HANG TIME NEW JERSEY — Mike D’Antoni, not Phil Jackson, will be the next coach of the Los Angeles Lakers.
D’Antoni, who resigned as coach of the New York Knicks just eight months ago, signed a four-year contract to coach the Lakers’ star-studded roster.
Mike Bresnahan of the L.A. Times was the first to report the news and the Lakers made it official shortly thereafter. According to Bresnahan’s source, Jackson was “asking for the moon.” Apparently, the Lakers weren’t that desperate to rehire Big Chief Triangle.
D’Antoni has great relationships with both Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash, but the hire brings plenty of questions, which makes him a much more fascinating hire than Jackson would have been. The questions start with defense (as they always have with D’Antoni), but there’s no guarantee that the Lakers will be that great offensively.
Nash and Dwight Howard are great fits for D’Antoni’s four-out, one-in offense. But the other Laker starters might not be able to provide the spacing needed for Nash to operate the pick-and-roll at optimum efficiency. Bryant, Metta World Peace and Pau Gasol are great players, but they’re not great 3-point shooters. And we already know that the Lakers’ bench is subpar.
So it will be very interesting to see how the Lakers’ perform on both ends of the floor. Expectations are obviously high and other contenders have a head start on the drive for the 2013 NBA title.