Mike D'Antoni and Toronto: The Perfect Fit

Danny PaskasSenior Analyst IMay 5, 2008

While rumors swirl around D'Antoni's coaching status in Phoenix there is a team up north that former Suns GM, Bryan Colangelo has been putting together very similar to that of the old high powered Phoenix style.

When Colangelo left Phoenix for Toronto in 2006, he must have seen the writing on the wall, he quickly started to overhaul the Raptors' roster with the idea of going uptempo while incorporating international players.

To do this, Colangelo hired Italian League general manager Maurizio Gherardini, he traded Charlie Villanueva for speedy point guard T.J. Ford, and with the number 1 pick in the draft he selected Italian star, Andrea Bargnani.  He also signed European stars, Jorge Garbajosa, and Anthony Parker. 

Colangelo's overhaul was effective, T.J. Ford averaged 14 points and 7.9 assists, while Bargnani averaged 11.6 points and was second in Rookie of the Year voting.  Parker showed his shooting touch while averaging 12.4 points, and Garbajosa, who has since been injured, averaged 8.5 points and 4.9 rebounds.

Toronto, as a team, had a 20-game turnaround on the way to their first Atlantic Division crown, and their first playoff berth in five years.

Since then, Colangelo has continued his success.  He signed deadly shooter Jason Kapono, high flying big man, Jamario Moon, and another point guard who could shoot the three while racking up assists in Jose Calderon.

The team, however has since underachieved and looks like a coaching change might be needed for the roster to play up to its potential, and to implement Colangelo's uptempo dream.

The answer to Toronto's prayers....D'Antoni.

Sure Toronto already has a coach in Sam Mitchell, the man who won Coach of the Year just last season, but what does that mean?  Coaches of the Year always get fired, and usually sooner rather than later these days.....Avery Johnson, soon to be whatever, D'Antoni.

In the 2005-06 season, D'Antoni's first and arguably his best year with the Suns he worked with an eight man rotation of Nash, Amare, Joe Johnson, Marion, Quentin Richardson, Barbosa, Jimmy Jackson, and Steven Hunter.

If Toronto can get D'Antoni, they can give him a roster to work with that can be quite similar to the above.

The 2008-09 eight man rotation for the Raptors with D'Antoni behind the bench could look something like this; Calderon at the point, who was fifth in the league in assists while only playing 30 mpg, Bosh, Parker, Moon, Kapono, Ford, Bargnani, and Delfino.

Calderon would take on the Nash role, Bosh the Amare role, Parker the Richardson role, Moon for Marion, Kapono for Johnson.  Ford would play the Barbosa role, and Delfino the Jimmy Jackson role.  As for Bargnani, this is a weapon D'Antoni did not have in Phoenix, I am sure he could find a place for a big who can run the floor, and shoot the three.

If this marriage between Colangelo and D'Antoni does happen again, they might be able to finish what they started back in Phoenix.