How Will Mike D’Antoni Be Remembered by Lakers Fans?

It has been nearly a week since the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers resigned.

The frenzied speculation about a successor has died down to a dull roar, but an interesting question remains—how will Mike D’Antoni be remembered?

Fans of the Lakers have been spoiled by a steady stream of iconic figures, from superstar players to a couple true coaching legends—Pat Riley and Phil Jackson. Those who dare to follow have often been vilified, cast to the side and largely forgotten.

It’s understandable if you judge purely by the ultimate measuring stick of success—Riley and Jackson combined for nine championship rings while coaching the Lakers.

As for all the other guys, you’d have to go back to Paul Westhead in 1980 to find another finals victory for the Purple and Gold.

You know it’s a tough crowd when none other than Magic Johnson, a five-time Lakers champion, decides to pile on.

D’Antoni was hired in a failed attempt to recreate the Showtime era, and the very face of that gilded chapter became one of the coach’s harshest critics.

The lack of success was not for lack of trying, or for want of deeply held basketball principles. This unapologetic purist blazed a small-ball path for two seasons with ill-suited stars, willing reclamation projects and the chronically injured.

Actually, they were all injured.

The latest Lakers coaching failure was hired shortly after the start of the 2012-13 season, replacing the wipeout otherwise known as Mike Brown.

It might have been a fresh new start if not for a giant waving red flag—D’Antoni was hired instead of a guy who had produced the last five championships and had seemed ready for another spin.

A brand new hire was basically doomed from the start.

D’Antoni acknowledged his surprise at being chosen over Jac...

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