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Mike D'Antoni

Mike D'Antoni
File:Mike Dantoni 2010.jpg
D'Antoni as the Knicks head coach in 2010
Personal information
Born (1951-05-08) May 8, 1951 (age 64)
Mullens, West Virginia
Nationality American / Italian
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Listed weight Script error: No such module "convert".
Career information
High school Mullens (Mullens, West Virginia)
College Marshall (1970–1973)
NBA draft 1973 / Round: 2 / Pick: 20th overall
Selected by the Kansas City-Omaha Kings
Pro career 1973–1990
Position Guard
Number 5, 8, 10, 14
Coaching career 1990–present
Career history
As player:
19731975 Kansas City-Omaha Kings
1975–1976 Spirits of St. Louis (ABA)
1976 San Antonio Spurs
1977–1990 Olimpia Milano (Italy)
As coach:
1990–1994 Olimpia Milano (Italy)
1994–1997 Benetton Treviso (Italy)
1998–1999 Denver Nuggets
2000–2001 Portland Trail Blazers (assistant)
2001–2002 Benetton Treviso (Italy)
20032008 Phoenix Suns
20082012 New York Knicks
20122014 Los Angeles Lakers
Career highlights and awards

As player:

As coach:

Career NBA/ABA statistics
Points 605 (3.4 ppg)
Rebounds 262 (1.5 rpg)
Assists 363 (2.0 apg)
Stats at

Michael Andrew "Mike" D'Antoni (born May 8, 1951)[1] is an Italian-American professional basketball head coach who was formerly a professional basketball player. He last coached the Los Angeles Lakers until resigning after the 2013–14 season. While head coach of the NBA's Phoenix Suns, he won NBA Coach of the Year honors for the 2004–05 NBA season after the Suns posted 33 more wins than the previous season. He coached the New York Knicks starting in 2008 before resigning in 2012. He was hired by the Lakers after seven games into the 2012–13 season. D'Antoni, who holds American and Italian dual citizenship, is known for favoring a fast-paced, offense-oriented system.

Playing career

After a college career at Marshall University, D'Antoni was drafted by the Kansas City-Omaha Kings in the 2nd round of the 1973 NBA Draft. He was all-NBA Rookie Second Team choice for 1974. After 3 seasons for the Kings (1973–1975), he played for the Spirits of St. Louis of the American Basketball Association in 1975–1976, and for the San Antonio Spurs (again in the NBA) in 1976–1977. His Spurs career lasted just two games before he found an opportunity to play successfully overseas.

D'Antoni was then called by the Italian team of Olimpia Milano, starting a career which saw him become the club's all-time leading scorer. He was voted the league's top point guard of all time in 1990 and he paced his team to five Italian League titles, two Euroleague titles, two Cups of Italy, one Korać Cup and one Intercontinental Cup. Being of Italian origin, D'Antoni was also selected to play on the Italian national team for the European championship in 1989. In 2015, Olimpia Milano retired jersey no. 8 to honor him.

Coaching career


D’Antoni began his career as head coach for his most loyal club, Milan. He remained for four seasons, from 1990 to 1994, leading the club to the 1992 European Championship Final Four and 1993 Korać Cup. He was then chosen to coach Benetton Treviso, another major Italian basketball club. During his tenure (1994–1997), the team captured the Cup of Europe and Coppa Italia (in 1995) and won the national league title in 1996–97. Coach D’Antoni's Italian teams went to the playoffs each season, and he was twice voted the league's Coach of the Year. In 2001, D'Antoni returned to Italy for a second stint as the coach of Benetton Treviso. In his one season back in Europe, he led the team to a 28–8 record, a league championship and 2002 Euroleague Final Four, coaching a team filled with many former NBA stars.

Early NBA

The first NBA coaching job held by D'Antoni was with the Denver Nuggets in 1997–98 as the club's director of player personnel. He also did some broadcasting work with TNT during that season. The next year, he became Nuggets head coach, but was fired after a poor performance during the lockout-shortened 1998–99 season. D'Antoni then went on to become a scout for San Antonio Spurs during the 1999–2000 season. He was also an assistant for the Portland Trail Blazers in 2000–01.

Phoenix Suns

D'Antoni coaching the Suns.

In 2002, D'Antoni made his return to the NBA as a Phoenix Suns assistant. In 2003, he was hired with 61 games left in the season as the head coach of the Phoenix Suns[2] and, despite leading the team to a poor record in the second half of the year, he received a vote of confidence for producing inspired play from an injury riddled team. With the acquisition of free agent Steve Nash before the 2004-05 season, who was experienced in a run-and-gun style from his previous stint with the Dallas Mavericks, this began an incredible turnaround for the Phoenix Suns. Nash excelled running D'Antoni's pick-and-roll offense.[3] D'Antoni won the NBA Coach of the Year Award after his Suns went 62–20 to finish first in the regular season. His style, dubbed "Seven Seconds or Less," was described in a book of that name. Overall, his Suns won fifty or more games in four consecutive seasons, while Nash earned NBA MVP honors in 2005 and 2006. In addition to Nash, D'Antoni's Suns also featured All-Star power forward Amare Stoudemire and high-flying small forward Shawn Marion. They made consecutive appearances in the Western Conference finals in 2005 and 2006, losing to the San Antonio Spurs and Dallas Mavericks, respectively.[3] D'Antoni was the Suns' GM after Bryan Colangelo's departure and passed on the post to Steve Kerr in 2007.[4] The Suns were eliminated in the playoffs by the Spurs in 2007 and 2008, after which D'Antoni left Phoenix for the New York Knicks.

Team USA

D'Antoni was selected to the coaching staff for the Team USA Olympic Basketball squad under head coach Mike Krzyzewski and participated in the 2006 FIBA World Championship, winning a bronze medal.[5] Pundits believed his familiarity with the three-point shot and the zone defense, hallmarks of the international game, were considered to be valuable assets to the team.[citation needed]

New York Knicks

As of May 5, 2008, D'Antoni was told that he was free to speak with other teams about a coaching job next season, although Steve Kerr requested he stay with the Suns.[6] On May 9, D'Antoni was made an offer by the New York Knicks.[7] The next day, D'Antoni accepted the 4-year, $24 million offer and became the Knicks' head coach.[8][9]

After two losing seasons, D'Antoni with new additions Amar'e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks to the playoffs in 2010–11 with a 42–40 record before getting swept by the Boston Celtics in the first round.

D'Antoni resigned as coach on March 14, 2012, and assistant coach Mike Woodson filled his vacancy as the head coach.[10] The Knicks were off to a disappointing 18–24 start, and D'Antoni clashed with Anthony.[3]

Return to Team USA for 2012 London Olympics

In the summer of 2012, D'Antoni returned to Team USA as an assistant coach again under head coach Mike Krzyzewski. He reunited with Knicks players Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler on this team as they prepared for the 2012 London Summer Olympics.[11]

Los Angeles Lakers

On November 12, 2012, the Lakers signed D'Antoni to a three-year contract worth $12 million.[12][13] He replaced Mike Brown, who was fired as head coach after a 1–4 start to the 2012–13 season. The Lakers first contacted former Lakers coach Phil Jackson about the opening, but D'Antoni was hired in a unanimous decision by the Lakers front office.[3][14][15][16] The Lakers felt that D'Antoni's fast-paced style of play made him a "great fit" for the team, more suitable than Jackson's structured triangle offense.[14][15][17][18] Lakers owner Jerry Buss' preference has always been for the Lakers to have a wide-open offense.[14] D'Antoni was reunited with Nash, who was traded to the Lakers before the season. Lakers star Kobe Bryant was also familiar with D'Antoni; Bryant as a child knew him when D'Antoni was a star in Italy and Bryant's father was also playing there. Bryant grew close with D'Antoni during their time with Team USA.[3][16]

D'Antoni's coaching debut with the Lakers was delayed as he recovered from knee replacement surgery. He had surgery weeks before on October 31, as he originally expected he was taking a year off from coaching and would have months to recover.[19] Bernie Bickerstaff, who was the Lakers' interim coach after Brown was fired, continued in that role after D'Antoni was hired.[20] He was 4–1 as the interim coach, winning his last two as D'Antoni started leading team practices.[21][22] D'Antoni named a new assistant to the Lakers' staff, his older brother Dan, who also helped with the practices. In his first press conference, D'Antoni predicted that the Lakers, then 3–5 and ranked 20th in scoring with 96.5 points per game, should instead be scoring "110–115 points a game".[21] He wanted to revive Showtime.[23] He reiterated general manager Mitch Kupchak's belief that the Lakers were built to win an NBA championship that season. D'Antoni was glad to be back with Nash, noting his unsuccessful stint with the Knicks without him.[21] On November 20, he coached his first game—nine days after he was hired—in a 95–90 win against the Brooklyn Nets.[24] In his first game back in New York in December, the Lakers lost 116–107 and dropped to 4–9 overall under D'Antoni.[25] D'Antoni coached his first 17 games without Nash, who was recovering from a broken leg.[26] The Lakers won three out of four after Nash returned in late December, but proceeded to lose their next six.[27][28]

Calling it a permanent move, D'Antoni benched forward Pau Gasol in mid-January and started Earl Clark to form the faster and smaller lineup that the coach preferred.[29][30][31] The team was already ranked No. 2 in pace.[30] Halfway through the season, the Lakers were in 12th place in the Western Conference with a 17–24 record. Under D'Antoni, the Lakers were 12-19 while scoring an average of 103.3 points a game but surrendering 103.4.[32] Offensively, they reached the 110-point threshold just eight times in the 31 games, going 5–3.[33] However, D'Antoni stressed that the team's focus needed to be on its defense, not offense.[34] D'Antoni likened the Lakers to an All-Star team in which "everybody gets the ball and goes one on one and then they play no defense."[35] He added that they "haven't learned that there's a pecking order" where stars need to know their roles.[35]

Nash struggled with center Dwight Howard to run the pick and roll, a play that D'Antoni expected would be a staple for the Lakers.[36] D'Antoni eventually dropped his offense and played without any system.[37][38] "We play basketball. The system is move the ball, play hard defense, space the floor and who's open shoots. It's not a difficult thing," said D'Antoni.[38] The coach moved Nash off the ball and made him more of a spot-up shooter, while Bryant became the primary facilitator on offense.[37][38][39] The defense was also more energized.[40]

D'Antoni was named Western Conference Coach of the Month after the Lakers went 7–1 in April. They finished the season 28–12 after dropping to 17–25 in January the day of their team meeting in Memphis.[41] They qualified for the playoffs on the final day of the season, securing the seventh seed in the West.[42] The Lakers expected starting five of Bryant, Nash, Howard, Gasol and Metta World Peace started together just seven times all season and without registering a win.[43] "The Lakers didn't help things by making the coaching change and putting [D'Antoni] in that situation, which he was glad to take. But I think it was a little bit tougher than he thought it would be," Kupchak said.[41] The Lakers faced San Antonio in the playoffs, but they lost in the opening round for the first time since 2007, and suffered their first opening-round sweep since 1967.[44]

In D'Antoni's first full season with the team in 2013–14, the Lakers went 27–55 for the second-worst winning percentage (.329) in team history. It was the worst 82-game record in team history and their fewest wins since the franchise moved from Minnesota.[45] Howard left before the season as a free agent, accepting less money to join the Houston Rockets.[46] Bryant played in just six games during the season, but he and Gasol were critical of D'Antoni's small-ball system.[47] Nash also missed most of the season with injuries.[46] On April 30, 2014, D'Antoni resigned as coach of the Lakers after the team declined to pick up their option for him to coach in 2015–16. He was paid an undisclosed amount of the $4 million owed him for the upcoming 2014–15 season. "Given the circumstances, I don't know that anybody could have done a better job than Mike did the past two seasons," said Kupchak.[47]

Head coaching record

Regular season G Games coached W Games won L Games lost W–L % Win-loss %
Post season PG Playoff games PW Playoff wins PL Playoff losses PW–L % Playoff win-loss %
Team Year G W L W–L% Finish PG PW PL PW–L% Result
DEN 1998–99 50 14 36 .280 6th in Midwest Missed Playoffs
PHX 2003–04 61 21 40 .344 6th in Pacific Missed Playoffs
PHX 2004–05 82 62 20 .756 1st in Pacific 15 9 6 .600 Lost in Conf. Finals
PHX 2005–06 82 54 28 .659 1st in Pacific 20 10 10 .500 Lost in Conf. Finals
PHX 2006–07 82 61 21 .744 1st in Pacific 11 6 5 .545 Lost in Conf. Semifinals
PHX 2007–08 82 55 27 .671 2nd in Pacific 5 1 4 .200 Lost in First Round
NYK 2008–09 82 32 50 .390 5th in Atlantic Missed Playoffs
NYK 2009–10 82 29 53 .354 3rd in Atlantic Missed Playoffs
NYK 2010–11 82 42 40 .512 2nd in Atlantic 4 0 4 .000 Lost in First Round
NYK 2011–12 42 18 24 .429 (resigned)
LAL 2012–13 72 40 32 .556 3rd in Pacific 4 0 4 .000 Lost in First Round
LAL 2013–14 82 27 55 .329 5th in Pacific Missed Playoffs
Career 881 455 426 .516 59 26 33 .441

Personal life

D'Antoni was born in Mullens, West Virginia, and played basketball at Marshall University. His father was a legendary high school basketball coach in West Virginia and Ohio, and was inducted into West Virginia’s Sports Hall of Fame. His older brother Dan coached under him as an assistant in Phoenix, New York, and Los Angeles.[48] Both Mike (1997) and Dan (1990) have been enshrined in the Marshall University Athletics Hall of Fame.

D'Antoni is a dual citizen of the United States and Italy, making him the first Italian to lead an NBA team. He is fluent in English and Italian.

He lives in Manhattan Beach, California with his wife, Laurel.[49]

See also


  1. "Mike D'Antoni NBA & ABA Basketball Coaching Record". 1951-05-08. Retrieved 2012-11-21. 
  2. "Coaches: Mike D'Antoni". National Basketball Association. Retrieved 2008-01-28. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Beck, Howard (November 12, 2012). "The Lakers Change Direction and Hire D’Antoni as Coach". The New York Times. Archived from the original on November 13, 2012. 
  4. "Sun to hire Kerr as GM". TimesDaily. Associated Press. June 1, 2007. p. 5C. Retrieved May 21, 2013. 
  5. 2006 USA Basketball
  6. Suns: Kerr’s Statement on Mike D’Antoni. National Basketball Association, May 5, 2008, accessed on December 26, 2008
  7. Stein, Marc. Bulls still the focus as Suns wait for D'Antoni decision, ESPN, May 7, 2008, accessed on December 26, 2008
  8. Beck, Howard (May 11, 2008). "D'Antoni Accepts Offer to Coach Knicks". The New York Times. Retrieved December 26, 2008. 
  9. "D'Antoni takes Knicks' job". Yahoo! Sports. May 11, 2008. Retrieved December 26, 2008. 
  10. "New York Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni resigns". ESPN. March 14, 2012. Retrieved March 14, 2012. 
  11. USA Baseketball: 2012 U.S. Olympic Men's Team Roster
  12.    (2012-11-13). "Mike D'Antoni hired by Lakers after Mike Brown fired; no Phil Jackson return planned |". Retrieved 2012-11-21. 
  13. Trudell, Mike (November 12, 2012). Lakers hire D'Antoni "Lakers Hire Mike D'Antoni". Archived from the original on November 12, 2012. 
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Bresnahan, Mike (November 13, 2012). "Kupchak: If Phil Jackson hadn't hesitated he might be Lakers coach". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on November 14, 2012. 
  15. 15.0 15.1 McMenamin, Dave (November 13, 2012). "Kupchak: Mike D'Antoni a better fit". Archived from the original on November 14, 2012. 
  16. 16.0 16.1 Bresnahan, Mike (November 12, 2012). "Mike D'Antoni to be next coach of the Lakers". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on November 12, 2012. 
  17. Bresnahan, Mike (November 12, 2012). "Phil Jackson gets call from Lakers and it's not what he expected". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on November 13, 2012. 
  18. Ding, Kevin (November 12, 2012). "Lakers' fast break away from Jackson opens door for D'Antoni". Orange County Register. Archived from the original on November 13, 2012. 
  19. Beck, Howard (November 13, 2012). "For the Lakers and D’Antoni, It’s About Validation". The New York Times. Archived from the original on November 19, 2012. 
  20. Beck, Howard (November 18, 2012). "D’Antoni, Recovering From Knee Surgery, Pushes Back Lakers Debut". The New York Times. Retrieved November 19, 2012. 
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 McMenamin, Dave (November 16, 2012). "Mike D'Antoni leads Lakers practice". Archived from the original on November 21, 2012. 
  22. Moore, David Leon (November 20, 2012). "Mike D'Antoni debuts on Lakers bench: 'This is special'". USA Today. Archived from the original on November 21, 2012. 
  23. Bresnahan, Mike (December 12, 2012). "Mike D'Antoni says Lakers would love to play 'Showtime' ball". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on December 12, 2012. 
  24. "Lakers edge Nets as Mike D'Antoni makes debut on L.A. bench". Associated Press. November 20, 2012. Archived from the original on November 21, 2012. 
  25. Bresnahan, Mike (December 13, 2012). "Lakers' defense takes night off against Knicks, 116-107". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on December 14, 2012. 
  26. Markazi, Arash (January 7, 2013). "Five key questions for the Lakers". Archived from the original on January 8, 2013. 
  27. Bolch, Ben (January 8, 2013). "Steve Nash reaches milestone but is it on a Lakers road to nowhere?". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on January 9, 2013. 
  28. "Dwight Howard returns to help Lakers end 6-game losing streak". Associated Press. January 13, 2013. Retrieved January 14, 2013. 
  29. Bresnahan, Mike (January 21, 2013). "Lakers keep falling on court and in standings". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on January 22, 2013. 
  30. 30.0 30.1 Golliver, Ben (January 21, 2013). "Lakers’ Pau Gasol benched for Earl Clark by coach Mike D’Antoni". Archived from the original on January 26, 2013. 
  31. Bolch, Ben (January 25, 2013). "Despite win over Utah, Lakers have a long way to go". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on January 26, 2013. 
  32. Bresnahan, Mike (January 22, 2013). "Forget 'Showtime,' struggling Lakers may need slow time". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on January 22, 2013. 
  33. McMenamin, Dave (January 23, 2013). "GM: Mike D'Antoni not the problem". Archived from the original on January 23, 2013. 
  34. Bresnahan, Mike (January 23, 2013). "Lakers 'went at each other a little bit' in morning meeting". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on January 23, 2013. 
  35. 35.0 35.1 Bresnahan, Mike (January 23, 2013). "The Lakers don't even talk a good game". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on January 24, 2013. 
  36. Plaschke, Bill (February 12, 2013). "This is not the Steve Nash the Lakers hoped for". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on February 21, 2013. 
  37. 37.0 37.1 Verrier, Justin (January 30, 2013). "1. Lakers Just Trying To Keep It Simple". Archived from the original on January 31, 2013. 
  38. 38.0 38.1 38.2 McMenamin, Dave (January 27, 2013). "Lakers rise as D'Antoni's offense ditched". Archived from the original on January 31, 2013. 
  39. Shelburne, Ramona (January 28, 2013). "Have the Lakers found their groove?". Archived from the original on January 31, 2013. 
  40. McMenamin, Dave (January 30, 2013). "Lakers must prove it on road". Archived from the original on January 31, 2013. 
  41. 41.0 41.1 Markazi, Arash (April 18, 2013). "D'Antoni named West Coach of the Month". Archived from the original on April 19, 2013. 
  42. "Lakers 99, Rockets 95, OT". Associated Press. April 17, 2013. Retrieved April 18, 2013. 
  43. Adande, J. A. (April 17, 2013). "1. Lakers Make Playoffs After Season On Brink". Archived from the original on April 19, 2013. 
  44. "Dwight Howard ejected as Spurs finish sweep of Lakers". Associated Press. April 28, 2013. Archived from the original on April 29, 2013. 
  45. Shelburne, Ramona (April 26, 2014). "Mike D'Antoni seeking team option". Archived from the original on April 26, 2014. 
  46. 46.0 46.1 "Lakers' Mike D'Antoni steps down". April 30, 2014. Archived from the original on May 1, 2014. 
  47. 47.0 47.1 Bresnahan, Mike (April 30, 2014). "Mike D'Antoni resigns as Lakers coach". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 30, 2014. 
  48. "Dan D'Antoni joins brother on Knicks staff". The Herald-Dispatch. June 21, 2008. Retrieved May 28, 2012. 
  49. Beale, Lauren (May 1, 2013). "Lakers Coach Mike D'Antoni buys in Manhattan Beach". Los Angeles Times. 

External links

Preceded by
Bryan Colangelo
Phoenix Suns General Manager
Succeeded by
Steve Kerr