One-on-One: Did the Lakers pick the right coach?

Yes

Besides the fact that the Los Angeles Lakers completely overreacted by firing Mike Brown this early in the season, Mike D’Antoni was the perfect choice.

While critics are going to point to the fact that he’s never reached the NBA Finals before, he’s also never had a roster that’s as talented as the Lakers.

With his fast-paced offense, imagine the capabilities he will have with Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol and Steve Nash. For evidence of how effective it can be, look how successful Team USA’s offense was during the Summer Olympics when he was an assistant coach.

While Phil Jackson was extremely successful, it takes time for players to learn his complicated triangle offense. Players like Howard and Nash are the best in the NBA with the basics like the pick ‘n’ roll, so why complicate it?

Some people are going to question D’Antoni’s defensive philosophy – or lack thereof. But, don’t forget that this is an experienced team. Metta World Peace knows how to shut down players defensively, and Bryant is underrated in that regard. Also, don’t forget that Howard’s shot blocking presence will deter other teams from trying to drive the lane.

D’Antoni is going to bring a new flair to Lakers offense, which is the simplest reason his hiring will work. He will play to the strengths of their best players.

-Bobby Nightengale

 

No

The Los Angeles Lakers went from one wrong fit to another when they hired Mike D’Antoni to replace Mike Brown as their head coach. I was fine with the Lakers firing Brown, even if it was a bit of a panicky move. If you know a guy is not the right fit for your team, you should go in a different direction. However, D’Antoni is not the answer.

In 10 seasons as an NBA head coach, D’Antoni’s winning percentage is barely more than .500. Most recently, in more than three seasons with the New York Knicks, D’Antoni posted a 121-167 record.  Also, the Lakers personnel are a terrible fit for D’Antoni’s system. D’Antoni’s system is an up tempo style offense that needs quick players and a deep bench. The Lakers have a thin bench, and at least three of the starters are not what you call “quick.”

People like to bring up that when Steve Nash played with D’Antoni he was a two-time MVP. This is true, but Nash is now 38 years old. Only three players currently playing in the NBA are older than him. He is still a solid point guard, but he won’t have the same success he had five years ago.

It made sense for the Lakers to want to move in a different direction from Mike Brown, but D’Antoni is a terrible fit for them.

-Aaron Wargo