Why We All (Myself included) Need to Calm Down About the Lakers, part 2

Shaun let me (@mercs_808 on twitter) take over the WordPress…this might be a mistake.

Anyway, as we all found out in the middle of Saturday night/Sunday morning, the Los Angeles Lakers hired Mike D’Antoni to replace the very abruptly fired Mike Brown. As a fan, I didn’t even wanna see Mike Brown hired to begin with, but I digress. This came as a shock to the basketball world because everyone, and I mean fucking EVERYONE wanted to see Phil Jackson come back for one last stand alongside Kobe Bean Bryant in hopes of winning one more championship together. The fans of Laker Nation cried, yelled, chanted, and screamed in all caps on twitter for the return of Phil Jackson to the Lakers bench. They obviously didn’t get their wish.

After Mike D’Antoni got hired, Laker Nation was pissed. This I found hilarious. Why? Because hiring Phil Jackson would not have worked at all, yet hardly anyone understood this. They still don’t. “But Micah, Phil won 11 championships!!!!”

I don’t care. Phil Jackson won all those damn rings, sure. I’m not taking that away from him. But did we forget how he essentially mailed in his last season in Los Angeles?

(Say it witcha chest, lil ass nigga)

Ahh yes, the 2011 playoffs. The Lakers flat out sucked. It took 6 games to knock out the lowly New Orleans Hornets in the first round. Then in round 2, they were so full of struggle that in Game 3 Phil said to himself “Goddamnit I actually have to coach,” and went and punched Pau in his chest. Let’s be real here Phil ain’t stood up from the bench in 4 seasons. He’s used to letting his guys figure it out, and when they did, it was genius. However in this case, it just didn’t work out that way. I loved Phil Jackson, and consider him to be one of the greats but man…dude got lazy towards the end. It took the Lakers falling to 0-3 for him to finally do something about it. I’m sorry Phil, but I’m not looking for a coach to mail it in, not with this roster, and not with the way the top teams in the league are playing.

Also Laker fans, did you forget that Phil runs the triangle offense, which doesn’t fully maximize the skills of Steve Nash or Dwight Howard?

Let me break it down as simply as I can:

The triangle, or triple post offense requires players to space the floor and move the ball using passes and cuts. The “triangle” where the offense gets it’s name from is formed by the guard in the corner, a forward on the wing and the third on the low block. On the weak side, the other guard and forward from the two man game with the guard at the top of the key and the forward at the high post. This doesn’t require an advanced point guard like Steve Nash and essentially makes him a spot up shooter (think John Paxson, Steve Kerr, or most recently Derek Fisher). Also, the offense requires a center adept at playing with his back to the basket. Dwight Howard is getting better at this but by nature he’s a pick and roll big, so right now, it wouldn’t maximize the players we have.

This is where I took issue with those who kept on saying that Phil should have been hired. It’s like people don’t get that just because he won the Lakers some rings that does NOT mean he’s the right coach for this team as currently constructed. Steve Nash would have been reduced to a glorified Steve Kerr, yet as we all know, he is far too skilled to be reduced to a spot-up shooter. I’m sure the Lakers organization saw this and looked at what Mike D’Antoni was able to accomplish with Steve Nash and a bunch of roster fillers. So that’s why I believe he was hired over Phil Jackson (besides the Lakers not wanting to fulfill Jackson’s ridiculous ass requirements). D’Antoni’s system will have these Lakers scoring and scoring and scoring.

(For even more about how D’Antoni’s offense fits these Lakers)

Enough about offense though, let’s talk about this D (pause)..

This is the side that I’m sure you’re all so worried about with these Lakers. And guess what?! We’ll be just fine. When people think of Mike D’Antoni defensively they immediately go back to his Phoenix years and talk about the lack of defense those Suns teams had. The problem with that argument is that the best defensive player he could’ve possibly had on those teams was Shawn Marion…and that’s not saying a whole lot about the team’s defensive prowess. In contrast, during D’Antoni’s shortened second season in New York, his Knicks team was a top 5 defense, this improvement was largely due to the acquisition of Center Tyson Chandler. Now the Lakers haven’t acquired Tyson Chandler, but they have someone better, Dwight Howard. As a 3 time DPOY (Defensive Player of the Year). Dwight can EASILY do what Chandler did under D’Antoni as the anchor of this defense. Also keep in mind that Dwight isn’t even 100% yet and he’s established himself as a tough defensive force already. I’m not saying these Lakers will be a top 5 defense, but the potential is in place to at least be a decent defensive team. Whether or not they perform to that potential is all on the players.

Mike D’Antoni really isn’t gonna be that bad, but because he’s not Phil Jackson so I’m sure that when the Lakers hit a rough patch y’all will drag his name through the mud just like y’all did Mike Brown.

Just remember, not every system fits, and rings really don’t mean shit when we’re talking about present day sports. Just look at how hard it is to repeat a championship season.

Calm the fuck down and watch some basketball. This season is about to get real fun.

-Mercs out



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