Well…that didn’t take long. By my count it’s been just three games into the Mike D’Antoni era and already the biggest problems are surfacing.
After playing some truly inspired D in D’Antoni’s debut the Lakers have quickly reverted to the form that got Mike Brown a pink slip. But that was expected. A tiger can’t change its stripes and D’Antoni coaches defense like Wesley Snipes pays his taxes.
One of the bigger concerns was how D’Antoni’s perimeter oriented offense would incorporate Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol. If the last two games are any indication of how this is will go then we might as well cancel the rest of the season now.
Let me make this clear. There is absolutely no chance of winning a title if Gasol and Howard are complete non-factors on offense and listless on defense.
One of the many reason why Phil Jackson (yeah, I’m already going there) was assumed to be the best choice was because he ran a system that catered to specifically what makes this Lakers team what it is. Whereas D’Antoni’s system, while entertaining at times, isn’t at all built for the Lakers’ roster and the last two games have shown that.
Gasol keeps getting pushed further and further away from the hoop and his dipping field goal percentage is proof. So confused with how to use Pau was D’Antoni that during last night’s loss in Memphis that he opted to go with Antawn Jamison for the crucial fourth quarter over Gasol.
Even more alarming has been the complete disappearance of Dwight Howard. Howard has failed to even crack double figures in points or field goal attempts in consecutive games.
Again…that cannot EVER happen.
Howard is a force in the paint with an All-Star pedigree. Under no circumstance will the Lakers EVER be in a position to win with Howard only getting token touches.
Nobody said the transition to the new coaching regime was going to be easy. But nobody assumed D’Antoni would be so steadfast in banging a square peg into a round hole. He’s had some success running his system but nothing that ever came close to winning a title. So far that tradition looks likely to continue if he keeps the Laker bigs as such a small part of the team.