Mike D'Antoni was officially announced as the new Los Angeles Lakers coach on Sunday night after the speculation that the team's former championship winning coach Phil Jackson would rejoin the "Lake Show". Fans offered mixed reactions about the Lakers' decision to hire D'Antoni only eight months after he resigned from his job as head coach of the New York Knicks.
- (Photograph: Twitter/Los Angeles Lakers)
The Lakers announced that they would fire head coach Mike Brown on Friday, after his 1-4 start to the 2012-2013 season despite the acquisition of All-Stars Dwight Howard and Steve Nash to the championship winning team that includes Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol. Lakers' general manager Mitch Kupchak made it clear that the team's main focus is winning and that Brown had to be cut from the team in order to make that happen.
"The bottom line is that the team is not winning at the pace that we expected this team to win and we didn't see improvement," Kupchak announced before wishing Brown well.
While ESPN sources cited former Lakers coach Jackson as the possible replacement for Brown after his record of bringing five championships to the franchise, his health and ability to travel with the team for road games were questioned. After the announcement was made that both Bryant and Nash agreed with the Lakers' decision to sign a four-year contract with D'Antoni, many fans expressed disappointment.
One fan compared the Lakers' decision to signing college football coach Steve Spurrier in place of Super Bowl championship-winning NFL coach Bill Belichick.
"Going with Mike D'Antoni over Phil Jackson is kinda like bringing in Steve Spurrier to coach your NFL team over Bill Belichick #FAIL," the fan tweeted.
Another person took to Twitter to predict that D'Antoni would be fired when Lakers center Dwight Howard doesn't play up to his expectations.
"#Lakers hire Mike D'Antoni as head coach, saving Phil Jackson for when Dwight Howard gets D'Antoni fired two weeks from now," the person tweeted.
However, ESPN analyst Jemele Hill defended the Lakers' decision to sign a contract with D'Antoni.
"Not surprised Lakers went with D'Antoni. Phil Jackson is not the same, health-wise," Hill tweeted. "$11-12M a year for a coach who can't coach all the road games."
ESPN released some statistics discussing the fact that D'Antoni's defense has been lacking on teams that he coached in the past.
"Mike D'Antoni's (Phoenix) Suns teams ranked No. 1 in off efficiency from 2004-08, but they never finished better than 16th in defensive efficiency," the ESPN network tweeted.
Another fan seemed to use this example as a reason that the Lakers may not have made the best decision to sign on with the former Suns and Knicks coach.
"That was definitely the worst decision the Lakers coulda made," the fan said. "D'Antoni has no desire to play defense."
A fake D'Antoni Twitter account seemed to agree that hiring the former Knicks and Suns coach was a bad idea.
"For the record, I'd hire Phil Jackson over me too," the @Coach_D_Antoni Twitter account stated.