Meanwhile, Paul Bessire of PredictionMachine.com, a website that digitizes the future, has assembled the most interesting analytics since Mitt Romney lost Ohio.
Using his super computer, Bessire simulated the remainder of the Lakers season under Jackson and again under Mike D'Antoni, and found the Lakers came out 11/2 games ahead under D'Antoni.
"The concept of simulation is that you allow for all the possible factors ... the players, the rotations, minute allocations," he explains, of the algorithms involved. He ran the scenarios under Jackson and D'Antoni 50,000 times before coming to his 11/2-game conclusion.
"It would be impossible for me to say that it's a significant difference," he says of the 11/2 games. "Most likely, it would affect seeding in the Western Conference."
Still, wouldn't you have bet the mortgage that Jackson would've come out on top?
According to Bessire's abacus, D'Antoni wins 54.5 games and loses 27.5. Under Jackson, the Lakers win 52.9 and lose 29.2.
Under D'Antoni, the team averages 103.8 points per game; Jackson, 101.4.
"There are probably some other, sometimes important things like, 'Will the players quit on this guy?'" Bessire notes. "But that is just about impossible to review objectively unless the coach has a long history of his teams clearly underachieving — neither of these coaches do. In this case, we have two coaches who represent different brands of basketball."
Ultimately, Bessire explains what basketball fans already know — that the point-guard position under D'Antoni has more impact than under Jackson, so that it pumps up the value of Steve Nash.
So, in many ways, Nash — not Kobe — was the deciding factor in the ascension of D'Antoni.
And the surprises keep rolling in.