Posted April 24, 2013

Jerry West: Criticism of Mike D’Antoni has been ‘grossly unfair’

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Jerry West believes Mike D'Antoni has done well getting Lakers to playoffs.(Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)

Jerry West believes Mike D’Antoni has done well getting the Lakers to the playoffs. (Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)

Laker legend Jerry West fended off criticism of Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni on Monday, saying he’s done a nice job after inheriting a team under difficult circumstances.

The Hall of Famer put his support behind D’Antoni who has faced criticism from media and fans after taking over a Lakers team floundering at the bottom of the Western Conference standings and coaching them to a 45-37 record and a playoff berth.

“I think there’s been far too much criticism of Mike [D'Antoni],” West said to Max Kellerman and Marcellus Wiley on ESPN LA 710 radio.

“I think it’s grossly unfair to him. He inherited a team that had a bunch of injuries,” West said. “He inherited a team without a training camp. I think he’s done a nice job, to be honest with you.”

West also questioned why Lakers fans and media members continue their obsession with the team’s decision not to hire former coach Phil Jackson.

“I think all of us felt they were going to hire Phil, and it didn’t happen,” West said. “People have to move on. That’s what makes sports so interesting. You have to let decisions that are made be made and see what happens.”

West said the presence of high-salaried talents Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard and Steve Nash didn’t mean the Lakers were a lock to be one of the best teams in the Western Conference or contend for an NBA title.

“When you put a bunch of people together, you have to look at age. You have to look at lot of different things,” he said. “In the course of a season, the most difficult thing to do is to get through an 82-game schedule, particularly when you have older players.”

Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said last week that D’Antoni would return as coach next season.


6 comments
DTL
DTL

I feel for Mike D but at the end of the day, it's the Lakers we are talking about here - 2nd best does not cut the mustard...Sneaking into last (7th) place isn't good enough for a team with 4 future Hall of Famer's on the starting lineup for varying degree's throughout the season. Most teams aren't lucky enough to have even 1 for the entire season.

 

On the flip side, Miami has only 2 sure fire HoF'ers (with Wade significantly hobbled)...with an asterix next to Bosh (will he make the HOF?), and  a below average bench whom have pulled together incredibly well with chemistry and sacrifice. LBJ, unlike Kobe, has made the entire bench far better than what they are.

 

Its Mike D's inability to coach a different style, and Kobe's alpha male personality that have screwed things up. Howard has quietly done his best in a limited role, whilst Nash and Gasol have been ineffective through injury. 

 

Amnesty Kobe privately for a year - bring him back for a "pittance" (aka 10M 2 yrs), sign back Dwight, get LeBron or Bosh when they are a free agent and re-start in 2014.

 

PS - Kobe aint winning 6 or beating Malone's scoring record.

 

 

spikecorndog
spikecorndog

 @DTL

 So NostraDTL......you're just like the rest of the media that is easy to criticize just to make noise.  Kobe's already admitted he will probably retire next year and won't play 5 more years. Only on a slow media day do you hear of the scoring record. 

The Lakers are buying time the next two years for the free agent class of 2014.  ..... and then Kobe will play another 2 years.....

MiloFassbinder
MiloFassbinder

That's nice of Jerry to say, but at the end of the day it's about results. It's the coach's responsibility to make the most of the talent he has. And when you look at the Lakers' talent, age and injuries included, anyone who believes D'Antoni has done an acceptable job is delusional. We can accept that it was a tough job and a championship was far from a shoe-in this year. But how can you excuse trying to fit a square peg in a round hole in play strategy? D'Antoni is a one-trick pony. Do you think Greg Popovich or George Karl would have achieved the same results? Yes, it is very difficult to bring major talents together, but then why hire a coach who washed out with the then-lowly Knicks 2/3rds through last season because he "lost the locker room" (and how the Knicks improved almost from the day he left)? I don't blame D'Antoni for this; I blame the people responsible for hiring him. But what I do not forgive is failing to take Kobe out of his last game when he banged his knee. Take him out for a mere 60 seconds, just to make sure he had strength in the leg. And most especially, for not taking Kobe out for a minute later on when his leg just gave out and he fell to the floor without provocation. If D'Antoni is back next season I won't be watching the games. When prodded by Charles Barkley last night, Kenny Smith basically said he'd like the job and would take it. Or what about Brian Shaw, who spent years with the Zen master and knows the Lakers and the triangle offense?

DTL
DTL

 @MiloFassbinder agree with what mostly you are saying...Mike D inflexible....George K couldnt coach the Lakers with the non stop running - wrong person. Popovich - yes. As for Brian Shaw and Kenny Smith - no way...far too big a starting head coach job to make their bones in the NBA.

 

They got rid of Mike Brown too early. The Zenmaster is a pipe dream. They arent going to pay 3 coaches for the price of one. 

 

Only one person who can do the job - is Red Auerebach (wiki).

 

 

 

 

 

MiloFassbinder
MiloFassbinder

 @DTL

 Probably right. At this point especially  it'd be reckless to throw the dice on the unproven.