Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.
So, what do you think of the Lakers now?
Steve Aschburner: Do you really want to know? I’m answering this because it’s been asked, but frankly, I’d rather not be writing about or focusing on the Lakers for a while. Squeaky wheel, way too much grease from media and fans. It’s been silly, all this melodrama and he said/he said rancor after a 1-4 start, mostly without key guy Steve Nash available. They needed more time under Mike Brown, as they would have under any coach — including Mike D’Antoni — to find their game, build their trust, etc. If it doesn’t happen now, the cloud of Phil Jackson will hang over the whole season. This feels like a rewind of the Dwight Howard soap opera from last season, only with Howard as a supporting actor this time. Actually, it feels worse — like the team ought to be renamed the Los Angeles Kardashians. They’re actually making the 2010-11 Miami Heat seem like a C-Span snoozer by comparison.
Fran Blinebury: While it was way silly and ridiculous for Jim Buss to hand Mike Brown his head just after he patted him on the back, it was a move that had to be made. The move to bring in Nash is to win now and there is little time to waste. It makes sense to have a coach whose philosophy and system should get the most out of Nash and Howard and should not negatively affect Kobe or Pau.
Jeff Caplan: Absolutely I like what they’ve done. The worst thing would have been to wait and really let things fester, which they would have. Look, it was obvious Mike Brown and the players didn’t connect. Whether it was the Princeton offense or Brown’s choice in ties, it doesn’t really matter. There was a disconnect there, the players did not believe in his ability to guide them. I have no problem with how they went about firing Brown and then hiring Mike D’Antoni late at night when it appeared Phil Jackson was ready to return. Personally, I think they made a good choice for now and the long-term.
Scott Howard-Cooper: The same as I did before: Definitely a contender to win the West and, therefore, a possibility to challenge the Heat. There’s an excellent starting lineup with everyone healthy, a weak bench, and they’re a work in progress — especially on offense — while integrating Steve Nash and Dwight Howard. The switch from Mike Brown to Mike D’Antoni changes nothing. It was a quick hook for Brown, but also understandable.
John Schuhmann: I think it’s pretty ridiculous that they were fine with Mike Brown, Eddie Jordan and the Princeton offense this summer, but then decided five games into the season that they couldn’t go on with that system and coach. If you fire a guy after five games, you obviously didn’t believe in him in the first place. And with the way the Phil Jackson situation was mishandled, it’s clear that Jim Buss was not born to lead. That being said, Brown was never a good fit in L.A. and I’m looking forward to seeing what Mike D’Antoni does with the Lakers’ offense, though I believe they need more perimeter shooting to run D’Antoni’s system at optimum efficiency. Heck, they need more shooting no matter what offense they’re running.
Sekou Smith: Mike D’Antoni is a quality choice as a coach for any franchise anywhere in basketball. So the Lakers got that much right in their quest to replace Mike Brown. My problem is not and never will be with choosing D’Antoni. But the method to their madness is not befitting of a franchise of the Lakers’ stature. As one of the standard-bearers in the NBA (and really, all of sports), this process was beneath the Lakers. Toying with a legend like Phil Jackson the way they did reeks of a petty and dysfunctional leadership structure that flies in the face of everything we’ve come to know about the Lakers over the past 40 years.