Mike D’Antoni was never able to get over the hump with the Phoenix Suns. He had a few teams that looked like they could win a championship, but his offensive mindset never translated to a title.
When he left Phoenix for the bright lights of New York, with the talent the Knicks had, it looked like D’Antoni might have the chance to be successful there.
But things were much worse in the Big Apple.
The Knicks could never really comprehend the system and it was clear that D’Antoni missed Steve Nash, the guy who had run his offense successfully for years. He left the Knicks on bad terms and a couple years later, he is admitting that it was a bad decision.
I shouldn't have gone to New York," he said. “I should have stuck in there and battled. You don't get to coach somebody like him [Nash] too many times. It's pretty sacred and you need to take care of it. I didn't… I initiated it and I probably shouldn't have.
It is not all that shocking that D’Antoni regrets his decision to go to New York. What took me by surprise is the fact that he was not forced out in Phoenix. I really thought Steve Kerr wanted D’Antoni gone because the “all offense, no defense” philosophy wasn’t cutting it. It looks more like D’Antoni took the initiative and pursued the job in New York.
He needs to put all of that behind him now. He has been reunited with his little buddy in Los Angeles, and if Nash ever gets healthy again, we could see the “seven seconds or less” offense truly resurrected by the Lakers.
When Mike Brown was fired by Los Angeles, every Laker fan out there wanted to bring back Phil Jackson but they went with D’Antoni instead. That adds a lot of pressure when you get “picked” over a guy with 11 championship rings, but D’Antoni has a chance to redeem himself. The best way to move past his failure in New York would be to succeed in L.A.
Image: LA Times