Skip to content

First press conference shows Mike D’Antoni near opposite of Mike Brown

Nov 15, 2012, 6:36 PM EDT

New Los Angeles Lakers head coach Mike D'Antoni smiles during a media conference after practice at the Lakers' training facility in El Segundo, California Reuters

It took about five minutes of one press conference for one thing to be very clear:

Mike D’Antoni is about the polar opposite of Mike Brown.

The Lakers wanted a clean break and a new direction, and they got that for sure. Brown was controlling — he was a grind-it-out guy focused on defense and a complex offense where he called plays almost every time down the court. He micromanaged and overthought things.

D’Antoni, not so much.

“I don’t like to call a lot of plays, our offense should flow,” D’Antoni said at his introductory press conference with the Lakers, before falling back on one of his mantras. “The ball should find energy and the ball should find our best guys.”

D’Antoni talked about mindset and getting players not to fit a system but to play to their strengths.

Look what he said about Pau Gasol, saying the Spanish big man will play some four, some five and they will “try to open up a little bit more for him.”

“I know players are criticized a lot for not being tough enough, I just don’t buy into it,” D’Antoni added about Gasol. “He’s a tough guy in the sense he is a skilled guy. There is a difference. Sometimes you get outside of what you do. What he does is great and I’m going to do is get him to do what he does.”

It was the same idea talking about Jodie Meeks: “I told him the only time he needs to shoot is when he touches the ball.”

Meeks is a shooter, D’Antoni doesn’t want him to be a ball handler making decisions. It was the same with Dwight Howard, Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash — he talked about flow and space and getting them to do what they do well in just a free flowing way.

He also said multiple times this is the best defensive personnel he has ever had and he expects this team to be a “bear” on defense.

We’ll see. He talked a good game, now is just the challenge of living up to it.

Other press conference highlights:

• D’Antoni did not shy away from title talk: “We’re built to win this year, this is not a project. We have a window and we’re going to try and get through it.”

• He said his first game as coach likely would be Sunday, not Friday against the Suns.

• He said he didn’t hear Magic Johnson’s comments that ESPN has beat into the ground all Thursday. But he basically shrugged off all the criticism saying he understands but if he wins it would all go away. He’s right.

• D’Antoni talked a lot about process. “We have to have goals, we have to understand the game Friday is a step on the road to the championship. We can’t will ourselves into June, but we have to play the regular season. That is important, we have to build a foundation.”

• “I think that’s the biggest challenge, that we didn’t have a (training) camp. The work we’re doing now, today in practice, we would do that in September… The good part is they are great players and they pick it up pretty quick.”

• As for his time in New York… He said he backed the Carmelo Anthony trade, and while he supported getting Tyson Chandler those two deals left them without a point guard to run his point-guard driven offense. They struggled. And when they struggled everything turned on them and everyone got killed in the media. He was philosophical about it.

• D’Antoni on his relationship with Kobe dating back to when Kobe’s dad played with D’Antoni in Italy when Kobe was 12. “He can come over and cuss me out in Italian and you guys might not even know it.”

• Also about Kobe: “That’s the most competitive guy I’ve ever been around… his intensity, that is something that as a coach, I love it. And he’s playing great basketball right now, as great as he has ever played.”

• He says this will not be a seven seconds or less team, but he wants the tempo faster. “If you’ve got the best team, why wouldn’t you play the most possessions that you could play? If you’re the best, defensively and offensively. Any time possessions are cut down, then a bad call or a missed shot and you got a chance to lose. But to me, if we get the possessions up here (holds arms far apart), to me statistically we’ve got a lot better chance to win.”

Latest Posts
  1. Report: Kobe Bryant already vacationing in France as Lakers end ugly season

    Apr 16, 2014, 4:29 PM EDT

    Kobe Bryant

    While the Lakers end their dreary season Kobe Bryant is already on vacation.

  2. Blake Griffin would vote yes on NBA allowing medical marijuana use

    Apr 16, 2014, 3:46 PM EDT

    Blake Griffin AP

    Clippers forward: ‘It doesn’t really affect me, but so many guys would probably benefit’

  3. Mavericks, Grizzlies both motivated to win Wednesday, avoid Spurs in first round

    Apr 16, 2014, 2:49 PM EDT

    Memphis Grizzlies v San Antonio Spurs - Game One Getty Images

    The Spurs have crushed the Grizzlies and Mavericks this season, so those teams are motivated to avoid a trip to the Riverwalk to start the postseason.

  4. 2014 PBT Awards: All-Rookie team

    Apr 16, 2014, 2:14 PM EDT

    Tim Hardaway, Mason Plumlee Tim Hardaway, Mason Plumlee

    First team nearly a clean sweep, but one top teamer didn’t even make other two ballots

  5. Report: Sale of Milwaukee Bucks for record $550 million agreed upon, team to stay in Milwaukee

    Apr 16, 2014, 12:57 PM EDT

    Image (1) Bucks_logo-thumb-250x346-20140.gif for post 4121

    New York based hedge fund billionaires Marc Lasry and Wes Edens are buying the team but keeping it in Wisconsin, they just need to get a new arena built.

  6. Tyson Chandler: ‘I’m not into wasting seasons’

    Apr 16, 2014, 12:22 PM EDT

    Jimmy Butler, Tyson Chandler Jimmy Butler, Tyson Chandler

    Knicks center knows, though, he might have no choice

  7. Shaq smashes Brent Barry’s guitar ala Animal House (VIDEO)

    Apr 16, 2014, 11:46 AM EDT

    Shaquille O'Neal AP

    You can’t do enough Animal House references to make me happy.

  8. Clippers and Raptors clinch best records in franchise history, Spurs next?

    Apr 16, 2014, 9:55 AM EDT

    Blake Griffin, Jonas Valanciunas Blake Griffin, Jonas Valanciunas

    How many years feature three of the best records in a franchise’s history?

  9. Chicago Bulls creating offseason trade options with latest signings (updated)

    Apr 16, 2014, 9:22 AM EDT

    Atlanta Hawks v Chicago Bulls Atlanta Hawks v Chicago Bulls

    Bulls give Greg Smith, Ronnie Brewer, Lou Amnundson and Mike James multi-year contracts

  10. Playoff Chase: Seven meaningful games on final night of NBA season

    Apr 16, 2014, 8:45 AM EDT

    Zach Randolph, Dirk Nowitzki Zach Randolph, Dirk Nowitzki

    Nothing like waiting until the last minute to figure things out.

  11. 2014 PBT Awards: Most Improved Player

    Apr 16, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

    Goran Dragic, Anthony Davis Goran Dragic, Anthony Davis

    Nine combined spots on the ballot go to eight different players, and none of our winners made the other two’s top three

  12. Tuesday NBA grades: Chris Paul looks playoff ready

    Apr 16, 2014, 2:42 AM EDT

    Denver Nuggets v Los Angeles Clippers Getty Images

    Chris Paul and J.J. Redick look good as Clippers ready for playoffs.

  13. Chris Paul puts Evan Fournier in spin cycle (VIDEO)

    Apr 16, 2014, 12:40 AM EDT

    Los Angeles Clippers v Houston Rockets Getty Images

    Poor Evan Fournier is on the wrong end of a highlight that’s going to get shown a lot for a few days. At least.

  14. Iman Shumpert drops Paul Pierce with the crossover (VIDEO)

    Apr 15, 2014, 11:46 PM EDT

    Miami Heat v New York Knicks Getty Images

    Video of one player executing a crossover that drops another player to the floor — you know you’re watching.

Featured video

Woodson, D'Antoni's coaching futures
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. D. Williams (4542)
  2. D. Wade (4368)
  3. K. Love (4246)
  4. L. James (3798)
  5. S. Curry (3628)
  1. G. Dragic (3566)
  2. C. Anthony (3516)
  3. D. Howard (3450)
  4. R. Rondo (3312)
  5. D. Lee (3173)