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Instant analysis: Mike D'Antoni's first impression with Lakers

November 15, 2012|By Lisa Dillman

It became clear why the Lakers didn't need much more than a telephone interview with Mike D'Antoni to make the hire.

It took, oh, about five minutes into his introductory news conference on Thursday at El Segundo to come to that realization. D'Antoni was charming, informative and self-deprecating.

Even Lakers executive Mitch Kupchak, who was sitting next to D'Antoni, looked slightly relieved. Indeed, D'Antoni handled the L.A. media just fine in his first outing.

A sampling from the new Lakers coach, who expects to coach on Sunday against Houston:

--"As soon as he gets healthy -- he's not healthy now -- I expect Dwight Howard to be unstoppable. There's no one stopping him. ... His touches should increase," he said of the Lakers center.

--"I'd want to thank my wife for being here. She got me out of the nursing home and got me on my feet. It was a little touch and go for a while and she was going to leave me there," said D'Antoni, making a joking reference to his recent knee surgery. 

--"I grew up in West Virginia in the '60s. Guess who I rooted for?" said D'Antoni, speaking of Lakers legend Jerry West, when asked about joining the organization.

--"I was thinking, just put all our starters on the bench, then everybody is talking about maybe the starters are not quite so good. The problem that Mitch has is that the starters are so damn good, that everybody is going to criticize anybody coming in. Let's take Dwight out and put in somebody really good. That's always a problem. The bench is going to be good," said D'Antoni on the question of depth, with a touch of humor.

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