D’Antoni in as Lakers coach. Lakers pass on Phil.

Justin Lane, EPA

Lakers fans will wake up this morning to the news that the Lakers Head Coaching vacancy has been filled, not by Phil Jackson, who many were expecting to return based on reports that the agreement was close, but by Mike D’antoni. Mike Bresnahan of the LA Times appears to have been the first to report the news of the signing.  In his column that shows a time stamp of 12:40 am he mentions these quotes from the Lakers front office:

“We signed Mike D’Antoni to a multi-year deal,” Lakers spokesman John Black said, mentioning the team’s owner and top two executives. “Dr. [Jerry] Buss, Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak were unanimous that Mike D’Antoni was the best coach for the team at this time.”

While D’Antoni is a definitely a good get at this juncture of the season, it’s not what the Lakers fans were clamoring for or what many deemed as the surest bet to forming a championship run led by a coach known for leading them in Phil Jackson. Reports are that the Lakers brass just couldn’t meet the high demands of Phil and opted for  D’Antoni instead.

There are many concerns that come to mind with a D’Antoni led team. The main one is his teams in the past have placed very little emphasis on defense. Also, the fast pace offense he implements might be a little too fast for the old legs on the Lakers roster and not be a good compliment to the type of players on the team. Players like Meeks, Jamison and of course Nash are all going to flourish in a D’Antoni led offense. Superstar players like Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard will be able to play in just about any offense. But there are uncertainties of how players like Metta World Peace and Pau Gasol will work in a system that might be too fast for their specific skill set.

As to whether D’Antoni can be successful in leading this Lakers team to a championship utilizing a system that has yet to be successful in the past despite having pieces that seemed to fit perfectly is questionable. Add to the fact that we now expect him to make a run at a championship with a team that appears to not have the right pieces for his system I would say his chances are highly questionable. What we do know is that the Lakers will be more fun to watch with D’Antoni pulling the strings. That is great for the regular season but just not good enough as the expectations in Los Angeles are as high as the championship banners that hang off the rafters at Staples. 

– Fern Rea “@fullcourtfern”