• Cameron Tabatabaie

Mike D’Antoni: Coming to a Sideline Near You?



This NBA season saw an incredible emphasis on offense. Some of this can be attributed to a condensed schedule, but for decades the league has been trending toward greater offensive prowess, and the 20-21 campaign brought that to a head.


The framework for this revolution began back in the mid-00s with the Phoenix Suns and has been building ever since. This Brooklyn Nets team seems to have perfected offensive nirvana.


Mike D’Antoni is a key architect of this new NBA.The Cat looks poised to finally win an NBA Title with Brooklyn in the next few weeks. Now 70 years old, MDA could be ready to hang it up. But if MDA wants another bite at the apple, he could be the perfect fit for a few teams in need of a new head coach.



At the time of this writing, there are four HC vacancies in the NBA: Orlando, Indiana, Portland, and Boston. Milwaukee may join the club soon enough, as could a few other teams. Where might D’Antoni land next?


Portland


It seems very unlikely the Trail Blazers look to move on from Damian Lillard. He’s one of the league’s true top dogs, the face of a passionate franchise, and importantly, an offensive dynamo.


The defense was a true liability for the Blazers during these playoffs, and much of this can be attributed to Dame. Having a star player who is one of the worst defenders in the league is an undeniable problem.


As such, the Blazers aren’t going to become a defensive powerhouse anytime soon. Instead they could double-down on their high-octane offense, which ranked second in the entire NBA this regular season. Therein lies an opportunity for D’Antoni.


The Cat knows how to unlock star players. From Steve Nash to James Harden and Carmelo Anthony, D’Antoni is without rival when it comes to working with offensive studs and taking their game to the next level


Portland may look to move on from Jusuf Nurkic or Cj McCollum; big changes could be in store for PDX. But Lillard isn’t going anywhere - general manager Neil Oshay would be wise to bring in a head coach who can get Dame over the hump.


Indiana


Hammered by injuries, Indiana simply wasn’t able to get in gear during the 20-21 season. Now, though, the Pacers are something of a sleeping giant.


With a core of Domantas Sabonis, Caris LeVert, Myles Turner, and Malcolm Brogdon, the Pacers have speed, scoring, and flexibility. Yes, Turner and his $18 mil contract could be on the move, but either way, Indiana’s future looks very bright. The right coach to steer this ship is imperative for the Pacers.


Mike D’Antoni may be an international darling, but he was actually born and raised in West Virginia. Could the Cat make a return to the heartland?


The Pacers may not have any blue-chip star players, but they are certainly in win-now mode. After the disastrous Nate Bjorken experiment, bringing in a proven talent on the sidelines would be a wise move for Indy.


Milwaukee


Right now, Mike Budenholzer is still the coach of the Bucks. This could change sooner rather than later.


In looking for a new head coach, Boston appears to be focused on bringing in majority non-white candidates. This is a commendable and perhaps necessary step as the NBA continues to work toward greater equity. Given Milwaukee’s rich history in the fight for greater racial and social justice, perhaps the Bucks will follow suit.


With all that said, D’Antoni’s on-the-court fit would be tremendous in Milwaukee. The personnel lends itself to stellar defense. For the Bucks, it is the offense that continues to be a little clunky.


The Cat has a knack for maximizing his player’s talents. Likewise, he loves to have his guys get out and run. Rather than trying to force Giannis Antetokounmpo to be something he’s not, D’Antoni could instead build an offense that works best for this generational talent.


Giannis is poised to win at the highest level. But he needs the right coach to reach the promised land. D’Antoni might be the man for the job.


A Brooklyn title might be the final nail in the coffin for a paradigm shift that has been in the works for decades. Scoring is the future, and the father of the modern NBA offense deserves his laurels. The Cat ought to land a head coaching job in the Association next year, and D’Antoni should be a very popular candidate in the offseason.