D'Antoni a great hire for the Lakers: analyst
MANILA, Philippines – The hiring of former Coach of the Year Mike D’Antoni is a good move for the Los Angeles Lakers and may pave the way for the return of the franchise's old "Showtime" ways, according to InboundPass analyst Mike Abasolo.
D'Antoni, the NBA's Coach of the Year in 2005, was hired by the Lakers to replace Mike Brown, who was fired last week after only five games into the season.
"That's a great hire by the Lakers," Abasolo said in an interview on ANC's Top Story. "The Lakers want to win now, they are not thinking about the long-term."
"Mike Brown was thinking about the 'process,' but Lakers management is not. They have four potential Hall-of-Famers and they can win this now," he added.
It was no secret that D'Antoni was not the Lakers' first choice. They originally wanted to get back former coach Phil Jackson, who steered the franchise to five championships this decade. But according to reports, Jackson was asking for too much, leading to D'Antoni's hiring.
Abasolo believes that D'Antoni will solve the Lakers' problems on the offensive end. Despite having a plethora of weapons – including Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Steve Nash and Dwight Howard – the Lakers have an offensive rating of 105.2, just 10th in the league. They have only scored 97.8 points per game.
Abasolo expects this to change now that D'Antoni is the head coach, especially as he will be reunited with Nash.
"He (D'Antoni) is going to up the offense. It's going to be free-wheeling and fun... Showtime is going to be back in Los Angeles. These are exciting times for the Lakers," he said.
With D'Antoni at the helm, the Lakers will most likely play the vaunted "Seven Seconds or Less" offense, which Nash ran with great efficiency during his time with the Suns.
"The 'Seven Seconds or Less' is a pick-and-roll motion offense... it's not and up and down (offense)," Abasolo said.
The key to making the 'Seven Seconds or Less' offense work will be Nash and Bryant, Abasolo said.
As for the Lakers big men, Abasolo said "they are going to love this offense."
"Before, D'Antoni used to have one big guy – Amar’e Stoudemire. Now, he has two in Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard," he said. "So he has a lot of options in the pick-and-roll offense."
The much-maligned Lakers bench will also get a boost, especially since one of their reserves, Chris Duhon, played for D’Antoni in New York last season.
"(Duhon) will flourish in this offense," Abasolo said.
The Lakers' defense will remain a concern, especially as Howard – who was expected to be the team's defensive anchor – is still working his way back to full fitness following off-season back surgery.
Currently, the Lakers have a defensive rating of 102.4, only 18th in the league.
D'Antoni has a reputation of not being a strong defensive coach, although he put together a top-10 defensive team during his tenure as head coach of the New York Knicks.
Both Nash and Bryant have given their endorsement of D'Antoni in previous interviews. Bryant, who won all of his five titles with Jackson, said D'Antoni was his second choice after the "Zen Master."
The Lakers are expected to announce the deal by Tuesday or Wednesday, although D'Antoni will most likely join the team later this week as he is still waiting for a medical clearance following a knee surgery.
D'Antoni won Coach of the Year honors in 2005 after leading the Phoenix Suns to a 62-20 record. He became the head coach of the New York Knicks in the 2008 season and led them to playoffs in 2011. He resigned from the Knicks in March 2012.