Mike D'Antoni's likable enough; time will tell if he's good enough

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"There is a thing called luck in this world," D'Antoni says.

He says his disappointing run in New York left him with scars. "But if you touch the scars I will laugh because they hurt so much," he says.

Reminded that the fans in Staples Center have been chanting, "We want Phil," D'Antoni says, "They can't chant, 'We want Mike,' because they got him."

D'Antoni's older brother Dan will join him on the Lakers' coaching staff, and D'Antoni says he will reach out to the defensive-minded Nate McMillan later.

The only time D'Antoni gets defensive is when defense is mentioned and it's suggested there is no D in D'Antoni.

"Do you know how old that is?" he says.

"OK, so people say when it comes to defense, your teams are horrible."

"You're listening to the wrong guys, so there you go," Antoni says.

Sorry, dropped the D.

"The D I have right now is Dwight," he says. "I've got Dwight Howard back there and we'll see how that D helps my name.

"We have great defenders; what am I going to tell them? Not to play defense? We're going to be good defensively."

The Lakers say they hired D'Antoni because he's a better fit with these players than Jackson. It's ludicrous.

D'Antoni's style of play might be a better fit for fans tired of the triangle, but the Lakers' aging roster and shallow bench might not suit his style.

"I've always looked at Showtime as the model we would like to pursue," he says. "And we can run, and push the ball.

"It's going to be a great offensive team," he says. "It might not be seven seconds or less. Maybe the next book has to be 20 seconds or less."

The ball will start in Nash's hands before he passes it to Kobe. "I've got no problem with Kobe going off for 60," he says. "I know his mind-set; it's same as mine: Win."

D'Antoni says, "We'll put shooters all over the place," ignoring how shallow the Lakers' bench is. And he calls Steve Blake "a great shooter," so we know he's a dreamer.

He got rid of Jordan Hill while they were together in New York. "Yeah," he jokes, "we dumped him to make room to maybe sign LeBron James. Sorry."

We've been told he's close to Kobe, but in the book ":07 Seconds or Less," about the Suns' 2005-06 season, D'Antoni mocks Kobe for sharing the ball in the 2006 playoff series.

"Well, isn't that what you're supposed to do?" asks D'Antoni in the book. "Now he's the savior because he's playing that way? He's no god."

D'Antoni laughs. "Did I say that? I'm sure I said that. I'm sure Kobe will beat me up for it too, and he should. But he knows I have the most respect for him of anybody."

Jackson called Kobe "uncoachable" in one of his books, and D'Antoni has his own experience with Carmelo Anthony.

"Hell, I'm uncoachable at times," he says. "I've never been around anyone with the intensity Kobe has. …Sometimes he might come off the floor cussing me out in Italian, which is good so people won't understand. I'm cool with that."

Jackson has 203 more playoff wins than D'Antoni, but it's the next set of playoff games that matter.

"And we're going to be good, he promises. "And have fun along the way."

Worst case scenario, he knows a good retirement home.

t.j.simers@latimes.com

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