Dwight and the fans wanted Phil, Jim did not……simple as that.


  23. I’m with Robert. The fact this whole situation is happening is a bad sign. I watched the Clippers blow out Miami last night. Don’t let that 107-100 final score fool you. CP3 and Blake were probably doing crossword puzzles on the bench for the entire 4th quarter as the game was out of reach. They have now blown out Miami, San Antonio, and the Lakers. They are forming their identity as a deep team with a lot of athleticism.

    Meanwhile the schizophrenic Lakers are going through yet another system change. Once again front office drama is getting in the way of basketball. And all Laker Nation is talking about is Phil/Magic vs. Buss/Dantoni, etc. Its one big interconnected distraction.

    I’m still waiting on Howard to look like Superman. I’m still waiting for Nash to play meaningful minutes. I’m still waiting on Gasol to be revert back to the consistent game changer he used to be. The only bright spot so far has been Kobe. I’m still trying to figure out if this is truly a championship caliber team. So far, the names (outside of Kobe) haven’t lived up to the hype. And that all can’t be blamed on Brown.


  24. Sorry robert – wasn’t remarking towards your comments, just Magic is sounding a lot more concilliatory towards the decision after looking like a jerk before – hard not to when Dantoni goes out of his way to ph you up and say hi and reach out to you. That would’ve been just about an awkward convo for Magic as calling Phil in middle of the night lol. The whole thing is just ill befitting someone who supposedly is part of the Lakers actual organization. As for Rambis I almost wonder if he has a little triangle fever on the brain – remember, he tried to install it in Minnesota with disasterous results due to a roster that wasn’t a good fit for it (and his own inability to adjust and see that it wouldn’t work) and I wonder if he feels that is an indictment that the system can’t work with everyone and therefore he wanted a second chance (via PJ) to prove that it could work with a very different set of players and a premier point.


  25. Too young to know this but when Westhead was fired and replaced by Riley what was the sentiment in LA at that time? What it as much doubt and panic then as it is now? Please educate me


  26. @ kevin – my impression wasn’t one of desperation – Magics first year they went 60-22, won a “chip under westhead. Next year they lost in First round w a record of 54-28. Next season they started 7-4 and fired Westhead with a winning record and turned it over to Riley who went 50-21 rest of the way and won the Finals. Obviously, media coverage etc.. is diff now so we don’t get the ful story but at the time Magic was seen to have instigated a coaching change because he didn’t agree w westhead – he wanted to play more uptempo.

    This is such a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

    excellent summary here


  27. Magic is my all-time fave player but he is just embarassing as a TV analyst and spokesperson. I can’t believe ESPN and TNT pay him in this capacity. He needs to stick to cheerleading next to Dyan Cannon and running his movie theaters. His recent comments are just divisive and just add fuel to the fire. It’s not like he has a coaching track record to stand on. Just like his buddy, Isiah Thomas, he needs to stay in his lane. I trust the judgement and voice of reason of the core group of FB & G posters more than Magic Johnson.


  28. Jerke: No issues – we are all Lakers, which is what I wish Jimbo, Magic, Rambis, et al would say.
    Kevin: Westhead fell out of favor with the entire team, especially Magic. The town was in favor of giving him the boot. The difference between then and now was the aftermath. Then, we hired Riley which was favored. To bring this forward to today. The Riley hiring would have been like hiring Shaw. However as you know we did not. If we want to retroactively recreate 1982 with what we did today, we would have called Jerry West for the job, publicly humiliated him, and then hired Billy Cunningham to head the team.


  29. Robert: Thanks for the history lesson. So the main issue is not that PJ wasn’t hired but that the fans were led to believe he was being hired then Lakers hired a nemesis in D’Antoni? Both these hirings were upgrades so hopefully Lakers follow a similar path to winning the championshop.


  30. Manny great post. Can’t help and wonder if Mike D had the old Chicago teams or the Shaq, Kobe teams how many rings he would have. Also wonder if Phil had the Suns or Knicks would he have been fired or a winner.

    Phil greatest talent, in my opionion was choosing the team with the most talent at the right time. As for Magic, he has become more annoying and right less often then Barkley.


  31. @ kevin – It seems Lakers seemed t be pretty clear that they did not want to hire J again and were prob set on D’antoni early on – prob is they felt they had to contact PJ and seriously consider him and they bungled handling that. They were sorta screwed in that a portion of the public wanted PJ back regardless what management wanted – but timing and PJ’s misunderstanding that he had more time led to this messed up siutation. Kupchak and the Lakers wanted an immediate “are you in or out” feeling at least from Phil – and he dithered and said I’ll get back to you – and after waiting 24 hrs they called D’Antonis agent (who is also Mike Browns btw) and said lets do a deal. That took some time and between that and a delay in getting the contract faxed and finalized – led to PJ getting a call midnight Sunday – instead of him calling the Lakers on Mon morning only to be told that they picked Mike D regardless.


  32. well put Ko re – Phils talent. I think if he had stuck around with either bulls or someplace else and proved he could do player development or work outside of the triangle/show some flexibility (well and perhaps a little humilty – the mind games get old after awhile) in his schemes then he might be the headcoach today.


  33. Dave McMenamin: Kobe on D’Antoni’s initial message to the team: “Let’s go kick ass.” Twitter @mcten

    Perfect – no games, no ‘we’ll figure it out” – just “lets go kick ass”!!


  34. Good take on D”antoni at my former haunt – http://valleyofthesuns.com/


  35. Ko/Jerke: Let’s not forget that Del Harris had the same team and could not win before Phil got here. Let’s also not forget that Doug Collins had MJ at his athletic peak and could not win the title. Let’s not forget he has 11 rings with essentially 3 different groups of players. Not only 2 more the Red, but the C’s essentially had the same core for that entire time. We are talking about the greatest coach of all time. He has a right to be a little proud. Just like MJ does. Just like Kobe does. Neither has won a title without Phil. I hope that changes.


  36. It’s time to move on. MD’A is our coach and for that reason alone, I, for one, intend to stand by him.

    There are a few things that I’ll be watching intently:

    1. How he manages the mins of Kobe and Nash. During his introductory press conference today, he mentioned something to the effect that he’ll try to monitor their minutes, but that he wouldn’t have a problem having them exceed those minute restrictions in the name of winning games. Understood, but hopefully it’s not to the detriment of our long term success.

    2. How he utilizes the bench. He’s known to have a short rotation, but that might have been do to the personnel that he had in his previous coaching stops. With an older roster, it’s imperative that he maximizes the bench. This will allow the starters to remain fresh and in turn, gives us the best opportunity to succeed.

    3. Practice Patterns. Shaq mentioned this tonight on TNT and from following MD’A when he was coaching here in NY, he doesn’t emphazise tough/hard practices. Shaq said it’s because he wants the players to be fresh for the games, but I wonder (even though he likes and respects MD’A) how this will carry over with Kobe. Particulary if the team isn’t developing as fast as they should be. As we all know, when healthy and able to participate, Kobe cherishes practice and goes hard during them because he knows that it’ll pay off when it counts.

    Though there are more important issues to be mindful of (Defensive philosophy and what type of adjustments he’ll make to his system to match our personnel) these are just a few things that I’ll be watching and in the case of the practices, listening out for.


  37. My problem is how they bungled the whole PJ thing. If they weren’t comfortable with PJ, why were they releasing quotes like saying the job was Phil’s if he wanted it? They did a 180 degree turn at the last second, which is why they are getting criticized.

    If they had gone with D’Antoni in the first place without contacting Phil, I think people would have understood. It would have been implicitly understood that the organization was moving beyond Phil, or that they felt the roster suited D’Antoni’s system better. It was the last second change of mind that looks bad.

    The old adage “Don’t burn bridges when you don’t have to” still stands.


  38. Kevin, just to continue the history lesson – when Westhead was fired in ’82, there was no internet, no proliferation of sports talk radio (local and national), no ESPN. So, although Westhead/Riley was a big story, the only chances the public got to interact with it were by (1) reading the sports page, (2) watching the local sports on the 6 o’clock and 11 o’clock news, and (3) listening to Chick Hearn’s call-in show after the games.

    So there was drama, and I remember being a teenager and being well aware of it, but there was just nowhere near the amount of time and energy spent freaking out about it…or about anything off the court, really. Unlike today, a fan actually spent much more time watching the games – in real time – than dissecting the team. I’m not waxing nostalgic, it was just a totally different world.


  39. For all intense and purposes, let’s give Mike D’Antoni his dues. He was frank and cordial as a newbie even very accommodating to his detractors like Magic. I think Lakers will be in good hands from Mike Brown to Mike D’Antoni, that’s a great leap in coaching style.

    Nonetheless, Magic just blew up his top on what he perceived of Jim Buss. It takes time for Junior to gain respect, he got to earn it fair and square. Next time don’t make announcement at midnight unless you are on Prozac! So if people don’t respect Jim, nothing can be done, you can’t chastise them for what they believed.

    It is also unfair to drag the name of Mike D’Antoni on all this mess and now he’s assigned to clean it up. Let’s all start on 3-5 standing, most probably 4-5 by Saturday.


  40. . The important is let’s see Mike can use young players, if Lakers can’t get better, then Lakers FO have to make a trade, if they won’t then the season is unpredictable, building a championship team is different with building a team with 3 old super stars ( with big salaries).


  41. First off, Magic is probably my favorite Laker of all time after Kareem (that UCLA heritage being the deciding factor), but he each time he talks about the Lakers he sounds more and more like a grumpy old guy. Besides how much credence should we give to a baseball guy? 😉

    After the Mike Brown debacle Lakers, I think I’ll be OK w/ a winning team that’s entertaining to watch…we can talk about rings a little later in the season. I do think where we’re at w/ aging Kobe and having to build a new team identity, D’Antoni will be better able than Phil to develop some of our younger players. And it’s not like the Lakers were world beaters in Phil’s last year.

    Phil may have felt disrespected, and maybe he was. But if I interview someone for a job and they tell me, “Let me think about it…” I’m probably going to look for someone w/ a little more enthusiasm. Though, I know, having a gazillion rings does give him cache.


  42. “I’m still waiting on Howard to look like Superman.”

    A-friggin’-men to that. I can’t count how many times this season — in the few games I’ve been able to watch before this DirecTV spat was resolved — that I’ve seen guys go right at Dwight and score over him. Not power moves by bigs, but guards. He’s played substantial minutes yet the Lakers defense has been awful on many nights.

    Nobody wanted to hear it when this point was raised over the summer and people drank the D12 Kool-Aid, but he’s clearly not the player he was. Let’s hope that’s a matter of still recovering from the injury, more than something LJ-like that will limit him for the rest of his career. Because so far, this version of Dwight Howard has not lived up the hype.


  43. Say what you will about Magic, but I claim he’s been right with his criticisms. A couple years ago he said that the team needed to be ‘blown’ up. I’m pretty sure that he was right and that the FO felt the same way. Pau was traded along with LO for CP3. We all know how that ended…. Magic was also very critical of the hiring of Mike Brown. It seems that he was correct about that too. Now, he says that Mike D’Antoni isn’t a good hire. Here is where I think that he might be going too far. I don’t think that D’Antoni is a ‘bad’ coach per se. He just isn’t as good as Phil Jackson. So, if we take PJ out of the equation, then MD is not a ‘bad’ hire.

    Also- saying that Mike D’Antoni didn’t have good/great teams is laughable. Nash in his prime with Amare and Marion in their primes isn’t chopped liver. Throw in a Barbosa and other ‘decent’ role players and you have a great team.


  44. Some great discussion above. I especially like Jerke’s comments and agree wholeheartedly. The whole ‘Phil didn’t get the job’ brouhaha is overblown. It’s time to move on. Everyone who is a Laker fan recognizes Phil’s contribution to the Laker franchise. That said, he is no longer the coach. The Lakers chose someone else. We can stop bowing or genuflecting or declaring the sky is falling. The fact that Phil feels slighted or thinks he was led on is irrelevant. The fact that Magic is pi**y about it is even more irrelevant. Thank God that Magic Johnson doesn’t run the Lakers. I read Kupchak’s comments following the hire – the Laker brass made a decision regarding who they think is the best person for the job (I happen to agree, concerns about defense notwithstanding – and it looks as if a number of commenters above agree, for good reason). Nothing personal toward Phil, the Lakers knew they’d get heat, and made the decision anyway. Get over it, get on with the season. Let’s see what D’Antoni can do – then we can bellyache if he doesn’t live up to Laker standards.


  45. Since my earlier post was deleted, Ive reposted with some edits. Hope this goes through. In response to today’s posts………..

    – Dwight publicly lobbied for Phil, so if anything, hiring Phil would have increased the chances of Dwight signing with the Lakers, not the other way around.

    – Magic got rid of his coach, and in hindsight, hiring Pat Riley was the correct decision. His desire for a coaching change actually strengthens the argument that he has an understanding of what type of coach is needed. He was also right regarding the hiring of Mike Brown.

    – Magic has been the face of the Lakers for almost four decades, and built the NBA, along with Bird. He can say whatever he darn well pleases. He’s earned that right. All Magic wants is what’s best for the Lakers, so please remember that before attacking him.

    – When Phil first joined the Lakers, people had concerns about the team learning the Triangle, but the team started the season on a blistering pace. To suggest that this team has a better chance at a ring with D’Antoni over Phil is ummmmmm… very optimistic to say the least.

    – Magic, Kobe, Dwight, Jeanie, and the fans wanted Phil….. Jim did not……simple as that.


  46. Mike was one fight and bad decision by refs from being in West Finals with Suns. I think he is better for this team the next 3 years then Phil and his 3 year contract is equal to one year of what Phil wanted.

    Did you really want Rambis coaching several away games just because his wife Linda is Jeanne’s best friend and works for Lakers?

    They made right decision for future of the franchise.


  47. Ko: Like you say – we often agree – but clearly not on this : ) So – OK I get it. Mike D is 0-10 on championships, but that because he had bad teams and bad calls. Phil was 11 out of 20 on championships but that because he had great teams and great luck. None of it had anything to do with talent in either case. You could be right that Mike D was the right choice now and I am good with that, but let’s not try to re-write history to justify it.
    T Rogers: I am still waiting for all those same things you are. I am almost ready to re-evaluate my preseason optimism. Not yet though : )
    Aaron/harold: So the unnamed, possibly disgruntled former player has more credibility than Magic, Rambis, and Worthy. Interesting.
    KenOak: It seems that not everyone on here wanted to see whether that Flush draw would have hit or not. Unfortunately we will get no rabbit cam : )


  48. Robert-
    I still like our chances! I think that there are probably at least 5 teams that have a better chance to win a ‘chip than this Lakers team. (as currently constructed.) I truly believe that PJ would have given this group a better chance than D’Antoni, but it’s still doable!


  49. Robert in no way was I suggesting Mike is a better coach in the past. For this team, at this time I feel he is better. lakers have been one of the lowest scoring teams with fewest shots this year. That was due to Brown’s short comings. I didn’t feel Phil had the energy or desire to change that pattern. There is also the big elephant in the room and it is a possible conflict between Phil and Jim. Who in the name of nepotism do you think wins that one.

    After Brown we Laker fans need LESS drama, more points and a more exciting team. Either way we ate still looking up at Spurs, OKC, Griz and Clips and I feel a more exciting team has a better chance then 2 months of trying to teach the triangle to 10 guys. (yea I count Metta in there since he never learned it before).


  50. As if poor D’Antoni doesn’t have enough pressure, the team that fired him is now on an unbeaten streak. While I still have my doubts about the Knicks, I have to admit getting a win in SA is pretty impressive.

    Suddenly the XMas game has gotten a lot more intriguing…


  51. Ko,

    “Mike was one fight and bad decision by refs from being in West Finals with Suns.”

    He was also one Tim Thomas three pointer away from losing to an eighth seed in the first round while coaching the number one team in the West. The coulda shouldas can go both ways.


  52. Ko: Your Metta comment was very funny. Fair enough on your response.
    KenOak: I agree with the “still like our chances”. However if five teams are better than us, that puts us in “6th” I think we all know how that works : )
    rr: Sorry couldn’t resist getting 6th, a set of quotes, and a smiley all in one sentence.


  53. Well said LT mitchell.


  54. I can only hope fans let go of the Phil stuff soon. No one really knows what happened between the two sides. I find the most plausible explanation is the one that Mitch gave in the aftermath of the entire thing: that at the end of their meeting w/ Phil, he said he’d get back to them by Monday and that Mitch said he was still going to interview candidates. The fact that they moved on without waiting to hear what Phil decided was regrettable for the fans that wanted Phil back but at this point what’s done is done.

    As for the mud slinging in the press, my two cents are that most people wanted Phil back. I’ve said as much about myself (though I’m very much happy with D’Antoni). Magic is talking like someone who didn’t get their choice hired. He sounds like a fan. That’s fine, he’s more than entitled to do that but it’s complicated by the fact that he’s an influential member of the media and of the Lakers’ community. As for Rambis, he was set to join Phil’s staff and is very close to him. The fact that he’d support Phil is not a surprise. I’m not trying to discredit these people. They have their place in Laker lore for a reason. But let’s not act like their word is gospel. As I’ve said, this will play out on the court with how the team plays. Though, I’d add that I can only hope D’Antoni is judged off his own performance and not against some fictional performance that fans created in their minds about what this team would look like under Phil.


  55. Perfect conclusion to this sage Darius. I am 100% behind Mike D because he is not Mike Brown and he IS the Laker coach.

    Also he is a fellow Italian!

    Go get um mike D!


  56. Darius: I also like your post. I am ready to move on. With regard to our new coach, somebody better let him know:

    We do not need any “Pringles”, what we need are “Chips”


  57. Regarding Dwight Howard:

    If a guy that is in perfect condition say tweaks an angle and is out two weeks, upon his return it
    takes him a minimum of 10 games to get his timing and conditioning back. Just wait and watch Steve Nash. Then how much more would it take for a guy to heal, gain confidence, get in shape, get his conditioning, get his timing back on offense and defense after back surgery?

    He’s shown flashes of the old Dwight its just not sustainable for 35 minutes. His muscles are just starting to remember what to do.


  58. What I want people to realize is that Phil was not going to be an automatic championship.

    What was sure was that he was an upgrade from Brown, but hey, D’Antoni is too.

    Now we can argue about who would have given us more chance, and while PJ’s accomplishments are impeccable, so are Kobe’s (5 rings, one MVP), Nash’s (2 MVPs), Dwights (multiple defensive player of the year), and Pau’s (2 rings). But that’s all in the past, and anyone sane would pick LeBron over Kobe when starting a new franchise, pick CP3 over Nash, and Griffin over Gasol(maybe?). The same applies to coaches. PJ is old, routinely struggles with travel, always ponders retirement, and has burnt out and really not his ‘old’ self during the playoffs against the Mavericks, losing his cool, his players and the series.

    Will D’Antoni give us a better chance than Phil? We don’t know. We do know that Phil failed with a younger (albeit hobbled) Kobe, younger Gasol and a better Odom. D’Antoni may fail as well, but then again a core as talented as the Thunder failed, and as great a coach as Pop failed too. We just made an upgrade and have a legit chance. Let’s move on.


  59. D’Antoni’s offensive system seems fatally flawed for this season’s NBA title hopes… to win an NBA championship, the Lakers need to beat OKC and MIAMI…

    to beat OKC you would need to slow down the tempo. This allows for half court sets where they tend to make dumb mistakes on O and D (Russell Westbrook forcing up shots, RW not recognizing the right spots to give Durant the ball, RW (on D) losing Nash every 5th play leaving him open, RW being effected by Dwight Howard at the rim, Laker’s bigs in constant position to rebound)

    to beat Miami you would need to slow down the tempo. This limits Miami’s potent (more like deadly) transition game. It would also allow D-12 to do what he does best… Limit Lebron’s offensive options from 12 feet in from the basket.

    I hope I am wrong and I am planning on staying positive! Go Lakers!!!!


  60. Good leadership would have waited no longer than the completed Dwight Howard trade to make a coaching change–if one was to be made. At worst, one would either expect a coach in hand before the firing, or a balanced and thoughtful hiring process. Though I appreciate the many thoughtful comparisons and analyses expressed in this thread, I cannot see this as a basketball decision, but rather an exposed dysfunctional family–nearly out in the open this time.

    It reads like another Jimmy versus Jeanie, with Jerry unwisely reaffirming Jimmy for the umpteenth time. This is the gambler going for broke. If D’Antoni and this year’s Lakers win it all, the Mike Brown and Phil Jackson fiascos would be no more than a footnote.

    I’m not even going to speculate what will happen if this year’s Lakers go no further than the first round–and the Clippers win the championship. . . .


  61. I for one am Happy D’Antoni is the coach.

    Phil looked kind of burned out last time around, and learning the triangle on the fly does not seem like the way to go.

    The press-conference gave some interesting nuggets:

    * Mike mentioned talking to Meeks and that he wants him to shoot the ball – this should indicate that Meeks is in for a jump in playing time.

    * Mike talked about Steve Blake, and how he has tried getting him for years – this should settle any backup PG dispute to begin with at least.

    * He also mentioned straight post-ups, and how he just does not believe that this is efficient offense. This sounds like bad news for Pau Gasol, who I really believe is our best post-option.


  62. Just wish we had another playmaker off the bench


  63. As a former suns/Nash fan’s perspective – here’s a couple things to expect once D’Antoni gets offence up and running

    Secondary break – yes SSOL signature look was the fast break and wide open transition buckets, however what people don’t realize what made it so effective was the easy looks the suns got after the initial break and resulting confusion. While all defenders are hustling back and picking up the first person they can find and stopping the ball – often post players wings were left open. Look for Pau. D Howard, J Hill to get lots of easy buckets simply by jogging down the floor slowly into the play – only to get hit with a pass mid stride as they hit the foul line by Nash. This isn’t random, but orchestrated that trailers always fill the lanes and run the court with the first men down court effectively acting as decoys.

    Pau won’t be a stretch 4 – SSOL played with 1 inside and 4 around sometimes but not all – Boris Diaw was not a stretch four and rarely attempted long twos/3’s shots. His range and skill level is a lesser version of Pau’s. Look for Pau to fill the high post, flashing in and out as Diaw did and being the facilitator for the team especially on occasions when Nash is out. Pau’s scoring may decrease but his overall contributions may go up in terms of assists etc.. Once him and Howard get accustomed you’ll see lots of lobs from this area to the rim on rolls/of picks etc.. Nash never threw a tonne of lobs due to his distance from the hoop – but Diaw and Marion hooked up a fair amount on oops – much easier pass when its coming from someone who can see over the D. Because the suns never had a strong back up pg behind Nash – they often used Diaw as their pt forward – Look for this to happen if the Lakers don’t feel they have a strong half court facilitator when Kobe/Nash are off the court.

    Everyone has a green light – if you don’t shoot you’re not a threat. As long as the shot is open, D’Antoni expects you to take it; if you don’t shoot you’re a liability and he’ll bench you. The idea being that by shooting in transition or early – a player is more likely to have time and space and be in rhythm to take a good shot. Why spend 20 seconds working the ball around when at 8-9 secs you can get a wide open look because the other team isn’t back and set yet. Jodie Meeks , Blake, Jamison et al should see an uptick in their percentages because they are going to be encouraged to shoot when they receive the ball – and they’ll have more space and time than before (why do you think Jared Dudley suddenly became a legit 3 pt threat). Regular NBA players who shoot 25-30 percent from 3 suddenly get a lot better when they get wide open looks – confidence breeds competence etc… like PJ, but differently D’Antoni tries to put players in positions to maximize their talents.

    Mike D’Antoni showing why players love him in discussing Jodie Meeks: “The only time (he) needs to shoot it is when he touches the ball…”

    The one caveat is Artest – he’s turned into a bit of a chucker so far – though he is developing into a reasonable corner 3 shooter. Look for D’Antoni to maximize Artests touches in motion towards the basket so that he has no choice but to take it strong (which gets him in scoring position but limits him trying to create which is where he makes things ugly) – and he’ll also be instructed to run to the corners – which is a good shot for him and clears out the lane.

    Note about short rotation complaint w D’Antoni – He was the coach from 04-08 of the suns – and yes during that time he usually did run with only a 7-8 player rotation max – that included no real backup of even Duhon or Blake’s quality for Nash. Here’s a link


    Take a peak at the rosters from 2004-08 and see what he had to work with beyond the top 7-8 players. Not a hell of a lot there for a team that was contending for championships. On this team D’Antoni has Jamison, Hill, Meeks, plus 3 legit guard backups in Blake (who will get mins as a 2 alongside Nash in a spread the floor setup), Duhon (who had his best years running w D’Antoni in NY), Darius (when hes good) Morris (whens he’s bad – according to our site mod!) who – during the San Antonio game looked like a legit change of pace/pressure and d’up pg. That’s 6 players who – when mixed in with the starters – start looking like not a bad bench
    Eubanks I’m not sold on and Earl Clark is riding out a rookie contract – Sacre is a practice body.


  64. @Scott…

    You are right. In a small sample size, the Knicks look very good. J.R. Smith, Felton and Carmelo are playing very well as are the oldsters on their team. Guys like JKidd & Rasheed Wallace look rejuvenated. If they can remain healthy and get guys like Camby and Kurt Thomas going, they just may have something.


  65. I’ve moved past the coaching switch and am ready to embrace the new Mike. I hope he can be successful.

    My biggest concern about the team is a glaring lack of depth. The teams that have come out of the gate fast are all very deep. Right now, the Lakers can’t match that. Mike D has to build a decent bench in order for the Lakers to contend.


  66. Kenny T,
    Your concern with a lack of depth is one reason I feel Mike D. was the right choice. While Phil and Mike both have tended to use their starters more than we might be comfortable with in the past, Mike has the reputation of getting younger players better, faster. He even said he played some players to their strengths to emphasize their trade value – then PHX/NY was able to trade that player for someone they wanted more. Sounds like our bench will play – either to develop them or to trade them. I kind of like that approach.


  67. Rusty Shackleford November 16, 2012 at 7:19 am

    When is Nash supposed to be returning? I thought his health issues were overlooked a bit when the Lakers signed him.

    Hopefully with the relationship him and D’Antoni have the communications will be clear as to what minutes Nash gets. I know the backup PG’s look shakey but I’d rather get between 20 to 25 minutes a night from a healthy Nash and let Morris/Blake compete for the backup minutes than having Nash periodically shelved from injury throughout the season. If the Lakers are still searching for chemistry going into the playoffs they could be looking at another 2nd round exit.

    Dan D’Antoni. Richard Richards is a double Dick.


  68. my biggest concern with D’Antoni and this roster is with Gasol, he is not Channing Frye and he may well be underutilised, id say chances are pretty good for a trade


  69. I hope Mike D’Antoni is reading this blog. I have one recommendation to make. We need badly perimeter shooters if we want to compete for NBA Championship. What we have are all experimental shooters, only Kobe is reliable enough but he’s one player being doubled at all times. Can you ask your outside shooters to hone their skills by practicing daily 500 shots before going to bed? If they cannot be improved, don’t waste time with China eggs.


  70. Has there been any mention of who Dantoni’s asst coaches are?


  71. Excellent D’Antoni summary, Jerke!


  72. Reignman,
    He’s keeping this current staff for this season. The only addition is his brother, Dan D’Antoni who has coached with him for 8 years. Mike mentioned in his presser yesterday that he’ll feel out this staff over the course of the season, learn their strengths and weaknesses, and then make recommendations to Mitch on what he’d like to do. Also said they’re all very good coaches and that he’s going to get them up to speed on the things he likes to do, get their input on things they’ve picked up while working with this team, and then formulate a plan for them to go and teach the players.


  73. Mike D’Antoni – ”Steve Blake will be a big part of it (Offense)” – Booo – More Morris


  74. For all of you history revisionists, please think about this:

    1. Kareem’s beef with the Lakers started when DR JERRY BUSS was leading the organization. Kareen wanted a statue. Jerry gave one to Magic and Chic Hearn instead. Kareem wanted to coach. Jerry hired Phil. Now, under Jim’s watch, Kareem is not coaching, but he is getting a statute.

    2. I remember the bru-haha with the Westhead firing. However, most people did not like the the Riley hiring. In case you forgot, this happened under Dr Buss’ watch. Riley was a color commentator before coaching the Lakers. Think about that – and then think about how that worked out.

    If you think about it, if Dr Jerry Buss himself wanted Phil back above all other candidates, Phil would be back. The fact that Jim made the final call means that Jerry was OK with any such decision. Also, don’t take anything Rambis says now to heart, he was hoping for Phil so he could get back into coaching. As such, his opinion is slightly biased for financial reasons. In terms of Kareem, he has been mad at the Lakers since Jerry was in charge (see earlier comment re his statute). Also, Kareem has become a grumpy old man. He likes to complain. Oh, and as far as Magic…. yeah, listen to his in-game analysis when he is on TV and then tell me this guy is qualified to criticize the Laker’s short and long term strategy.

    As far as Worthy, I saw him on TV just three days ago saying that Mike D’s hiring was great news for the Lakers. So I have no idea why he is being lumped with the “haters”.

    Let’s stop with the hate, learn to live with what we have, and start getting excited about a run-and-gun Lakers team!


  75. I lived as a fan through the ancient history of Riley’s hiring, and I’m obviously glad about how it worked out, but I always wondered about the backstory and why Buss believed he could do it. As Chick Hearn’s color man Riley wasn’t even as assertive as Lynn Shackleford, nor do I remember Riley delivering the level of analysis you get today from, say, Jeff Van Gundy which reveals a coach’s mind at work.


  76. Cant wait for the game tonight so we can talk about something other than Phil vs. Mike D…


  77. Manny,

    Who got Westhead fired? Magic. Who said Mike Brown was a bad hire? Magic. Who said Phil gives this team the best chance for a ring? Magic.

    Jim Buss runs this team, and his dad supports him. There was no way Jim was going to hire Phil, despite the fact that Phil would likely give this team the best chance at a title. D’Antoni is an upgrade over Mike Brown, IMO, but there is no need to try to belittle Laker greats for suggesting what Magic, Kobe, Dwight, and the majority of fans believe….that Phil was the best coach for the job.


  78. MannyP,
    It is my understanding that Kareem thinks the D’Antoni hiring is a good one for the Lakers. Doesn’t sound like a ‘hater’ to me.

    LT mitchell,
    Our comments do not denigrate the contribution of past Laker players and coaches. Being a great player and businessman, however, does not qualify a person as a great GM/owner – see Michael Jordan.

    Magic has his viewpoint, but that viewpoint isn’t any more valid than any other analyst. He doesn’t have any inside link to the Laker organization any more. As a commentator, the Buss family would also be very careful not to give him anything he could use on his broadcasts, because he is paid to be controversial and spout ‘truth’.

    If Phil is anything, he is a very political and ego driven human being. That says nothing about his talent or quality, but it does inform the rest of us that we better be very careful about taking anything he says without questioning why he said it.


  79. “I can only hope fans let go of the Phil stuff soon. No one really knows what happened between the two sides.”

    Well said Darius.

    “Cant wait for the game tonight so we can talk about something other than Phil vs. Mike D… ”

    I feel you Davis Luv.


  80. Craig,

    You are right, we will never know which side is telling the truth….but one thing I’m fairly certain of is that Phil gives the Lakers a better chance at a ring than D’Antoni. Posters have been citing all sorts of reasons, from Magic’s role in the firing of Westhead to his work as an analyst, to discredit his simple and obvious claim that Phil would have been the best coach for the job. I feel like I am in a courtroom, where the lawyers attack the credibility of the witness, rather than focus on the truth of the statement made.


  81. Jerke…

    THANK YOU for the summary. I’ll be on the lookout for these plays as D’Antoni’s method is incorporated. I, and hopefully everyone else (regardless of who people wanted as the coach), am excited to see a free-flowing offense, rather than one that is calculated half court motion sets (based on reads), that while sometimes were so extremely efficient and devastating but also many other times confusing. Even with veteran squads, I can’t count the number of times when the triangle didn’t seem as though it was run as intended. The main concern is, with this squad is the age and conditioning and avoiding injury (for everyone on the squad regardless of age). We avoid injury and I have every belief that it’s going to be an exciting season filled with awesome basketball.


  82. Just got through reading the previous comments and feel that the time has long passed where we all need to focus outwardly and move on. Regardless of how you feel about the MDA hire it is beyond pointless to keep making arguments about something that has already been decided. The comment Darius made earlier offered a compelling case for letting this topic go and yet the rehash continues unabated.

    I was looking forward to Phil coming back but am more than fine with the choice of Mike D’Antoni and am certainly not going to presume that I am privy to the same information available to Jerry, Jim & Mitch. Since I was not part of that troika, nor was anyone else on this board, to opine as though you were in possession of all the information they had is naive at best. Mitch has come out and said that “they did not want to cave to public opinion” and made a tough and clearly unpopular call. Riley was not embraced either when he was hired. Let’s allow things to play out and stop looking in the rearview mirror.


  83. Jerke~Welcome and glad to have your voice added to the many other capable commentators here. And MannyP your point seems right when you say that if Jerry Buss wanted Phil over MikeD it would have happened regardless if Jim was opposed to it. After all it’s still Dr Buss’ team.