Kobe Bryant talks to as many members of the media can fit in the space around him during the Nov. 15, 2012 news conference in El Segundo that introduced
Kobe Bryant talks to as many members of the media can fit in the space around him during the Nov. 15, 2012 news conference in El Segundo that introduced the L.A. Lakers new coach, Mike D'Antoni. (Sean Hiller/Staff Photographer)..
Per Kobe Bryant, the prevailing message delivered by Mike D'Antoni on his first day as the coach of the Lakers on Thursday was short and to the point. | Photos: Lakers introduce D'Antoni at packed news conference | Stories: The return of 'Showtime' | Bonsignore: D'Antoni, Bryant ready to 'just win' | Painter: 'Championship' talk

No long-winded speeches. No complicated explanations to clarify a fancy-named offense that would have flown over his players' heads or, even worse, been ignored.

D'Antoni isn't big on complex and intricate, two qualities his predecessor, Mike Brown, seemed to revel in and the very trait the Lakers hoped to avoid by passing on Phil Jackson in favor of D'Antoni to replace Brown.

The simpler the better, as far as D'Antoni is concerned.

Hence the easy-to-understand message he conveyed to the Lakers.

"Let's go kick some (backside)" is how Bryant summed it up.

And with that, a semblance of normalcy returned to the three-ring circus that took over the most successful sports franchise in town.

After three straight days of the embarrassingly trite "they-said, he-said" melodrama between the Lakers and Jackson, who claims he was duped and disrespected by the Purple and Gold by stringing him along in their search to replace Brown, it was finally back to what's really important around here.

"Win the championship," D'Antoni said simply, unafraid of setting the bar too high or running away from expectations.

"We have a window here," he added. "And we hope to climb through it."

Along with playing a fan-friendly brand of basketball that's heavy on fun, accentuating individual talents, lightning-quick possessions and running the floor, and short on the slow-it-down, complicated, boring offense that doomed Brown and one Jackson was itching to utilize again.

So long Princeton and Triangle and low-scoring, grind-it out games.

And hello to the new fast-breaking, high-flying, pick-and-rolling, point guard-driven Lakers.

"If we're not scoring 110, 115 points we're gonna have to talk," D'Antoni said.

Why, that sounds almost Showtime-esque.

That's kind of the whole reason D'Antoni is here.

You don't assemble the kind of talent the Lakers did this summer by acquiring All-Stars Steve Nash and Dwight Howard and adding them to their already star-laden core of Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Metta World Peace and then suck the life out of their individual skills - and entertainment value - by running a slow-paced offense nobody could grasp.

Brown tried that and it cost him his job.

Had Jackson been brought back, he would have dragged the Lakers down the same path.

Been there, done that, folks. And while that style worked for Jackson in two prior go-arounds with the Lakers, those were different times and different players.

With Nash and Howard on board, the dynamics have changed.

Brown never understood that, foolishly telling the best point guard of his generation to stand over in the corner and wait for the ball to matriculate to him and planting Howard stoically in the post and telling him to wait for the ball to get dumped in to him.

That's a complete misuse of assets, and there is every reason to believe Jackson would have mismanaged Nash by sticking him in the Triangle.

D'Antoni won't make that mistake.

He'll put the ball in Nash's hands and let him orchestrate the same offense he and D'Antoni utilized in four brilliant seasons with the Phoenix Suns.

And that means tons of pick-and-rolls with Howard, the most mobile center of his generation.

"I pick, roll to the basket and dunk," Howard said. "It's pretty simple."

It's giving players the freedom to make plays naturally, not be rooks, bishops and pawns in a complicated game of chess.

That's what D'Antoni's done his entire career. It's what made him an appealing candidate to the Lakers.

And it's the reason they passed on Jackson.

"It's not as simple as rolling a ball out. But it's somewhere in between rolling the ball out and a very structured offense," Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said. "This league is really about players. There's no secret the NBA is marketing the players and ridiculous abilities as athletes and the things they can do on the court. So it's about the players. The more opportunities you give them to display their ability, the more possessions on the offensive and defensive side, the true talent will come through.

"In theory, we feel the same way. We have a great group of talented players. Let's give them the most chances to show and display the ability."

It's not quite the return to the Showtime-era Lakers, but with Nash running the point, Kobe on the wing, Gasol at the four and Howard anchoring the middle, the possibilities are tantalizing.

"They may have been the best at doing that," D'Antoni said of the 1980s Lakers. "But we'd like to get close to that."

That should be music to Lakers' fans ears, even the ones still smarting over the supposed slight on Jackson - and that means you, Magic Johnson.

The Lakers didn't need another dose of the triangle offense, they needed a coach who recognizes the immense talent on hand and constructs an offense that enables it rather than disables it.

It's time to bury slow-ball and embrace the high-tempo style D'Antoni utilized to run circles around Jackson and the Lakers in two playoff meetings in the mid-2000s.

"Make it easy and let these guys do what they do," D'Antoni said.

He's convinced the Lakers can win playing that style, believes it so deeply he climbed out of his bed shortly after knee-replacement surgery and practically hopped all the way from New York to Los Angeles - crutches and all - just for the chance to work with Nash, Howard, Bryant, Gasol and Co.

While Jackson asked for two days to think about whether he wanted to return to the sideline, D'Antoni looked at his wife, Laurel, after getting off the phone with Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak and said: "Are you kidding me? Is this happening?"

It did happen.

And while some Lakers fans will be slow to embrace D'Antoni, still clinging to the memory of Jackson, they'll come around in time.

"Just win and everything will be fine," D'Antoni said.

How easy is that?


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