Some basketball was played last night. Coach D’Antoni had yet to arrive and meet his new wards but it felt as if a corner might have been turned. The game was winnable and it would have been sweet if it had. But make no mistake – this was a Lakers team that was fired up. The Bernie Bickerstaff playground revolution is now two and one and could potentially see another outing on Friday. If it feels as though the events of last weekend are receding from view, it’s because fun basketball cures all. The malice at Staples isn’t ancient history though. D’Antoni’s arrival will usher in a new phase of the fishbowl effect.
When Phil Jackson’s upcoming book, “Eleven Rings” is released next year, it will undoubtedly contain a final chapter that wasn’t anticipated during its main gestation and writing period. There have been different opinions, spins and explanations as to what exactly transpired during last weekend’s 48-hour roller coaster ride. Somewhere in between the lines is an essential truth, that the art of negotiations and promises can bring out the sharp knives and sometimes the truncheons. Mike D’Antoni seemed to be somewhat outside a rapidly evolving situation, looking in and waiting for the smoke to clear. When it did, he found himself the victor. To a degree, he was apart from the drama and feeding frenzy that forever surrounds the Los Angeles Lakers and their decision making. That will soon change.
Dave McMenamin at ESPN GO brings a thoughtful Kobe Bryant to the fore, reflecting on the lessons of the triangle and a perceived lack of respect that Phil Jackson has received from his peers around the league.
Ramona Shelburne, also at ESPN, relays an amusing Greg Popovich anecdote as he likened a possible Phil Jackson return to trying to put the Soviet Union back together.
Kevin Ding at the OC Register encapsulates last night’s pick and roll romp which featured a masterful performance by Kobe Bryant. Ding also brings Mitch Kupchak’s perspective on recent events into view.
Darius Soriano at ProBasketballTalk brings the game of the night, including a look at Danny Green’s pick and pop.
Kurt Helin at ProBasketballTalk writes about Nash and D’Antoni – reunited and it feels so good.
Mark Travis at Silver Screen and Roll relays news that the Lakers assistant coaching staff will essentially remain the same under Mike D’Antoni, with the addition of his brother Dan. Nod to T.J. Simers for his interview with Mike.
Drew Garrison at Silver Screen and Roll gives credit where it’s due for last night’s strong effort.
Ian Thomsen at Sports Illustrated feels that Mike D’Antoni will be the right man for the job for both the short and long run.
Mike D’Antoni is due to arrive in Los Angeles today. The media blitz will duly anoint him and for the near future, the spotlight will be on his on-court actions and adjustments. How long or how successfully the narrative tracks the game and not “the game”, is a matter of speculation of course. As always and forever in the land of the Lakers. Welcome to the dollhouse, Coach.
So, if the coaching staff remains the same, are we back to running the Princeton Offense?
Jesse P. says
From my understanding, D’Antoni is good at defining roles. Thus, our bench should improve under his system. However, essentially, our team’s success will not totally depend on D’Antoni’s coaching and the obvious health factors of our team, but also largely on Nash. We’re probably going to be seeing a slowed-down version of D’Antoni/Nash’s Suns teams.
Also: I don’t understand how Ebanks, an NBA player with deep pockets, does not have the sense to afford a taxi.
Despite no Nash, poor FT shooting, an interim coach, no “system” AND way too many turnovers, the Spurs game was supremely winnable. Disappointed that a fine effort ended up in a L. But (and this is not an argument for a “moral victory” as a loss is a loss) I’m am pleased with the defensive energy & effort. So far this year the Spurs have had a FG % of 47.4%. We held them last night to 39.8% which is their lowest of the year! And they have only scored as few as 84 points one other time, in their 8 games so far, and that was in the blowout loss to the Clippers. Interestingly, they won an earlier close game with OKC by an almost identical score 86-84.
The Lakers are showing strong progress and for those bemoaning the 3-5 start, remember that many of us expected a L in Portland and to SA. The other three losses are on Brown and a team that was playing as though they were somnolent which is really Brown’s fault too. Bottom line: I am confident that we will be a top 3 seed by the end of the season. 74 more games to play and I expect us to win 70% of those which would translate into a 58 W game regular season.
Kenny T says
So, I guess that Nate McMillan isn’t going to be offered a position on the Lakers’ staff?
Oops transposition error..Spurs FG% 38.9 not 39.8%
Magic Phil says
Why D’Antoni cannot call McMillan NOW?
Chris Webber laying into Coach D’Antoni:
D’antoni isn’t calling McMillan because he’s got some class. He realizes the assistants already there are innocent bystanders in the whole soap opera and he doesn’t see any point in starting from scratch at this point so might as well given the staff there a chance. He received calls from Svg strongly recommending he keep steve clifford as clifford was svgs assistant in orlando and developed the defense for howard that allowed him to cover for weaker teammates.
The only assistant that d’antoni is going to add is his brother dan -who was his assistant in phoenix and ny.
Dave Murphy says
We many not get Nate. But we still got Bernie!
Considering the Chris Webber rant is coming from a guy that has hung his own homeboys out to dry that’s pretty rich. D’antoni was in a no win situation and was becoming a lame duck coach with an ill fitting team – and when melo came back and started pouting he didn’t have the total backing of ownership. He didn’t feel he was the right fit for the team and his heart wasn’t in it. Nothing wrong w walking away quietly. he never bad mouthed anyone other than to say it didnt work and he made some mistakes. Chandler, melo, and lin all have great things to say about him- and duhon and felton had their best years with him. Webber is a vapid talking head.
Kenny T says
Well , on the possible hiring of McMillan, I would advocate assembling the best staff possible. The holdover staff were not innocent bystanders, they were part of a failed experiment. The stakes are too high to consider hurt feelings. I say hire the best staff possible. Of course, if Mike D. WANTS Brown’s guys, so be it.