Now that the Los Angeles Lakers have announced the hiring of Mike D'Antoni, it's time to play the second-guessing game. Was it the right move? Will it work out? Can he coach defense?
Zach Harper of CBSSports.com posed three questions about D'Antoni's ability to handle the Lakers head coaching job in a piece that ran on Friday. Harper suggested that while some might fear that Kobe Bryant wouldn't be able to adjust to D'Antoni's pick and roll heavy tempo-pushing offense, the veteran guard has actually proven to be one of the more effective pick and roll players in the league.
Harper also assuaged some of the concerns about D'Antoni's ability to coach defense by reminding us that the Lakers have twin towers Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol, as well as capable defenders in Bryant and Metta World Peace, not to mention that D'Antoni led the Knicks to a respectable 10th in the NBA in defense rating last season.
Perhaps the biggest question is how D'Antoni will deal with the Lakers obvious lack of bench depth. Depth isn't something that can be coached, so D'Antoni will have to get creative with his rotations. It's unlikely that bench will get much better, but it's also unlikely that it will get much worse.
There's no doubt D'Antoni is a well-respected coach and one who is capable of winning, but his success at the helm of the Lakers will likely come down to how quickly his players adjust to yet another offensive scheme and how dedicated they are to improving their shoddy defense.