Am I the only one who, when I first heard, “Mike D’Antoni has resigned from the Lakers,” actually heard “Mike D’Antoni was told to resign?”
I’ll have to admit. When the Lakers first hired D’Antoni, I was excited and optimistic. I truly thought he was going to be a good fit. Kobe publicly said he had a good relationship with him. Nash played with him in Phoenix. All the signs were pointing to a great hire. As an optimistic Lakers fan I had my hopes up. But something never felt right. D’Antoni never had control of the locker room, in fact he never had control during games. This interview with Jalen Rose on Grantland makes it so obvious what was going on.
From back in Rose’s days in Phoenix and the Seven Seconds or Less offense, referring to the 2005 playoffs…
The reason why we really lost the series was Game 1 cause Coach D’Antoni didn’t prepare us with what was going to happen with the Big 3. First off, practice was 10 or 11 in the morning…we shooting around a little bit, coach comes in, he like ‘bring it in’ we go over to the TV and he pop in a video. “Raja Bell for 3,” “Shawn Marion dunk,” “Steve [Nash] behind the back to Amare for a dunk.” And he like, “Alright, we gonna do a couple drills, we gonna do our scrimmage, run our sets, get a good a sweat and we gonna get out of here. I look at Kurt Thomas and like “That’s it?” [D'Antoni] was like “We gonna worry bout what we do. If we play our game and we do what we supposed to do, Tim Duncan can score 40 and that won’t beat us.” You know what Tim did in Game 1? Scored 40 and 20 and beat us.
It’s not that D’Antoni likes to play a fast passed offense. His players just don’t know what to do but run and shoot. Cause that’s what you’re taught when you play junior high basketball!
Maybe it could have worked with a 100% healthy Kobe, Nash and Pau because of their experience. But having such young guys in the lineup this year made D’Antoni’s lack of preparation and leadership abilities crystal clear.