First off, my thoughts and prayers go out to Coach Ditka, who suffered a minor stroke over the weekend. He is a legend and his “STOP IT” segment on NFL Sunday Countdown is classic. So I wish him a speedy recovery, and hey strokes…STOP IT.
Mike D’Antoni said that he is planning on coaching Sunday, and I could not be any more excited. There has been much criticism about his hiring, but why? I understand that Phil Jackson is the most qualified coach ever, but that doesn’t take anything away from D’Antoni. Here are two reasons why Laker Nation doesn’t need to panic:
In Phoenix, he coached one of the best offenses in the league and don’t forget; he coached Steve Nash to MVP honors twice during his tenure. D’Antoni is known for running the pick-and-roll offense, which would bode well for the Lakers in my opinion. Though I am yet to see the coach’s offense in action, Los Angeles has the pieces necessary to make the offense effective. Nash is already a given because he has thrived in this offense in the past. He has an even better team to run it with now, because he has two seven footers that possess different talents to work with. Howard is lethal around the basket, while Gasol is a solid mid-range shooter. Metta World Peace can knock the occasional three down, and then there is Kobe, who can create for himself when the offense breaks down. This offense was built to succeed, and there is no reason that it won’t be effective under D’Antoni.
My next reason is that the leaders of the team have respect for the man. He wasn’t successful in New York, but that wasn’t really his fault. That team was just a mess and I do not know of many people that would be able to defuse that situation. As I previously mentioned, Nash played under D’Antoni for a few years, and he believes that the Lakers can do great things with him as the coach. I have not heard of any comments from Dwight Howard, but it’s probably because he is too busy drooling over the opportunity to take part in this offense. Amar’e Stoudemire thrived in the pick-and-roll and Howard should be able to have even more success. I’m sure he’s fine. Finally, and most importantly, Kobe has personally expressed optimism about him leading the team. He admired D’Antoni as a child and he played well under D’Antoni’s offense that won two Olympic gold medals. If Kobe is happy, then I’m happy.
I’m sure that there are still plenty of people who refuse to believe that Mike D’Antoni will be a successful coach in Los Angeles. Give the man a chance though. Not just three or five games, because it may take a few games to get the offense down; but evaluate him after December. So to Magic Johnson, all of the writers who don’t agree with the move, and all of my friends who don’t like the move because they just don’t like the Lakers…STOP IT.