This is not as great an idea as it sounds. But we’ll get to that in a bit.
Mike D’Antoni is reportedly interested in bringing former Sonics and Trail Blazers coach Nate McMillan on his Lakers staff as a “defensive assistant,” reports Ken Berger at CBSSports.com. He adds that the one lock for D’Antoni’s staff seems to be Dan D’Antoni, Mike’s brother.
McMillan and D’Antoni were both assistant coaches under Mike Krzyzewski for Team USA when they won the past two gold medals. They are both well respected by players.
This hire could well be a good one — but don’t think Nate McMillan is a defensive specialist.
No team of McMillan’s has ever finished in the top half of the league in defensive efficiency (points allowed per possession). His teams didn’t allow that many points per game because they played at a painfully slow pace (which makes this another odd pairing with D’Antoni). His team’s career defensive numbers are barely better than D’Antoni’s when you break things down by possession.
But now the pair of coaches would have Dwight Howard in the paint and solid defenders such as Metta World Peace and Kobe Bryant on the perimeter. They have the pieces to be good defensive team.
And they need to be, it is their key to winning. I’m just not sold McMillan makes that happen.