A bit more than a week has passed since the Lakers shockingly took Mike D’Antoni over fan favourite Phil Jackson to be the new Head Coach of the slumping team. When D’Antoni looks back on this, he most likely won’t even remember it, why? Because he was on the heavy pain killers as he was forced to come back quickly on his recent surgically repaired knee. A lot has happened since he’s taken over. In practice, he’s starting to slowly install the offense that his new team needs to feel, and not simply learn. Jackson’s shadow will be following closely behind D’Antoni until he wins an NBA title, heck, he probably can’t even find a seat Phil hasn’t sat in. There’s no use fighting it through or dwelling on it as well, yes, Phil could’ve been the new head coach, but Mike D’Antoni could be the perfect fit for the Lakers this season. Although his offense is very quick, and you must run the court, it will definitely be a step above that horrible Princeton offense that they were running earlier in the year with ex-head coach Mike Brown.
Eleven games into a season that really never felt as if it started, the Lakers finally feel they’re moving forward, and that is definitely a good thing. Whether that road is to an NBA title or somewhere, only time will tell where the Lakers will end up. D’Antoni’s Lakers will be very different than Brown’s Lakers and they’ll definitely be different than what Jackson would’ve made this team into. They’ll be a bit faster and freer. Success will be letting go, not learning where to go. Patience, at least on offense, is no longer a virtue. If there’s an open look, it should be taken. Things will definitely be different when Nash and Blake come back into the lineup. Nash knows what D’Antoni’s offense is like, and will be a key part of the offense once he returns.
Right now though, it’s going to be painful – physically. Aside from Bryant and Metta World Peace, it doesn’t look as if any of the team has run in about five months. I sense many lines will be ran at practice if they going to want to play at D’Antoni’s pace. It’s the way he believes basketball should be played. It’s why the Lakers hired him, they believed this vision fit their roster of players. Over the course of the season, D’Antoni will continue to be showcased against Jackson, and he knows that and as long as his knee hurts, he’ll be walking like him too.
The future might look grim right now for the Lakers, but one thing’s for sure, they’re heading in the right direction, and what direction that is, I really don’t know. Will there be a Championship? That all depends on the chemistry between the coach and players and how fast it can develop.
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