The Lakers have recently fired head coach, Mike Brown, courted legendary coach, Phil Jackson, and then abruptly decided to hand the reigns over to the always flashy, Mike D’Antoni. A move that has the basketball world buzzing and fans in LA up in arms. Not many people believe in Mike’s ability to coach defensive ball.
Most people, including Phil Jackson, were under the impression that the Lakers’ head coaching gig was Phil’s to lose. That seemed to be the general consensus ever since Friday when the Lakers decided to part ways with Mike Brown and his dreadful “Princeton Offense”. But now it seems as if the Lakers’ brass wasn’t as interested in bringing back the “Triangle Offense” as they were in bringing back Showtime.
Lakers’ owner, Jerry Buss, has long envisioned bringing the Showtime Lakers back to LA and believes he has the team to do so. The original Showtime cast featured Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdual Jabbar and James Worthy. The new-school would be that of Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, Steve Nash and Pau Gasol. But can this team really bring the substance that was Showtime? I’m not convinced, but I am certain that if any coach int he world can make that happen, it is Mike D’Antoni and his high-paced, pick-n-roll offense.
The offense that D’Antoni brings to the table isn’t at all in question. Th league watched in horror as Steve Nash dominated the MVP voting with D’Antoni at the helm, and that was with Amar’e Stoudemire. Now Nash has Dwight Howard, the league’s premiere pick-n-roll finisher, at his disposal.
The real question here is can the Lakers bring a defensive mindset that won’t get D’Antoni laughed out of the league? At least one person believe they can, and that person may matter more than all others concerned. That player is Kobe Bryant.
Via Kobe’s personal Facebook account:
It’s been a wild week to say the least. Kobe said. I’m happy to have closure and can’t wait to get to work with Coach D’Antoni.. spacing, ball movement. And despite the chatter, I believe we will be phenomenal defensively. I’m looking forward to getting started with him and his staff this week.
If D’Antoni can convince Kobe to work with his system, then the rest should be pie. Kobe seems to be the big IF on whether or not a fast-paced system like this can thrive. We know what Nash, Howard and Gasol will bring to a pick-n-rollheavy offensive flow, but how will Kobe, a player whose offense is predicated on stopping the ball, fair in a offense where the design relies on ball movement?
We do know one thing. Kobe is fond of D’Antoni, as he was Bryan’t favorite player growing up in Italy as a child. Bryant even donned the #8 early in his career as a tribute to the legendary Italian point guard. However, we call saw what a similar player, in Carmelo Anthony, was like in a Mike D’Antoni system, and that led to the ultimate demise of the flashy coach in the Big Apple.