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The biggest knock on new Los Angeles Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni throughout his coaching career is that his teams don’t play any defence. D’Antoni preaches an uptempo offensive scheme that critics claim throws defensive ambition to the wayside.Prior to last season, D’Antoni’s teams never finished better than 23rd in the league in scoring defence. In those nine seasons, there was only one team that allowed less than 100 points per game.
But according to Kobe Bryant, that shouldn’t be an issue. In an interview with USA Today’s Sam Amick, Bryant said that defence never came first for Phil Jackson either:
“I mean Phil’s been here, and — to be honest with you — we might have, in all the years I’ve been with Phil, (had) maybe three defensive drills the entire time. And I’m not understating it at all. But his philosophy was always — you guys need to figure it out on your own. And that’s what made him a phenomenal coach, was that he was able to sit back and trust the process and trust players to communicate with each other.”
If there’s one thing that we’ve learned about Bryant from this whole thing, it’s that he’s not one for structure. Bryant was excited that Bernie Bickerstaff was giving the players more room to operate after Brown’s Princeton offence was pushed aside when he was fired.
Now, Bryant’s saying that he thought the best part about Jackson was that he gave the player’s a lot of responsibility, at least on the defensive end. If that’s the case, D’Antoni’s flexibility compared to Brown’s highly structured approach should resonate with Kobe.
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