Sunday, November 11, 2012
How would D'Antoni fare with Lakers?
By Ian Begley
It sure looks like Phil Jackson is going back to Los Angeles to coach the Lakers.
ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard reported that "Jackson clearly remains the Lakers' top target" and the Zen Master is expected to give the Lakers an answer on Monday.
But in case things fall through, the Lakers have reached out to other candidates, including ex-Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni.
Mike D'Antoni resigned March 14, toward the end of his fourth season as the Knicks' head coach.
If Jackson passes on the job and D'Antoni lands in L.A., could D'Antoni find success with the Lakers?
Here are a couple factors to consider:
BACK WITH NASH: Part of the reason the Lakers fired Mike Brown was because he tried -- and failed -- to implement the Princeton offense. You have to think the Lakers wouldn't have any issues with D'Antoni's system.
Steve Nash won two MVPs under D'Antoni in Phoenix and Kobe Bryant has raved about playing for D'Antoni when he was an Olympic assistant coach, including this past summer in London.
Nash, who has been injured since the second game of the season, would probably have a field day running the pick and roll in D'Antoni's offense with big man Dwight Howard, just as he did in Phoenix with Amar'e Stoudemire.
One negative is the Lakers' lack of depth. Critics say that outside of Jodie Meeks, they don't have much shooting off of the bench. This could be an issue for D'Antoni, who gives his team the freedom to shoot the 3-pointer.
DEFENSE RESTS? D'Antoni's critics always point to his teams' sub-par efforts on defense. They say that's one of the main reasons he didn't succeed in New York or win a title in Phoenix. And that's certainly a fair criticism. But last year in New York, even before Mike Woodson took over, the Knicks were an average to above average defensive club, thanks to Tyson Chandler.
Chandler's presence changed everything for the Knicks, who jumped from 21st and fifth in defensive efficiency -- a measure of points allowed per 100 possessions -- from 2010-11 to last year.
Sure, they improved markedly once Woodson took over in the final 22 regular season games, but they were also strong with D'Antoni on the sideline (as long as Chandler was in the middle).
So while D'Antoni wouldn't make the Lakers any better on defense, I think they'd be able to hold their own thanks to Howard's presence in the middle. They also have Bryant and Metta World Peace in the starting five.
Question: Do you think D'Antoni, who went 121-167 with the Knicks, could have success in Los Angeles?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.