There's not much better to a Celtics fan than a good old Lakers meltdown. I went to bed expecting Phil Jackson to be their next coach after hearing their fans cheer "We want Phil" for the second straight game. And I woke up to the news that they had hired Mike D'Antoni. The Lakers seem to have made quite a mess of their coaching situation so far. Not that I mind.
First, Jerry Buss comes out and gives Mike Brown a vote of confidence after his team went 0-8 in the preseason and 1-4 to start the season. After all, the Princeton offense takes time to master. And, right after saying that, he fired Brown. And the rumors began that Brown wouldn't have been fired if Phil Jackson wasn't poised to return to rescue the franchise for a third time. And sure enough, the team reached out to Jackson and reports were that the job was his if he wanted it.
Phil was scheduled to meet with the team again today and sources say he was prepared to accept the job. But, in the meantime, the Lakers hired D'Antoni and according to ESPN, Phil was stunned.
I wrote how Kobe welcomed Jackson's return because his one big regret was that he wasn't able to give Phil his best that final year because of his knee injury. I wonder if Kobe was consulted before they hired D'Antoni. We all saw how it ended the last time they hired a coach without consulting Kobe. Mike Brown wasn't his choice and Brown's tenure ended with Kobe's contemptuous stare and an unceremonious booting. Kobe loved Phil and was already talking about his return. Would the Lakers make the same mistake twice? Chances are that they didn't and that Kobe signed on with their choice of D'Antoni. Could be Steve Nash's love for D'Antoni brought him around or it could be their shared Italian roots.
D'Antoni built his reputation as a successful coach in Phoenix with Steve Nash as his point guard. His system is a fast paced one. It depends on the players to get up the court quickly and get a shot off within 7 seconds. But, this Lakers team is an older team. Kobe and Nash are older and prone to injury. Dwight is just recovering from back surgery and isn't the speediest player. They also don't have the outside shooters that the Suns did when D'Antoni's system flourished there.
It has often been joked that D'Antoni should be Antoni because his teams play no D. But, he has said in recent days that if he coached again, he would hire a defensive coach to take care of that area of the game. I hear Mike Brown is available. All I can say is that this is going to be interesting. Right now, it's a mess. Not that I mind!
Finally, I just came across this on Twitter from Not Bill Walton. It's too good not to share. The real reason they fired Mike Brown.
Yeah, I don't think the coach is going to fix what ails that team. Pieces just don't fit all that well and they are older. They may not make it up the court in 7 seconds, let alone getting a shot off in that time. Pringles is going to have to adjust.