Mike D'Antoni's MVP season of 2005-06
Glad to see Mike D'Antoni and his new knee back in the NBA, at the helm of the Lakers.
Back in April 2006 I nominated D'Antoni for MVP. As coach of the Phoenix Suns he was, of course, ineligible. But MVP candidates are often lauded for making their teammates better, and D'Antoni was even more responsible for making Steve Nash's teammates better than Nash himself. Read the column here.
In a January 2005 essay I noted the remarkable similarities between D’Antoni’s 2004-05 Suns and the champion 1970-71 Bucks led by Oscar Robertson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. That same month, in the New York Times, I demolished the growing conventional wisdom that uptempo basketball can’t win in the playoffs, noting that the Russell-era Celtics dynasty, Wilt’s two title teams, and the Lakers and Celtics of the 1980s (who combined for eight titles and 13 Finals appearances that decade) played much faster than the 2005 Suns; also, two of Michael Jordan's six championship teams led the league in scoring.