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Everyone from Los Angeles Lakers fans and players to coaches and NBA analysts were all surprised when the Lakers chose Mike D’Antoni to be their new coach. D’Antoni himself was surprised because reports stated that Phil Jackson, the 11-time NBA champion, was the top runner to coach the Lakers.
According to ESPN, Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchakin called a meeting with a group of reporters and said that the decision to hire D’Antoni or Jackson came down to basketball.
"It revolved almost completely around the personnel that we had on the team and the style of play that we saw going forward for the team," he said. Kupchak told reporters that management had met with Jackson first at his house, and that there were no offers or requests on either end.
The decision to hire D’Antoni was quite odd and he even told ESPN that he was surprised that they picked him. The Lakers positioned themselves to win a championship within the next two years. Their key pieces, Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, and Dwight Howard all have a few years left on their contracts. D’Antoni has never taken a team to the NBA Finals and has a losing record in the postseason. His offenses while coaching in Pheonix and New York, was to shoot in seven seconds or less, and run the floor. This style however, does not match up with the players on the team. Nash, Gasol, Bryant, and Ron Artest are players all in the back end of their careers, so running in a fast pace offense will wear on them towards the end of games.
According to the Los Angeles Times columnist Bill Plaschke, firing Mike Brown after five games only makes sense if you hire Jackson. D’Antoni is a new coach bringing a new offense with him, so it will still be a long process for the team.