Why D’Antoni is responsible for the modern style of play
Mike D’Antoni is the father of the modern NBA. Every team today utilizes his principles of pace-and-space that he popularized in Phoenix.
In addition, the league’s trend towards the shot-dichotomy of lay-ups and threes is, in large part, because of D’Antoni. In the seasons that follow, teams may even emulate the centerless lineups, which the Houston Rockets and D’Antoni have unveiled in Houston this season.
Each innovation has been followed by skepticism, only to be swept aside as the wins rained down alongside the threes. The only thing that has eluded D’Antoni has been a championship and the validation that comes with it.
At 69 years old, this Houston Rockets team will likely be D’Antoni’s final chance at a championship. Even if he comes up empty-handed, as he has so many times before, D’Antoni’s four-year stint with the Rockets should be remembered as a success despite all of the failures.
The Rockets were denied the ultimate prize due to untimely injuries, a sudden spike in the salary-cap, and the greatest team ever emerging out of nowhere, or, in simpler terms, chance. It sucks to boil everything down to chance but the truth is the Rockets got unlucky with D’Antoni at the helm.
His stretch in Houston, if it is coming to a close, has been a success, championship or not.