In addition to being the head coach of the Lakers, Mike D’Antoni also served as one of the assistants for USA Men’s Basketball team under Mike Krzyzewski. Another assistant on the team is former Portland Trail Blazers coach Nate McMillan.
According to the LA Daily News’ Mark Medina, D’Antoni had talked to McMillan about hiring him as an assistant, but it didn’t quite work out:
Mike and I talked about it. But at the time, he wasn’t sure the position would be open. If something opened, he had some interest. But at the time, I was starting to talk to Indiana and the position came open here. After looking at Indiana’s situation and interviewing here, I felt it was a good fit.
McMillan would have been an excellent addition to this staff as his specialty is defense. Though D’Antoni is a great offensive mind, his defense sometimes leaves a lot to be desired. McMillan could have made a big difference.
Though McMillan ultimately decided to accept the associate head coach position with the Indiana Pacers, he has nothing but great things to say about D’Antoni via Mark Medina:
Mike is a very good coach. Going into Los Angeles at the time he did was a difficult challenge following Phil Jackson. People had expectations for the team that was a bit high in the sense that those guys were much older. If they were five years younger, the hype about the team would’ve been right and fair.
McMillan has a lot of experience in a number of different roles around the league and his presence would have helped the Lakers undoubtedly.
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