Lakers News: Mike D’Antoni’s Adjustments Have Been Key to LA’s Playoff Push

Mike D'Antoni will never be Phil Jackson. He'll never win 11 championship rings, guide three different three-peats or provide the Zen wisdom that has helped bring out the best in nearly every superstar he's come across. 

D'Antoni is ringless, his best three-peat was the fact that he had three jobs prior to coming to Los Angeles and his wisdom is oftentimes shrouded by blunt, sarcastic remarks that draw ire from fans and players. 

For that reason, Los Angeles Lakers fans will never fully embrace D'Antoni. At least not until he hangs a banner in the Staples Center. They will look at him as "Not Phil." As the guy drunk-with-power Jim Buss chose over a coaching icon to fulfill a personal vendetta. 

As much was clear on Tuesday night. With Jackson on hand to pay honor to legendary center Shaquille O'Neal, who was having his jersey retired, the crowd interrupted proceedings with an impromptu "We want Phil" chant at halftime.

Bemused, O'Neal acknowledged that he indeed wanted Phil, too. It was a scene as painfully awkward as one would expect, but not nearly as much as in the Lakers' locker room. According to Hoopsworld's Alex Kennedy, the Lakers were watching O'Neal get honored until the chant started, at which point Kobe Bryant flicked off the television:

When asked about the situation after the game, D'Antoni was as gregarious as one could expect.

"He's only won 58 rings," D'Antoni said (via ESPN's J.A. Adande). "Why wouldn't they?"

It's a level of self-awareness that few thought D'Antoni had. The biggest criticism when D'Antoni took the Lakers job—and I was chief among those critics—was that his arrogance had always been his undoing. That he's become so married to his system and the merits of it that the confidence had manifested itself into obliviousness. It happened most notably in New York, where D'Antoni's Knicks somehow became a bette...

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