Grading Mike D’Antoni’s Job as LA Lakers Coach This Season

Who could have guessed last October that when we reflected on the 2012-13 season for the Los Angeles Lakers Mike D'Antoni would be at the forefront of the discussion?

The Lakers wasted no time in sacking incumbent coach Mike Brown after the team stumbled badly out of the gate, and after a brief dalliance with Phil Jackson, D'Antoni was management's choice to lead the Lakers out of the darkness.

There were ups and downs throughout the season and certainly no lack of drama or intrigue. Let's take a look at what D'Antoni did and did not do well before giving him a final grade on his yearly report card.


The Good

Credit where credit is due. D'Antoni was dealt a pretty poor hand with the Lakers. Sure, he had four All-Star-caliber players who will all be enshrined in the Hall of Fame one day, but he rarely had them all available together.

In fact, the projected preseason starting lineup of Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, Metta World Peace, Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard tipped off only seven times all year long. 

Those five combined to miss an entire season's worth of games. And that was with those guys constantly gutting it out to play through pain. World Peace even came back from the same injury that knocked Russell Westbrook out of the playoffs in a mere 12 days.

D'Antoni found a rotation that worked about halfway through the season and stuck to it, finally giving his guys defined roles. Success was immediate after the rotation finally crystallized.

Known for a run-and-gun spread pick-and-roll offense, D'Antoni adapted his system more than most people realized to play more to his players' strengths. 

He went away from his reliance on the pick-and-roll in favor of more post-ups, taking advantage of two of the best post players in the league at their respective positions in Bryant and Gasol.

Many of L.A.'s best looks came from passes ...

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