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Mike D’Antoni on inflated expectations before taking over Lakers: ‘I was on drugs’


Leading up to taking over as the Los Angeles Lakers head coach on Nov. 12, 2012, after the team ousted Mike Brown, Mike D’Antoni believed he would be able to install the fast-paced offensive system he is known for, dubbed “Seven Seconds or Less,” with relative ease and immediate success.

It didn’t turn out that way. And even though the Lakers, with an aging roster, attempted to push the pace once D’Antoni set the tone — the team averaged 102.2 points per game (sixth in the NBA) and 96.8 possessions per game (fourth in the NBA) — the Lakers fell short of D’Antoni’s expectations and hopes, as the team was easily dispatched by the San Antonio Spurs courtesy of a disheartening four-game sweep in the first round of the Western Conference Playoffs.

D’Antoni recently was asked why things didn’t go as planned and why he held such high hopes that the team would integrate his frenetic offensive style and transform into an instant contender.

The answer is simple: He was on drugs. He said it himself.

Via the Los Angeles Times:

“Yeah, well, I was on drugs back then,” Mike D’Antoni said Monday with a chuckle, referring to the pain medication he was taking while recovering from knee surgery. “My knee was hurting. Vicodin was killing me.”

If I had a nickel … well, never mind.

D’Antoni said that even though he will try to incorporate his run-and-gun offense a bit in the upcoming season, it likely will not be in the “Seven Seconds or Less” territory.

“It won’t be crazy,” D’Antoni said. “But we want to push it and get a nice pace. We want to get some easy buckets before the defense sets up, so we’ll be up in the top five probably in pace, but it won’t be breakneck speed.”

Huh. He must not be on drugs heading into this season. Or something.