Tuesday, November 12, 2013
D'Antoni rings in one-year anniversary
By Dave McMenamin
LOS ANGELES -- Tuesday marked the one-year anniversary of Mike D'Antoni's being named head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. The occasion hardly put D'Antoni in a celebratory move, however.
"The weather is really good," D'Antoni joked before the Lakers played the New Orleans Pelicans when asked to reflect on his first year in L.A. "It's really nice. That's about it. A lot of ups and downs."
The downs -- a first-round playoff sweep at the hands of San Antonio, Dwight Howard's becoming the first major free agent in the history of the franchise to choose to leave, a multitude of injuries to just about every important player on the roster -- far outweigh the ups so far, which are basically limited to the direction D'Antoni's bank account goes as he collects on the three-year, $12 million deal he signed last November.
The Lakers went 43-37 in D'Antoni's first calender year. He took over for Mike Brown and interim head coach Bernie Bickerstaff, who combined to guide L.A. to a 5-5 record before D'Antoni took over last season. The Lakers went 40-32 last season under D'Antoni, including a 28-12 mark in their final 40 games, and started off 2013-14 at 3-5.
Compared to the other first seasons D'Antoni experienced in his other coaching stops during his 12-year career, it wasn't all that bad. He went 14-36 in his lone, lockout-shortened season coaching the Denver Nuggets. He went 21-40 in his first season coaching the Phoenix Suns in 2003-04 before (winning the NBA's coach of the year the following season with Phoenix going 62-20) and he was 32-50 in his first season with the New York Knicks.
"New York wasn't easy," D'Antoni said. "But it was a steady path towards upward. This has been a little bit up and down. This is a little different."
D'Antoni said that the Lakers' franchise has made him feel at home despite his rocky first year.
"All that's been great," D'Antoni said. "I have a lot of support. The front office is good. We just got to, without Kobe [Bryant] it's a transitional period and we got to get through this. We got to play a little bit better than what we're playing."