Mike D’Antoni is the next head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, but within just a few hours of the team’s announcement on Monday morning sportswriters were already blasting the hire.
As a coach with an up-tempo style, Mike D’Antoni’s game will be a tough fit for the aging Lakers, Los Angeles Times columnist Bill Plaschke wrote. D’Antoni does have experience with the Lakers, having coached against Kobe Bryant for years as the head coach of the Phoenix Suns, where he also coached current Lakers guard Steve Nash.
But the fast-paced, shoot in seven seconds or less offense that flourished in Phoenix won’t cut it in Los Angeles, Plaschke wrote. The hiring of D’Antoni makes it seem as if the Lakers had no plan when firing former coach Mike Brown, he added:
“If you want to hire D’Antoni, you give Brown more than five games to get this roster figured out, because the transition time for D’Antoni is going to be long and the rewards are going to be questionable. If you want to hire D’Antoni, you make darn sure this season is trashed first, because there are no guarantees that his system can get any team past the second round.”
Plaschke had other concerns as well:
“He’s never taken a team to an NBA Finals. He has a losing record in the playoffs. He doesn’t coach defense. His sprinting offense will be tested on a team led by aging guys who no longer sprint.
“And, oh yeah, he’s not Phil Jackson.”
As Forbes noted, Mike D’Antoni’s stats do not compare to Jackson’s either. D’Antoni has only made the playoffs in five of his 10 NBA seasons, while Jackson made it in all 20, winning the NBA Finals 11 times.