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Report: D’Antoni wants Nate McMillan as “defensive assistant”

Nov 12, 2012, 1:17 PM EDT

Mike+Krzyzewski+Jim+Boeheim+2008+State+Farm+xBpchka4VI8l Getty Images

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 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.

  1. camnellum12 - Nov 12, 2012 at 2:20 PM

    Good Lord, Kurt, when are you ever sold on anything Lakers related? And Dwight won’t be parked on the block a lot, he’ll be setting plenty of screens.

    • mojomarc - Nov 12, 2012 at 9:51 PM

      As a Blazers’ fan, I’m completely sold this is a fantastic move by the Lakers. Anything as bone-headed as hiring Nate as a defensive specialist will result in hilarity such as Steve Nash is caught guarding opposing PFs on pick and rolls while Nate yells at him to “square up.” Oh, I can’t wait!

    • 00maltliquor - Nov 13, 2012 at 2:12 AM


      Someone else finally noticed.

  2. leearmon - Nov 12, 2012 at 2:27 PM

    As a Knick fan, Im not the biggest fan of Mike D’Antoni. But to be fair, last offseason, many members of the basketball media questioned whether Mike Woodson would be a good choice as a “defensive coordinator” due to his past success, or lack there of, with defense in Atlanta. And obviously those doubts were silenced. So who’s to say these won’t?

  3. gopokes0714 - Nov 12, 2012 at 2:30 PM

    How many teams are in the NBA? This blog is dying along with the Lakers

    The last 75 blog posts are broken down as follows:

    33 Lakers
    6 Heat
    4 Kings
    4 Thunder
    4 Timberwolves
    3 Grizzlies
    3 Trail Blazers
    2 76ers
    2 Knicks
    2 Bobcats
    2 Suns
    2 Clippers
    1 Wizards
    1 Bulls
    1 Bucs
    1 Rockets
    1 Cavaliers
    1 Hornets
    1 Celtics

    • nbascreed - Nov 12, 2012 at 3:21 PM

      Now overlay the number of comments, clicks and time spent on page on top of your breakdown and you’ll see very clearly why Lakers articles have been fast and furious. As soon as WE stop clicking and commenting en masse the articles will tail off.

    • xliontamer - Nov 12, 2012 at 3:28 PM

      That’s only two posts for every championship…

      • gopokes0714 - Nov 12, 2012 at 3:57 PM

        and 32 posts more than anyone cares

    • lakerdownunder - Nov 12, 2012 at 4:59 PM

      Yep, but let me introduce you to the internet where there are 4 BILLION blogs on every topic and team you can think of. If you think this site is too Lakers specific (and it may be) then visit one of the million alternatives.

      With that said, irrespective of your team, you would be hard pressed to disagree that the biggest stores of the early start of the season have been Laker related…the failure to find early success despite $100M payroll, the firing of their coach, the anticipation of PJ coming back, and the relative shock of MD joining.

      Forget who you support…are there any other bigger basketball stories going on right now?

    • mytthor - Nov 13, 2012 at 1:04 AM

      Yes. Why would there be that many stories about the league’s most popular franchise, with it’s most talented starting lineup, which is playing really far behind expectations, just fired the coach, thinking about hiring the winningest coach in league history. Really I don’t see why there would be these stories.

    • 00maltliquor - Nov 13, 2012 at 2:18 AM

      @ gopokes0714

      Maybe because something dramatic just happend within the last few days to the leagues premier team. Hmmmm…..

  4. rickeydynamite25 - Nov 12, 2012 at 2:30 PM

    2 for the price of 1.

  5. michaeljordanseviltwin - Nov 12, 2012 at 4:12 PM

    I was initially impressed with your analysis of McMillan’s teams and their lack of top-15 defensive efficiency ratings but then I looked it up for myself:

    2008-2009 Portland Trailblazers: 13th in D efficiency
    2009-2010 Portland Trailblazers: 15th in D efficiency
    2010-2011 Portland Trailblazers: 14th in D efficiency

    That’s three in the top half of the league. You’re still right that he isn’t the defensive guru that the talking heads say he is, but he did crack the top 15 several times.

  6. bigtganks - Nov 12, 2012 at 6:57 PM

    Yes, please write more on the Pacers and Bucks… Why are you here? To read about the Bobcats??

  7. lakerluver - Nov 12, 2012 at 9:36 PM

    If Nate comes along–with D12, Kobe and MWP already in tow–D’Antoni’s rep as coach, in regards to defense, will change immediately.

  8. tfoz5150 - Nov 12, 2012 at 11:53 PM

    I still cant believe Laker fans arent pissed about this. I mean its like youre gladly slurping up the Koolaid theyre giving you. The media too!

  9. 00maltliquor - Nov 13, 2012 at 2:21 AM

    Nate McMillan….hmmm….I’ll take it!

    btw, SHOWTIMES BACK!!! Go Lakers!

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