Mike D’ Antoni is working quiet miracles this year.

Of course, I mean this within a reasonable context, but hear me out.

After all, this is a team that was picked by most to win less than half their games and miss the playoffs, and that’s before Steve Nash, Kobe Bryan,t Jordan Farmar and Steve Blake all got hurt in succession, which pretty much covers every guy on this team that has proven himself capable of dribbling a basketball for extended periods of times. I mean, I’d ask who was next if I felt like tempting fate, you know?

And yet, with all of this misfortune and with Paout Gasol whining his way to his worst season as a Laker, somehow this team has won half of it’s games in the brutal Western Conference, and prior to Kobe’s (temporary) return had just won 6 of 8 and was playing fast and loose. It is important to gain some perspective here, so allow me to provide a little. This is a team whose leading scorer is Nick Young. Again. Nick Young is the Lakers’ leading scorer. Almost the entire rotation is made up of marginal players or cast-offs from other teams. Almost all of them are one year contracts after underperforming for most or all of their careers. We’re talking about former lottery picks like Xavier Henry, Wesley Johnson and Jordan HIll, who had done so little to this point, they could consider themselves fortunate to even still be in the NBA. Career bench players like Steve Blake and Jodie Meeks.  Lifelong malcontents or knuckleheads like Shawne Williams or Nick Young.

A fistful of Basketball orphans, if you will.

Again, and it’s worth repeating, the brilliance of Mike D’ Antoni’s system is that you don’t even need good players to succeed, just the right kind of players. You need athletes. Guys who can shoot. Maybe a decent point guard or two. Give him that much and he’ll hold his own. Give him anymore than that and you got trouble.

So yeah, everyone is predicting gloom & doom now that Kobe is hurt again but the truth is the Lakers are 11-9 without Kobe this year and 2-4 with him, and even though they started the season with three competent point guards and are now without four (since the Kobe at the point experiment has come and gone) and have resorted to using Henry there, they somehow still continue to beat teams they shouldn’t, play hard and loose and perhaps most importantly, have a little fun out there.

pau

As far as this year goes, it’s still and uphill battle to even make the playoffs, but let’s not forget where expectations were in October versus what has happened in the first seven weeks of this season. Better yet, let’s consider what D’ Antoni has done with this very modest cast of characters. This team has won half of it’s games despite losing every reputable players beside Pau to injury. This team plays it’s ass off and despite all of the proclamations of Mike D’ Antoni’s teams being horrible defensively, has been surprisingly stingy on that front. Bottom line is, this team has been flat out better than it has any right to, and if you understand the reasons why, you’d not only give D’ Antoni his props, you’d be a excited to see what he can do next year with a little more firepower at his disposal.

Hey, someone had to say it. The lesson here isn’t that anybody should be patted on the back for winning 50% of the time. No, the lesson has a little to do with writing wrongs, with assigning credit where it is due and maybe, just maybe, admitting that the guy who took most (or all) of the heat for last years’ debacle isn’t the guy responsible after all.

What can I say, I love this coach. He can do allot with a little. Give him more to work with and who knows?

-JH

 

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23 thoughts on “Mike D’ Antoni is working quiet miracles this year.

  1. you’re misguided if you think this coach has done anything wonderful with this team. they simply are playing OK, at best, basketball and the sample size is ridiculously small to begin with. the injuries are obviously not his fault and have hurt this team but i don’t think he has turned water into wine here by any stretch. they snuck up on the clippers on opening night because for the first time in the clippers history they KNEW they are a much better team and simply didn’t come to play, that and the lakers were ridiculously on fire shooting the ball. the team is fun to watch when they can’t miss from 3 but that’s NOT going to continue long term and more importantly these busts are most likely going to revert to being the busts they have always been over the course of a full season. d’antoni is a middle of the road coach at best and not someone who is going to EVER win an NBA title as a head coach. this will be his 4th job and 3 of them will be considered massive busts. his limited success in PHX will eventually be recognized for what it was, limited success, and i doubt he is given much more then possibly one more chance as a head coach. the guy seems to be a petty asshole as a person and that really only works when you are WINNING CHIPS not when you’re barely making the playoffs and getting bounced in the first round year after year. add in that he somehow can’t seem to get along with some of the bigger stars he’s had, namely gasol and melo, and you’ll see this scrub get bounced out of the league eventually. as shitty of a hire as he was though i still blame jimbo buss, along with saint jerry the misogynist lol, for the majority of the lakers issues as they are fucking idiots for not admitting that phil made them into champions and giving him one last crack at returning them to glory instead of hiring a coach who was going to run off the supposed next franchise player while meanwhile alienating the actual BEST big on the team in gasol. d’antoni is who he is, buss’s are tools for hiring him.

      • He coached FIVE seasons in phx, minus 20 games his first year, not four and he had the two time reigning league mvp on those two teams along with all WORLD talent Amare before he was hurt, and Shawn Marion and those two teams were predictably beat because his system is flawed come playoffs. The guy is an average coach at best who gets way to much credit by uninformed fans for “changing the way the NBA is played” by going small. The actual reason that the game has gone smaller is BECAUSE THERE ARE NO QUALITY BIG MEN ANYMORE. The NBA back to the basket center studs like shaq are over. But trust and believe NO CURRENT “small ball” team that could have banged with shaq/kobe 2000-03 finals teams. Not LeBron and Miami, not dirk and dallas, NOBODY. You’re free to buy into him being great or whatever but you’re wrong, period. His record doesn’t back up your beliefs.

  2. he went to wcf 2 seasons in a row. wtf does the other 2 seasons even matter to your point? he also regressed the season after his 2nd wcf by a series and then further regressed to a 1st round smashing his final season there in phx. he’s an average coach, period, but you seem to like him a lot so go on with your bad self lol

    • Hey, the proof is there. Steve Nash never had as much success before or since as he did in those years. That team was legit, and they had a really good chance to win the whole thing in 2007 if not for a horrendously stupid ruling. D’ Antoni’s system works, and it’s gets the absolute most out of PG’s and athletic wings. That much is factual.

      As for your “regression”, 2007 was the year they had SA on the ropes before the idiotic suspensions of Amar’e and Diaw likely cost them an NBA title, and 2008 was the year they panic traded for Shaq and ruined the whole thing.

  3. The Suns would have likely been contenders for many more years if Robert Sarver hadn’t been so cheap and continually traded away first round picks to save money. Look at the list. Rajon Rondo, Luol Deng, Nate Robinson, Robin Lopez, Rudy Fernandez, Serge Ibaka and Quincy Pondexter. All were traded to avoid taking on their minimal rookie salaries, and in most case they were traded for future 2nd rounders or nothing at all. Think about how stupid that is. Think about how any or all of those players would have fit in with D’ Antoni’s offense. Think about Rondo playing behind Nash or Deng on the wing.

  4. facts = what actually happened dude, NOT what you THINK should have happened lol

    nash had his most success under d’antoni does not = his system works @ the winning a nba championship level

    you seem to confuse your OPINIONS as facts, it’s cute lol

  5. also by your “logic”, lol, the suns should be the 2010 nba champs except for that lucky put back by ronron in the wcf in 2010. obviously if ronron doesnt get lucky there putting that ball in the hoop then the suns win the series and since they beat the lakers they would obviously have beaten the celtics that year as well.

    if we use your version of “proof”, lol, then we could rewrite all sorts of shit. fortunately for us who believe in actual proof your “shoulda coulda woulda” way is recognized for the laughable “logic” that it is…

    the PROOF is there in black in white if you would just bother to look and read it. read his ENTIRE body of work as an nba coach and its easy to see he only had limited success in phx and thats it. hes been a bust in his 3 other stops and has ZERO nba finals appearances as a coach.

  6. btw, i actually do enjoy your writing. i just discovered your site from reading you @ SSR. you’ve got talent at writing even though you cant figure out your opinions are just that, opinions, and not FACTS or PROOF. thank you for the columns, i seriously enjoy them.

  7. not sure whats “erotic” about them but fuck it, a compliment is a compliment so thanks? lmao

    btw you’re going to get banned from SSR soon. they are an uptight bunch of crybabies over there and don’t like being schooled or clowned…

    • It was a reference to an old record…

      And yeah, that place is sad. I’m as big a fan of the Lakers as anyone, but I’m not an emotional homer about it. For those of us who blame Jimmy Buss for what has happened, it’s not as if he has some personal grudge against the guy or anything.

      We just don’t want to see our team ruined.

  8. that reference flew right over my head lol

    the mods shape the agenda there and they put out that d’antoni was a good hire for that roster so the minions took that pick n roll was the holy grail shit to heart. most of the posters on there have a limited IQ and can only repeat what they read from one of the mods over there. at this point they are emotionally invested in “us and jimmy vs the world”, specifically the evil empire of ESPN lol, so they cant seperate facts from opinions or even look at things objectively. it is sad though as that site was pretty good back in the day. now it’s mostly jimmy homerism and d’antoni defending while claiming anyone that has a differing viewpoint is obviously an ignorant troll who is too stupid and or lazy to do nothing more then trot out the evil espn agenda against the lakers. the fact that they’re wrong is quite delicious with irony…

    time and history are unfortunately going to prove that jimbo is an idiot in terms of running the lakers and d’antoni was a monumentally stupid as fuck decision….

    • As you can tell I actually like MDA, and it’s mostly because I really believe that the system makes guys better than they are, but only if you have the right personnel. Otherwise, it’s a waste. The Lakers fundamental flaw is that they have an idiot in charge, so every decision he makes puts them in a deeper hole. Here’s the thing. If you want to roll with Dwight as your guy for the future, you have to do whatever it takes to make him happy and build around hm. Thats how it works. If you want to build around D’ Antoni, you have do but into the system and go get him his kinds of players.

      So far, they’ve done neither.

  9. i completely agree, and said as much over there till they booted me lol. i think you’re faith in d’antoni being a CHAMPIONSHIP level coach is extremely misguided though. there’s literally zero body of evidence to back you up other then your hypothetical coulda shoulda wouldas. the guy has had 4 jobs, colossal failures in 3 of them. the 1 success was limited because he actively preached he dgaf about DEFENSE. he’s on record dozens of times laughing about even the concept of D as he just wanted his guys to outscore the opponents. he didnt care about bad shots so long as they were QUICK shots. sorry but that style cant win it all, period, as in all of recorded nba history time has.NEVER.happened.EVER. people say miami is running his offense so it can work but conveniently overlook that they are playing a pat reilly disciples DEFENSE and the entire team is on the same page in D first leads to fast breaks. toss in they have the best player in the world, i just vomited a lil in my mouth for even typing that, in LeBron and wade and bosh for 3 top 15 players all on the same team means they are winning. they wont beat the pacers this year though as hibbert and west will bang them to death inside and have good matchups on the wings as well. d’antoni is not horrible but he aint great either. he is a system coach who can typically reach underachievers and have them play well in his system. that dont mean hes good, just he has a system that can be ok…

    • I just like to consider every situation individually. Denver and NY were lost causes from day one because the talent wasn’t there. No NBA coach wins without talent. Even Phil was 45 wins and out when the Lakers had Smush and Kwame.

      As far as winning titles goes, I’ll always believe that Phoenix would have won if they didn’t suspend those guys, and if they had won nobody would be talking that “his style can’t win” crap.

      And he’ll never win one here because little Jimmy is waaaaay too stupid to build a championship roster.

  10. they immediately went to the playoffs in NY when he quit lol

    the lakers had so much talent the 1st year me or you could have coached them to the wcf or better yet the whole season was wasted cause hes an asshole and an idiot and couldn’t figure out Pau was better in the post then the 3 point line. and yeah i know about “politics” and agree he was playing them but that also falls on him as well for not being a fucking man and telling the FO to fuck off he had a brand new GUARANTEED contract and was installing his system HIS WAY. you cant be a leader of men and be a fucking pussy at the same time. if he believed he knows the way with his system then he should have grown a backbone and implemented it as he saw fit, phil goddamn well would have lol

    • He’s a system coach. They gave him Carmelo, the exact polar opposite of a D’ Antoni type player, and it didn’t work. If you gave Phil Boogie Cousins and Monta Ellis instead of Shaq and Kobe, it probably ain’t gonna work, you know?

  11. You keep missing the point that he HAD HIS FUCKING SYSTEM PLAYERS IN PHOENIX AND DIDN’T WIN A FUCKING CONFERENCE FINALS LET ALONE WIN AN NBA CHAMPIONSHIP. You seriously give your pov way to much credit about this should have worked, it DIDN’T lol

    What those of us with functioning brains, and eyes lol, clearly saw was the fatal flaw of thinking he was going to outscore everyone so fuck defense. It can’t work, won’t work, and never has worked at the NBA level. All your hypothetical shouldas are just that, hypothetical.

    Other then that rather large flaw in your logic I do appreciate most of your work and clearly recognize you’re intelligence though…

    • It’s a false narrative. The Suns were middle of the pack in defense in 2007. They didn’t win the title because Amar’e and Boris Diaw stepped in the hot lava. If you’d like, I can find you several of average defensive teams that won the NBA title. Start with the Showtime Lakers.

  12. you’re fucking higher then a rastafarian if you think they were “middle of the pack” defensively. they weren’t. spare me the “they had more possessions cause they score more” crap. they couldn’t stop shit in D when it counted and their coach was fine with that. thats WHY they got fucking bounced…

  13. off this subject but about SSR, the reason they all keep saying you wanted phil as head coach is because they are stupid as fuck and cant even read for comprehension. i trained my dog to read blog posts better then they do lol

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