The Germans have the word schadenfreude, which roughly translates to "shameful joy" and encapsulates that rush of happiness people feel at the failure of others. Fans feel it when their team's rivals lose, and players feel it when old foes break down and exit the league.
Many people experienced this shameful joy on Wednesday when the Los Angeles Lakers announced that head coach Mike D'Antoni had resigned, which is essentially code for "left before the team fired him."
However, it was surprising to see Lakers legend Magic Johnson dancing on the grave of D'Antoni's coaching tenure—and doing so less than an hour after the team made the announcement.
Magic conveyed his ecstatic reaction so clearly via Twitter that dozens of commenters offered a sarcastic quip along the lines of: "Why don't you tell us how you really feel?"
Johnson had not been secretive about disliking D'Antoni's run-and-gun system, which prides itself on pace and ball movement. That strategy seemed to clash with Kobe Bryant's style during the times he was actually healthy enough to play, and a decimated Lakers roster accrued a dreadful 27-55 record.
While D'Antoni made the best of a bad roster in 2013-14, he finishes with the worst record of any coach in Lakers history, so Magic's glee is justifiable.
However, the Lakers still have a roster of aging and decaying stars along with what amounts to a host of high-scoring D-Leaguers, so Johnson may want to curb his enthusiasm about the squad's future. They have virtually no one signed for next season aside from Bryant and Steve Nash. Even Nick Young holds a player option, according to ShamSports.com.
The Lakers have plenty of work ahead of them, but D'Antoni's resignation also brings a chance to start anew and build a vision for the future as the team transitions out of the "Kobe Era."
As for D'Antoni, he will land on his feet like he always does. Whether he will be successful in his next endeavor remains much less certain, especially after consecutive flameouts at the helm of the New York Knicks and Lakers, but some team will leap at the chance to bring in the offensive guru.
The Golden State Warriors would seem to be an ideal fit, as the hot-shooting backcourt of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson jibes with D'Antoni's style that relies on uptempo pace and perimeter shooting.
Then again, scoring only comprises one aspect of basketball. The Lakers finished 28th in the league in defensive efficiency, per NBA.com, so any team interviewing D'Antoni might want to ask if he's finally ready to coach players on stopping opponents from scoring as well.
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