It was reported this morning that the Lakers hired Mike D’Antoni in what was a complete shocker of a move. It had been reported all through the weekend that the job was Phil Jackson’s to lose. He apparently was asking for way too much than the Lakers were willing to offer so they turned him down.
D’Antoni reportedly signed a three year deal worth $12 million and has a team option that the Lakers can choose to exercise through the fourth year, per ESPN.com.
Apparently, Phil Jackson thought that the Lakers job was his and he was stunned when they turned him down. The negotiations between Jackson’s agent and the Lakers were supposed to continue today, according to ESPN. That plan didn’t last through the night as Mike D’Antoni signed his deal at 11:30.
This move was in the best interest for the Lakers offense. The triangle offense that Jackson was going to bring to the table wasn’t going to maximize the talent of the roster that they have in place.
The triangle offense is a relative of the Princeton–a lot of the same principles are involved. The difference is that instead of there being someone on the high post to initiate the offense, it can operate through the low block as well.
There is always going to be a sideline triangle and two man action on the weakside. That triangle is what the Princeton doesn’t feature. The players are spaced a lot more but the cutting principles are the same.
Either way, the offense wasn’t going to bring out the best in Steve Nash and Dwight Howard. Though offense was never the problem in LA to begin with, the change will have them included in a lot more of the action.
Coming down the floor and running a set wasn’t ideal for their talents. They both like to be in uptempo offenses that push the pace–especially Nash. If you have one of the top five to seven point guards in the NBA and you aren’t maximizing that talent, that’s a waste of space and money.
With D’Antoni in the picture, that talent is going to be put to great use. It’s going to be a seamless transition with Nash because he already knows the system. There will be a lot of screening and weakside cutting as well. This is going to be the Phoenix Suns of 2009-2010 times five, easily.
If they’re a top three team as far as pace goes, they’ll easily have one of the best offenses in the league. When you have the most talent on the floor, you want to create as many possessions as you can for your team. Chances are you’ll beat the opposition nine times out of ten.
I’m excited to see how Bryant will acclimate to different responsibilities off of the ball. He’s going to have to deal with spotting up at times and I’m sure that he’ll be the primary ball handler at other times as well. He’s amazing at baseline cuts and coming off of curls, so he’ll flourish with that in this offense.
Shawn Marion got his payday because of this offense–I expect Bryant to have double the success that Marion did. With one of the best set-up men in the NBA that should be an easy task for him.
The other option he could take is the same on that Carmelo Anthony did last season. He always wanted the ball in his hands and he couldn’t play within the flow of the offense. If that is an issue with Bryant, I don’t expect this Laker team to be as good as advertised.
With that being said, we should welcome Showtime back into a Lakers uniform, finally. This offense is related to the same one that Pat Riley ran when he coached the Lakers during their Magic Johnson glory days. Those same principles are being used throughout the Staples Center now, with Chris Paul across the hall.
This is definitely going to be fun to watch.