“California wouldn’t be part of the league”. That was Mike D’Antoni answering on “Open Court” what would be the change he would implement if he ran the NBA for a day. Very funny and very true from coach D’Antoni. “Especially the northern part of California, the bay area.” All the coaches in the room laughed and would all probably support his suggestion. The Warriors are the team to beat and only a few teams can even hope to challenge them if everything goes according to plan.
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This wasn’t even the only jab he took at the Warriors, even though the second one was more a sign of desperation. “But I’m looking forward to, you know, as is everybody, we hope, DeMarcus screws them up. Or Steve screws them up, somebody’s got to screw them up”. Kerr laughed, the other coaches not so much. It must be a sobering moment when the coach of the team that came closest to beating them jokes about the fact they need to make a mistake first for you to even have the chance.
Going back to the change question, D’Antoni said the league always changes, in regards to the trends and style of play, and the trick is to just try and be a bit ahead of everyone else. He then pointed out a new reality in the league, describing the hierarchy in the following order: owner – GM – star players – coach. (In some cases, the star player is even above the GM). This was not the case in NBA history and coaches are having to adapt to the reality that their gameplan must be adapted to the star player, not the other way around.
As much as this entire “Open Court” episode had coaches talk about they have to be who they are, they are all aware that star players are the one dictating the tempo. As coach D’antoni said “Have the personnel, you gotta have the personnel. It all starts there”