Now Mike D’Antoni can “bust’ the Phoenix Suns.
The former Suns coach is now the coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, and contrary to those who object, this is an absolutely great hire for the purple and gold. Mike D’Antoni and his system are a better fit than Phil Jackson and his triangle offense with the personnel the Lakers have.
There are no if ands or buts about it. You don’t trade for Steve Nash and give him a three-year contract and have him run a Princeton or Triangle offense. Nash is good enough to fit in any offense, but for him to be special, for him to be dominant, he needs to play in his offense, the one created by D’Antoni. Look, it was simple to see in the preseason when the Lakers went 0-8 that Steve was not Steve.
Now Nash gets to be himself, to run the show, to get everyone involved and to win. Nash is the only player in the history of the NBA to play his best basketball beyond the age of 32. And why did that happen? Mike D’Antoni.
With Dwight Howard and the pick-and-roll game, the shooting of Pau Gasol, Kobe Bryant and Ron Artest this is going to work. Is it a perfect system for Bryant? No. But while Kobe is used to being the whole show, at 34 years old and with 220 playoff games under his belt, he is no longer capable of being the show night in and night out. He needs help and he knows it. And with this system Bryant, who is good without the ball will get open looks, knock down a ton of three-pointers and at times when the offense is stagnant, will get to run his isolation plays and get to the free throw line. So this will work for Bryant.
As for the defense — or the lack of it in D’Antoni’s system — he now has Dwight Howard, a three-time Defensive MVP. which is something he never had in Phoenix. He also has Ron Artest, who is a good on-the-ball defender. And the Lakers have size, which is something Phoenix never had. So the Lakers will be fine defensively.
And for the LA Times columnist worried about the Lakers’ age, seriously? You’re worried about finely-tuned athletes running up and down the court? That is the easy part. The hard part is physical half-court defense. That wears players down, not easy transition baskets. I’m sure a bunch of 30-something-year-old guys have no issues running.
So to think this won’t work is foolish. The Lakers may not win the championship, but hiring D’Antoni gives them the best chance to win it all.