Lakers hire Mike D'Antoni as new coach

Associated Press Modified: November 12, 2012 at 9:17 am •  Published: November 12, 2012
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Nash and D'Antoni won at least 54 games each season and reached two Western Conference finals — and they eliminated Bryant's Lakers from the first round of the playoffs in 2006 and 2007, still the only first-round exits of Kobe's 17-year career.

D'Antoni then coached New York to just one playoff appearance and no postseason victories. He also coached the Denver Nuggets during the lockout-shortened 1998-99 season.

But his NBA accomplishments can't measure up to Jackson, who won five titles and reached seven NBA finals during two stints totaling 11 seasons with Los Angeles.

Jackson walked away from the club 18 months ago after a second-round playoff sweep by Dallas, and Brown led Los Angeles to a 41-25 mark followed by another second-round playoff defeat last summer.

The Lakers then traded for Nash and Dwight Howard, setting up a season of enormous expectations for Brown — but the Lakers struggled to learn his new, Princeton-influenced offense while playing mediocre defense.

After the Lakers stumbled out of the gate while Howard and Bryant missed preseason games to preserve their health, Nash incurred a small fracture in his leg during the Lakers' second regular-season game, keeping him out of the lineup for their past five games and for at least another week.

The Lakers have improved to 3-4 under Bickerstaff after following up their winless preseason with four losses in their first five regular-season games, the club's worst start since 1993.

Despite his reputation for offensive acumen, D'Antoni's NBA teams typically have played fairly solid defense, statistically speaking — and they never had the imposing Howard or defensive stopper Metta World Peace in their lineups.

Nash had his best NBA seasons as the versatile quarterback of the Suns' offense under D'Antoni, and point guard Jeremy Lin became a star on the Knicks last season while filling much the same role.

D'Antoni resigned late last season following a six-game losing streak, surprising many observers, and former assistant coach Mike Woodson led the Knicks to the playoffs.

Phoenix visits Staples Center on Friday.