The man that could turn this franchise into a winner is none other than the one and only:
Mike D'antoni has been criticized heavily as a head coach, especially in recent memories with the New York Knicks. So why would I write a fan post stating that he should be the next head coach of the Golden State Warriors? I believe that D'antoni could bring a lot of positive contributions to this team as he is the right candidate for the job.
Let's start out with Mark Jackson. He's currently the head coach of the Warriors as this is his first season as the coach of the franchise and his first season as being a head coach in the NBA. From being a commentator to a coach is a huge transition, but I give credit where credit is due. There are some aspects of his coaching that I like such as his rotations and his ability to communicate well with his players. But let's face it: he is not the right guy for the job. I understand that this is his first year as a coach in the NBA, but he has not made a significant impact on this team (or an impact, if anything). He ain't no Coach Carter. It seems like MJ relies too much on his assistant coaches every game and with the direction that this team is heading (wanting to be a playoff team asap), we don't have the time for MJ to develop as a head coach.
What possibly could Mike D'antoni bring to this franchise?
1. Better Coaching
D'antoni has had a better track record, being 388-339 (.533%). Although it is not as impressive as many head coaches in the NBA, it's worth noting that he has won 232 / 328 games in 4 of his 5 seasons as the Suns head coach. With the roster for the upcoming 2012-2013 NBA season, I feel like he would be able to utilize the talent that we would have to the best of their abilities and not have to depend on his assistant coaches for most of the game. He has a lot of experience being a head coach and would know the right decisions to make in games.
2. Run-and-Gun Offense
- This team was BUILT for an up tempo system. With sharp 3 point shooters in Klay, Steph, B-Rush and Jefferson, they would have much more opportunities to use their talents to rain 3's in Oracle Arena. Most of the players that fill this roster can run the floor, which is a key to being able to play the D'antoni way.
- But....what about defense? Mike D'antoni should lowercase the "d" in his name because he never emphasizes defense! Guess what? Assistant coach Mike Malone is a defensive genius, which is why he is the most paid assistant coach in the NBA. D'antoni has never had a defensive assistant coach like Malone, a guy that has already made this team better defensively underneath rookie head coach Mark Jackson. Also, we just acquired Andrew Bogut, one of the best defensive centers in the NBA when healthy who would anchor this team's D on the floor. He's the best defensive player D'antoni has ever had (don't give me that Tyson Chandler bull--he is nowhere near Bogut in terms of defense), so our defense would definitely look better than D'antoni's previous teams like the Suns or the Knicks.
3. Warrior's David Lee playing like Knicks's David Lee
(Lee to Lee: Please bring me back to NY so I can play better)
No problem, David. We're bringing a little bit of the old Big Apple to you. In the two seasons that David Lee played for D'antoni in New York, he averaged:
16.5 PPG / 12.1 RPG / TS% .590 per 36 19.6 PPG / 11.3 RPG / TS% .584 per 36
In the two seasons he played for the Warriors, his numbers took a huge dip:
16.4 PPG / 9.8 RPG / TS% .549 per 36 18.9 PPG / 9.5 RPG / TS% .557 per 36
That's a huge decrease in numbers. This franchise gave Lee a 6 year $80 million contract, yet he has not shown that he deserves anywhere near that kind of money. I'm not sure whether or not Lee will ever play up to par with his contract, but what I do know is that underneath D'antoni, he has been a better player than he has shown playing with Keith Smart or Mark Jackson. Personally, I'm not a fan of Lee and would love to dump the guy, but if he is a part of this franchise, he needs to be able to maximize his skills. With D'antoni has the head coach, we would be running more pick and rolls and plays for him, making him a more of an efficient player and as a positive contributor.
4. Superstar Stephen Curry
Steph-en, Steph-en, Steph-en Curry. Jump shot, Curry. Superstar, Curry. With the trade of longtime Warrior shooting guard Monta Ellis, Stephen Curry is now the main guard holding the keys to this offense. No longer can Warrior fans say, "Trade Monta and let Steph run the offense!!" This is it right now: Stephen Curry is the guard that is going to be the man and the face of this franchise. Bringing in Mike D'antoni would do wonders for Steph because of his up tempo system.
Now I'm not comparing Steph to Steve Nash, but Stephen is one of the few PG in the NBA who is an incredible shooter to go along with good court vision. Because of a fast paced system, Nash's level of play has dramatically increased. As a player under Terry Porter, he did not look like the back-to-back MVP nor did he look like the Steve Nash of today. With a run-and-gun offense, Nash has been the better player, having more chances to utilize his lethal shooting ability and being able to run pick and rolls / being able to run fast breaks more often.
Jeremy Lin has always been a solid player and has shown that through his current run with the Knicks. Although his ability to play basketball was the main reason why "Linsanity" occurred, ignoring the fact that Mike D'antoni was his head coach would be ignorant because Lin put up huge numbers due to playing in D'antoni's system. Jeremy is a talented player don't get me wrong, but if Jeremy could put up numbers like that, why couldn't Steph, an ultra-talented player, do better? If you thought Linsanity was great, imagine how great "Steph-fun and the run-and-gun Warriors" could be.
Let's not forget Steph's rookie season playing under Nellie, the man who just happens to pave the way for coaches that use up tempo systems. In the 2nd half of his first season, Steph was phenomenal for a rookie, as many of you probably already remember. Although it's a small sample, the month of April during that season was astonishing; Steph showed that he could be a top player in the NBA, averaging 26.4 PPG / 8.1 APG / 6.4 RPG / TS% .58 and only had about 3.1 TOPG. We haven't seen Steph been on that kind of a run since the departure of Nellie, which leads me to the main reason why the Warriors management should hire Mike D'antoni. Steph will benefit the most from D'antoni, as D'antoni has similar traits to Nellie and knows how to use special players like him.
Although D'antoni is the better fit for this team, he is the opposite of Mark Jackson; he has been criticized for overplaying his main players and has been portrayed as a coach that has poor communication skills with his players. We've always been a safe team, never taking much risks. Health (especially Curry and Bogut) is also a factor because without them 2, this team under D'antoni will not be as successful. Hiring D'antoni is a risk, but it's a calculated one and rolling the dice would be worth it.