You knew Steve Nash would like the Mike D’Antoni hiring by the Lakers.
Once he gets his leg healed, and if he can stay healthy, Nash will become the key to the Lakers offense. They are going to run a lot of pick-and-roll and while Kobe Bryant showed Tuesday night against the Spurs he can certainly be the ball handler there and be effective, Nash should be back at home.
So yes, he’s happy, he told Sam Amick of Sports Illustrated.
“I never would’ve predicted him being here as we get a chance to work together again, especially here with this team. I’m thrilled, but definitely shocked as well. I didn’t see it coming. Everything has happened so fast.”
Like everyone, Nash thought it was Phil Jackson getting the job.
“Well I mean, of course. In some ways, I thought it was Phil, and so I was geared up for that, and excited in a totally different respect because of his experience and success, and particularly here with this organization. That would have been a whole different circumstance that I would’ve been excited for as well. But I’m back with Mike and thrilled.”
There was a sense that D’Antoni was too wed to his system, too ridged in New York and that led to his problems coaching the Knicks. The Lakers are not the 2006 Suns in terms of youth and athleticism. Can he adapt?
“Yeah, I think he’ll adapt. I think that’s one of Mike’s strengths, is that he’s a thinker and that he’s willing to adapt. He’s great in-game, and I think he’s also great going back and looking over a game, looking over a month and saying, ‘Look, I think this will help our team,’ and shifting toward something that suits the parts. That’s just one of the things that I think he’s terrific at and a strength of his. You know, I’m sure he’ll adjust to the group. I’m sure there will be a lot of familiarity with the old Mike teams, but at the same time we’ll adjust somewhere to the natural place where this team is going to succeed.”
Asking Nash what he thinks of D’Antoni is pretty much like asking the head of the Democratic Party what he thought of a Barack Obama debate performance. You know the answer whether you believe it or not. Nash said he thinks with this Lakers roster (read: Dwight Howard) he will have a good defensive team. That’s at least some spin.
D’Antoni has gotten a huge chance here, we’ll see what he does with it.