A serious rant

Mike D'AntoniBefore, I get started….let me just say I am a die-hard Los Angeles Lakers fan. I mean, I take the losses (along with the Oakland Raiders losses) hard, anybody that knows me will tell you this.

Recent reports have Mike D’Antoni staying (while his brother, Dan took the University of Marshall head coaching position) as the head coach of the Lakers and this baffles me.

Fellow contributor EJ has explained why, the fact he has a year left on his deal and they are looking towards the 2015 free agent class. But, they have a guy sitting in the Time Warner Cable SportsNet studio that is a better coach. Byron Scott is a former Laker and has the chops to step in and get instant respect.

I’ve stated it before, when Kobe Bryant was a rookie….the Lakers brought back Scott to finish out his career and mentor the young Kobe. We all know any coaching hire has to be “approved” by Bryant and Scott would be the perfect hire in my opinion.

Bringing back D’Antoni just seems like a waste of another season. His coaching blunders were many, almost too many to talk about here. But, the glaring one was playing Wesley Johnson out of position at power forward or as it’s known the stretch four. I don’t remember the exact game, but D’Antoni played Johnson at the position for about 10 games or so and he was abused on the defensive end of the floor, despite being one of their better defenders. In high heels, Johnson is barely 6-feet 7 inches tall and he was playing against a seven footer and it was just absolutely brutal to watch as he got posted up repeatedly.

Sure, on offense Johnson was able to draw the defender out to the 3-point line and create space for other players to drive to the basket, but it didn’t make up for the fact Johnson had no shot on defense. And that’s the biggest issue with a D’Antoni-coached team.

Defense, or the lack thereof. The Lakers allowed 109.2 points per game, 29th in the NBA. The only team that was worse? The Philadelphia 76ers were the only team in the league that allowed more, 109.9ppg. They also allowed opponents to convert 46.8% of their field goal attempts, 26th in the league.

LakersAs bad as the team was, scoring wasn’t an issue. Los Angeles averaged 103ppg, 11th in the NBA. The Lakers made 45% of their field goal attempts (14th) and 38.1% of their 3-pointers (3rd), but they were too reliant on the outside shot, another D’Antoni flaw. He was unable to utilize Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol last season and during this season, he struggled to implement Gasol into the offense. Gasol posted solid numbers (17.4ppg, 9.7 rebounds per game and 3.4 assists per game) but he was often standing around the 3-point line and not down in the low post. D’Antoni seems lost when it comes to big men and almost like he’d be more comfortable with 4 or 5 guards in the starting lineup, jacking up 3’s all game long. They were able to score against even the best defensive teams. But, the defense was their biggest problem all season long.

Regarding the 2015 free agent class, there are no guarantees they will come to Los Angeles. So, why wait to fire him right before you go free agent shopping. If they fired him now and made a solid coaching hire, the pending free agents would see what the Lakers are doing now…rather than firing him at the end of next season and hoping to lure players here.

Keeping D’Antoni makes very little sense to me, especially since Kobe has seemingly lost interest in playing for him next season. And he has a no-trade clause. D’Antoni should be gone.

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Big time sports fan of the Lakers, Raiders, Angels and Dodgers. From 1990-1995, I worked at the Glendale News-Press and I had a blast. I covered mainly high school sporting events and Glendale Community College athletic events, but also attended Dodgers, Raiders, and Rams games. I also write for Joel Huerto (former co-writer and editor at the GNP) at onemanfastbreak.net. I watch a lot of sports on TV (basketball, football, usually just postseason MLB) and UFC.

10 Comments

  1. He never should’ve left NY. I’m curious to see what EJ has to say about that…but I scratched my head when they went there separate ways. I always like D’Antoni, but I feel he should’ve never been hired in the first place. I thought everything the Lakers have done since Phil’s latest “retirement” has been sub-par for “Showtime”. In fact, I think the poor choices they made is the reason they are talking lottery right now. In all reality, the situation started when they gave up on Mike Brown so quickly. The front office needed to take a beat and think that over.

  2. D’Antoni is an offensive minded coach and tends to neglect defense… he had some good years in Phoenix but he sucked in NY a far as I’m concerned.
    He can also be very Bobby Valentine-ish, too… and that is not a compliment.

  3. Let’s be honest here: he never really was given a good setup. He came on to “resurrect” programs when he isn’t that type of a coach. He’s a good coach, not a great one. Then again, they all can’t be as lucky as Phil Jackson was. MD had success in Phoenix because he had a TEAM. He did not have that in L.A. or New York. For one, NY will always be a band of prima donnas, through and through. Always have and always will be a bunch of individuals sharing the same locker room. Its not their fault, it’s just what the city brings to the table. That’s why Carmelo should stay there and not poison the rest of the league with his “me” attitude. Same can be said about the NY Jets and their player attitudes. D’Antoni is a good guy, but he’s very particular and he doesn’t like being told how to run his team. Kerr wasn’t a hands-on GM but he ran into that with Dolan in NY, and whoever decided they wanted to voice their opinion in L.A.. The setup D’Antoni has gotten from both coasts hasn’t been the best situations, and he has done his job in terms of par success. D’Antoni would be good in a place like Minnesota, where he can have a bit more time to develop “his” team with less pressure and less spotlight. It doesn’t mean he can’t handle the big market. It just means the bigger markets can be very unforgiving, and a one dimensional coach like D’Antoni is better off managing a team where they’d be happy to have a man of his talent. Because, above all, he still is a very talented and valued coach. He just was never given a good situation to really blossom into his own.

  4. Where do I start: Byron Scott is not a better coach. He’s not. Yes he made it to two NBA Finals but that was over 10 years ago. He did jack shit with the Cavs and Hornets. His record with those teams are horrible so please stop with this Byron Scott is a better coach bullshit. The Lakers can do so much better than Byron Scott, that it isn’t even funny. Seriously, DJ get your head out of your ass on that.

    As far as Zach’s case: D’Antoni had two choices, leave or get fired. It wasn’t working for him here with the Knicks. While I agree that my hometown does encourage prima donna behavior, and that is the type of attitudes that athletes who play here exhibit, D’Antoni wasn’t going to be able to work with that franchise.

  5. Byron Scott coaching record: 416-521. Winning percentage of .444

    A record of 267-382 with the Hornets and Cavaliers. OK, maybe he didn’t get to coach LeBron in Cleveland but he did next to nothing with some pretty decent Hornets squads. Look, the man is not that good of a head coach. Not good enough in my opinion to dump D’Antoni ahead of time and hire Scott. Mike is owed $4 million more and one more year. Nothing is wrong with finishing out his deal, and try to strike gold in 2015. I’m sorry DJ but one more bad season won’t kill you, and if it does it’s your own fault for taking losses so personal.

  6. Mike Brown was a mistake. D’Antoni was a mistake, especially since it sounds like Phil really was considering coming back. The problem with the Lakers, like the Knicks, is that the ownership doesn’t know how to step out of the way. Jerry Buss’ best attribute was that he wasn’t hands on. His advisors did their job, and he stepped in when necessary, like when Kobe was seriously considering leaving the franchise about 10 years ago.

    Jim Buss isn’t that smart. However, it was their father’s wish that Jim runs the basketball side, while Jeanie runs the business side. I think Jeanie is smart enough to realize that Jim is in over his head, but I can’t see her stepping in and cutting her brother out. They’re 6 Buss children running the franchise and unless there is a consensus on Jim, Jeanie is powerless to act.

  7. D’Antoni in Minnesota would succeed. Rubio and Love in that offense? That would be something to see.

    I can’t agree with you more on everything you said. D’Antoni isn’t nearly as bad as Lakers fans want to make him out to be. This team was never a fit for his system, however you are right. He works best with some autonomy and twice he’s been put in situations where he hasn’t gotten it.

    Also, I don’t put this all on Mike. I can’t repeat this enough but the Lakers aren’t a good team. Those players were role players, and D-League guys. Look at that roster. It’s surprising they won 27 games to be honest. Also, we need to be honest when it comes to Kobe. He’s had an achilles surgery, and a knee surgery. I don’t care how many times he goes to Germany for that Orthokine procedure facts are that he’ll be 36 in August and he’ll be entering his 19th season in October. I don’t care how much bullshit he tweets, but he will not be the Black Mamba of old. He can’t be at this stage of his career so if you’re looking at him to turn a 27 win team to a 47 win team, it ain’t going to happen.

  8. I agree, Joe. He also doesn’t know how to manage a playing rotation.

    He’d be perfect in college running the fast paced offense.

  9. So, what you guys are saying is if D’Antoni doesn’t have exactly what the needs to run his offense then he can’t coach is what I am hearing. Tons of coaches out here like that.. None of them very lasting or very good if they meet with some adversity.

    And, that also sounds like he can’t coach in the big market cities like NY or LA. Lots of adversity in the big markets.

  10. Well he hasn’t done well in New York or Los Angeles. I don’t think D’Antoni is a bad coach but he hasn’t had a team like he had in Phoenix. I’m intrigued by Zach’s suggestion earlier about Minnesota. Something about Rubio and Love in Mike’s offense makes me feel that it can work. He’d have a poor man’s Shawn Marion in Corey Brewer too. On paper that would be a good fit.

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