The Lakers lost again on the road to the Memphis Grizzlies 106-93. A lot can be said by that score. The style that head coach Mike D’Antoni wants to play is this up tempo free flowing style that does not put a ton of emphasis on defense, which in theory would mean that the Lakers would be winning a lot of games in the 110 to the 115 point range. That has not been the case. Since the start of the year the Lakers have played 12 games and have been over the 105 points 4 times and their record was 2-10.
I would be the 1st to say,” I was wrong!” Wrong in thinking that D’Antoni that could work with the roster he has inherited. I thought that it was not worth it to sign Phil Jackson for maybe 2 year run and the amount of money it was going to take to get Jackson to sign. I really underestimated the belief in a system. The triangle is a system that Kobe and Pau Gasol has won championships with and this haphazard mess that Mike D’Antoni is running looks awful. D’Antoni did not have a training camp to implement his system and also didn’t have his floor general point guard Steve Nash from the beginning as well.
The real truth is that D’Antoni does not have the pieces to run his system. He needs 2 shooters on the floor with Kobe, Nash, and Dwight Howard, so now we start discussing “the stretch 4”, which has been leading to the Pau Gasol trade rumors and supposedly the missing piece to the Lakers turning the season around. Pau Gasol has been the whipping boy of D’Antoni to the point now that Gasol, who is a multiple time all-star is coming off the bench. The problem is, though, that Gasol isn’t exactly the kind of athletic big man albeit Gasol is very skilled he does not fit into D’Antoni’s uptempo offensive approach, especially at the age of 32 and with tender knees. Gasol is simply a bad fit for this team and cannot get up and down the floor in the way that D’Antoni would like him to. There is not any trades to solve D’Antoni problems on the horizon.
Dwight Howard has been the young lion attacking the old lion king (Kobe). Dwight isn’t used to having anyone on his level before on his team and Kobe has been notorious for being hard to deal or play with. Howard is also dealing with not being 100% healthy coming back from back surgery and now dealing with a shoulder injury. D’Antoni has never had a dominant big man, Shaq does not count because he was starting his slide and was not the same guy as he was in Miami and Los Angeles. D’Antoni needs to find a way for Howard to see his vision and how it will benefit Howard and his development, the time is running out. Howard has not re-sign with the Lakers and will become a free agent at the end of the year. It is imperative for D’Antoni to fix the Kobe and Howard dynamic and yes Howard is right, about taking 5 shots in an entire game for the dominant center in the league. Good Luck D’Antoni!
D’Antoni has another problem is Kobe Bean Bryant. The team is no longer good enough for him to dominate the ball and shoot poorly, the days when you could count on Gasol, Lamar Odom, or Andrew Bynum. Now Bryant doesn’t have the running mates for him to shoot 5 of 22 and win. He doesn’t have 2 other offensive teammates to help him and the one guy who could count on to provide offense, Bryant only lets him 5 times in a game. Kobe Bryant definitely still is the most driven guy but he has to know at the age 34 he has to become a willing passer. To his credit, Bryant wants to have someone to step up take that 2nd command role.