Despite many Laker fans calling for him to be fired, Mike D’Antoni doesn’t appear to be on any kind of hot seat.
In an interview with reporters on Thursday night, Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said D’Antoni has “done a great job” despite the “very trying circumstances” that he’s been faced with this season.
Kupchak is right.
The Lakers were playing good basketball early in the year until the majority of their roster got banged up.
When Kobe Bryant returned from his Achilles’ tendon injury, the team were hovering around the .500 mark and looked ready to make the transition into being one of the better teams in the Western Conference. However, injuries have been a serious issue all year long and have derailed any playoff aspirations that the Lakers had this season.
Coming into this season, the Lakers knew they’d need to have a healthy Kobe, Pau Gasol and Steve Nash in order to have a chance of making the playoffs. Those three key players have been banged up all year long, though, especially Bryant and Nash who have played in just 16 games combined.
I’m far from the biggest D’Antoni fan in the world, yet I feel that he should be given some slack: He’s not the reason why this Lakers team is destined for the lottery this year.
I would be perfectly fine with the franchise holding onto D’Antoni for another year in order to give him a chance to work with what should be a healthier Lakers team. Maybe then we’ll be able to judge his coaching ability more fairly.