Well how bout’ this? Old Suns reunited in Los Angeles. What’s with all the Suns players going to Los Angeles?!? We all thought for a while that Steve Nash would join his former beloved coach Mike D’Antoni in New York but that never became reality. Instead we will now see the image of the old run-n-gun Suns that revolutionized the NBA earlier this past decade with the Los Angeles Lakers; the players will still be wearing purple but it’s now highlighted by gold, not orange.
The Lakers signed D’Antoni to a 4-year deal. The terms of the deal were undisclosed but it’s estimated to be worth 10-15 million dollars in total. Phil Jackson demand a lot of terms and money, at the end of the day the Lakers just didn’t want to give Jackson all that he was asking for. Phil Weber and Mike’s brother Dan D’Antoni will join his staff.
Mike D’Antoni is personally one of my favorite coaches of all-time, his offensive system is just something very special when it’s run by the right point guard, and he had the perfect point guard for 4 seasons in Steve Nash. During D’Antoni’s 4 year reign in Phoenix, the Suns won on an average of 58 games per season, and despite not winning a title during that stretch, the Suns were still one of the deadliest teams in the NBA.
I was disappointed when the Suns let D’Antoni walk to New York back in 2008, but it was clear the Suns front office no longer had D’Antoni’s back 100%; they showed that by trading away one of D’Antoni’s favorite players in Shawn Marion who was the star of the show during the 2005-2006 season when A’mare Stoudemire went under micro-fracture surgery which cost him the whole season. Yes, the Suns still made it to the west finals that year, and had not been for a Raja Bell injury that cost him two-games in the conference finals the Suns very well could’ve taken the chip that year.
The Los Angeles Lakers wanted Phil Jackson to comeback for one more hurrah, but it looks like that never materialized into anything. Yes, Phil would have been the best man for job(In my opinion) but Mike D’Antoni wouldn’t be far behind him in terms of qualification, and goodness of fit.
With D’Antoni’s favorite player Steve Nash running the show in Los Angeles, the familiarity factor plays will play a great role going towards the future, and don’t forget about the fact that Kobe Bryant and Mike D’Antoni has a great relationship with one another.
The famous seven seconds or less offense will make the Lakers an extremely exciting team to watch for the remainder of the season but there are a couple of things for the Lakers at this point that could “POTENTIALLY” Cause issues down the line.
First being the Lakers lack good shooters. When I look at the Lakers roster compared the last roster D’Antoni had, the Lakers don’t have the 3-point shooters Phoenix did. Aside from Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, Jodie Meeks, and whatever’s left of Antawn Jamison, the Lakers have no real shooters. The Lakers will have the deadly Nash and Howard pick and roll combo but with limited shooters around them how will that work out?
Many people are worried about the Laker’s ability to get up and down the floor but look, the D’Antoni system was able to work with Shaq to a certain extent however both Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol are far more mobile than Shaq ever were at that stage in his career so that’s a little bit overblown.
But the second issue here is that, with D’Antoni around Steve Nash is going to be the man, not Kobe Bryant, not Dwight Howard, not Pau Gasol but Steve Nash. Nash will go back to having the ball 90% of the time, and will be calling the plays 80% of the time, so I’m curious how Kobe Bryant is going to fit into this equation. The simple answer for this “Problem” Would be to just tweak the rotation so that Kobe and Nash aren’t on the floor with one another as often but would that hurt the Lakers’ offense? I’m guessing so, because in any offense you have to pay attention to Kobe Bryant.
“Obviously I think everyone knows how much I love Mike,” Nash said Sunday night before the breaking news of D’Antoni’s hiring. “If (D’Antoni) were to coach, it would be seamless and terrific for me, and I think the team as well.”
Yes it’s established now the Lakers don’t have the perfect players for the D’Antoni system but had the Zen master returned, it would take the new guys like Howard, Nash, Meeks and Jamison a long time to learn the triangle offense system whereas D’Antoni’s system is easier, and fact of the matter is, the Lakers doesn’t have the perfect players to play the triangle neither.
Suns fans, I know this hurts. To watch two key figures that gave the Suns one of it’s most glorious eras of basketball join forces with the Los Angeles Lakers, that’s going to be a tough one to swallow.
Well good news is, our former beloved coach and MVP now have their shot at winning the ring they never got when they were together in the valley. Bad news is the Suns are going to face the Lakers later this week on Friday night. Can somebody say awkward? (Awkward……………….)