It’s Criminally Wrong to Pin LA Lakers Failure on Mike D’Antoni

With the Los Angeles Lakers' season officially over, speculation about Mike D'Antoni's job security is bound to kick into high gear.

A season of moderate highs and crushing lows ended with the Lakers being swept by the San Antonio Spurs in four uneventful games. While fingers will be pointed at D'Antoni for his inability to properly manage lineups or institute a system conducive to his multitude of stars, the fact remains that he was put in a lose-lose situation from day one.

Mike Brown was fired five games into the season. Five. If that wasn't a strong enough signal that D'Antoni was walking into a volatile situation, then I don't know what is.

D'Antoni's hiring puzzled fans who clamored for Phil Jackson's return and ultimately enraged them after the Lakers went 12-18 in December and January.

However, a 25-11 finish over the season's final three months gave the Lakers hope. The offense was clicking, the stars had worked themselves into their respective niches and all was right in the land of purple and gold.

Even with Kobe Bryant absent from the postseason journey, D'Antoni and the Lakers were expected to give the Spurs a run for their money thanks to the presence of Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol and future Hall-of-Famer Steve Nash.

Alas, injuries plagued D'Antoni's trio of stars, and the pitchforks were out again.

So how can anyone blame a guy who found himself coaching a team resembling a D-League product rather than an NBA one?

You can't.

Not even the demigod known as the Zen Master could have salvaged a victory with the lineup D'Antoni was forced to work with. 

Were his defensive tactics a mess? Absolutely. But there's no conceivable way you can point the finger at D'Antoni when he was trotting out a starting backcourt of Darius Morris and Andrew Goudelock against Tony Parker, Danny Green and Manu Ginobili.

For the record, Morris ...

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