Mike D'Antoni is an offensive genius. Innovating the run-and-gun system that was predicated on surrounding a duo of pick-and-roll players with shooters that would allow a high-octane offense that focused on obtaining the first available shot, D'Antoni injected the NBA with his own brand of excitement.
This system flourished back in his Phoenix Suns days with a roster that fit this type of style. He had shooters, athletic defenders, proficient rebounding threats and a dominant pick-and-roll duo in Steve Nash and Amar'e Stoudemire.
However, the Los Angeles Lakers team he coached this season did not fit this system.
D'Antoni refused to accept this, and to start off his tenure, he did everything in his power to try and impose it on a roster that simply couldn't hold up to it.
He started off by making the controversial decision to bench Pau Gasol because Earl Clark fit his system better due to his athleticism and supposed three-point shooting abilities.
Despite Magic Johnson and other analysts describing how the Lakers needed to slow down the paint and emphasize Gasol's interior scoring ability, D'Antoni went against this notion and mitigated Gasol's contribution because he didn't fit into D'Antoni's system.
By alienating a two-time champion and showing favoritism to a hobbled Steve Nash and a very flawed Dwight Howard, D'Antoni showed that he did not have the ability to manage personalities and egos on a Lakers team that was filled to the brim with both.
D'Antoni also refused to play Gasol and Howard together in the early part of the season, even though their play and twin-tower dynamic in the tail-end of the season were a major part of the Lakers' resurgence to finish the year.
If D'Antoni had tried to implement the two of them together earlier in the season, the Lakers may have been able to find their rhythm. Instead, they floundered trying to run-and-gun with a roster that simply couldn't do so.
Not only did D'Antoni have trouble managing the personalities and altering his system, he also ran Kobe Bryant into the ground by playing him close to 48 minutes per game for seven straight games until he finally tore his Achilles tendon.
Although he did have his moments, it is clear that D'Antoni was more of a detriment to this team than a positive contributor.
What makes this even worse is that Phil Jackson was waiting in the wings before Jim Buss ultimately decided to appoint D'Antoni for the job instead of the Zen master.