Mike D’Antoni: ‘If The Lakers Are Not In The Playoff Hunt, I Failed My Job’

The Los Angeles Lakers chose head coach Mike D’Antoni over superstar coach Phil Jackson this past weekend, and D’Antoni knows what that means: Failing to make the NBA playoffs would be the ultimate failure.

While many coaches in the NBA would love the chance simply to coach in the playoffs, Mike understands the expectations that come with one of the most coveted coaching positions in professional sports.

During an appearance on the Mason and Ireland show on ESPNLA 710, D’Antoni revealed:

“I’m going to do everything I can do to win a championship. If we’re not at least in the hunt, a serious hunt, then I’ve failed as a head coach. I’m comfortable with that.”

The Lakers on Sunday night announced D’Antoni as their next head coach, a position many people believed would go to coach Jackson. However, Phil had asked to take off some of the teams away games and only appeared to be ready for an NBA return under his own strict conditions.

D’Antoni says of the teams decision:

“I was surprised in the sense that it seemed like a natural fit. But you never know what happens, so I’m not here to judge one way or the other. I know he’s a great coach. Has been, will be, one of the best if not the best ever.”

With an aging Kobe Bryant, an aging Steve Nash and plenty of other veterans at his disposal, it will be interesting to see what Mike D’Antoni can put together as he takes over a roster full of experience. His style could wear out a team of guys who are no longer youngsters; then again, it could be the motivation they need to push ahead for another NBA championship.