If Phil Jackson had taken over the L.A. Lakers, there'd have been no question that the franchise picked up the best coach available -- 11 rings don't lie. But it's worth noting that in booting Mike Brown out in favor of Mike D'Antoni, they have replaced a coach with an impeccable record with one closer to average.
Brown, through work in Cleveland and L.A., has compiled a 314-167 win-loss record throughout his coaching career. D'Antoni, his replacement, is at 388-339. Brown has led a team to the NBA Finals; D'Antoni's teams have never gotten farther than the conference finals. D'Antoni dealt with a bad Nuggets team, one bad season in Phoenix and some rough Knicks teams. Brown has always had incredible rosters.
But it's worth noting that just like Brown, D'Antoni has only been successful when he's had overwhelming talent. Even then, as with last season New York club led by Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler, D'Antoni struggled to get wins. No one would suggest that he'll struggle to bring L.A. back this season, but I think few would argue that Brown couldn't have led them back into a top-4 seed by season's end, either.