The Los Angeles Lakers will have a new head coach to start the 2014-15 season.
On Wedneday afternoon, Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak announced that Mike D’Antoni had officially resigned. D’Antoni, who joined the team on Nov. 12, 2012, following the dismissal of Mike Brown, finished with a record of 67-87 in the Lakers' hot seat.
“Given the circumstances, I don’t know that anybody could have done a better job than Mike did the past two seasons,” Kupchak said in a press release. “On behalf of the Lakers, we thank Mike for the work ethic, professionalism and positive attitude that he brought to the team every day. We wish him the best of luck.”
In his only complete season in charge of the Lakers, D’Antoni led the Lakers to a record of 27-55, which was the worst season in the history of the Lakers since moving to Los Angeles. Since his first day on the job, D’Antoni was under intense pressure from the fan base.
Prior to D’Antoni accepting the post, former coach Phil Jackson, who led the Lakers to five championships, was rumored to be interested in the position. Throughout his tenure, D’Antoni was showered with chants of “We want Phil” and constantly jeered for not being up to Jackson's standards.
Even with the “super team” of Dwight Howard, Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash, the former New York Knicks coach was unable to find a consistent combination to derive success.
The majority of the criticism heaped on the Lakers’ outgoing coach was based on his team’s defense--or lack thereof. In the 2013-14, the Lakers finished the season allowing an average of 109.2 points per game, which was second from last in the league. Not coincidentally, the Lakers finished second from last in the Western Conference.
D’Antoni will likely go down as one of the least popular coaches in Los Angeles Lakers history and one of the least successful. His regular season winning percentage of 43.5 percent only edges out Frank Hamblen (25.6 percent) and "Magic" Johnson (31.3 percent) for worst winning percentages for a Lakers coach since the team moved to Los Angeles. Hamblen and Johnson both coached for less than a season, so D'Antoni has the worst record for any LA Lakers coach that lasted a full season.
No outstanding candidates have been immediately identified as replacements.