Let's all hand it to the Lakers, who brought in two superstars, installed a new offense and waited a grand total of five games to fire head coach Mike Brown despite the following facts: Steve Nash is hurt, Dwight Howard isn't back in game shape yet and the much-maligned offense ranks seventh in offensive efficiency. The backups include Jordan Hill, the ghost of Antawn Jamison and Devin Ebanks, who was arrested on suspicion of DUI this morning, per the LA Times' Mike Bresnahan.
God, who'd want to coach this disaster? Oh, right. EVERYBODY.
Bernie Bickerstaff, a grown up with head coaching experience, will handle the interim duties but that's not a long-term solution. Immediately speculation -- and by speculation we mean Woj -- turned to Mike D'Antoni who has long-standing relationships with Kobe Bryant and Nash. But wait! D'Antoni recently underwent knee replacement surgery and isn't even walking yet, let alone ready to salvage this mess. Why, it's as if this whole firing thing was poorly planned.
Left unsaid is that aside from Nash the Lakers don't have the personnel to match D'Antoni's Seven Seconds or Less scheme, nor does he have the defensive chops to fix a team ranked 25th in defensive efficiency. D'Antoni is obviously far from the only candidate to take the reins. Anyone and everyone who doesn't currently have a head coach job will want in on this.
Here's a look at a few names beginning to make the rounds:
Phil Jackson: Let's see ... Star-studded roster that needs a firm, yet understanding spirit guide? Check. Dysfunctional mess? Check. Gets along with Kobe? Check-plus. Jackson is the one coach who can unite the fractured clans, gain the immediate trust of his players and bring order back to the Lakers universe. Too bad they ran him off just over a year ago.
Jerry Sloan: The people's choice if only because everyone wants to see if he would A) stuff Howard in a locker a la Paul Silas and B) ride his tractor in the HOV lane on the 405. Cultural abstractions aside, Sloan would actually be tremendous for this team with a steady diet of pick and rolls and sound defensive principles. He'd have little time for the bullshit that comes with the job, however. Come to think of it, that might make him an even better choice.
Brian Shaw: Shoulda been you the first time, B-Shaw. The Indy Star's Mike Wells already checked in with the Pacers' assistant and reports that Shaw is staying out of the fray. For now. Shaw actually makes sense on a number of levels. He had the players' support after Jackson left and he has an understanding of the myriad levels of politics that go with the job. Yes, things ended badly between Shaw and the Lakers when they decided to hire Brown, but the entire dynamic has shifted.
Nate McMillan: Despite his rep as a defensive coach, McMillan's teams in Portland ranked in the middle of the pack at best and his early teams in Seattle were near the bottom. His trademark is a slow, plodding pace that produces artificially low scoring totals that look better in the box score than they do in practice. That doesn't make him a bad coach, just not the right one.
Stan Van Gundy: Hahahahaha. No.