When the Los Angeles Lakers drafted Duke’s slick shooting forward Ryan Kelly with their 48th pick Thursday night, they weren’t just picking the best available player, they were revealing their stance as an organization on Mike D’Antoni’s coaching prospects as the Lakers head coach.
A report was released earlier in the week by ESPN’s Chris Broussard that a source informed him that Dwight Howard is likely not resigning with the Lakers, with the major reason being Mike D’Antoni’s offensive coaching philosophy.
By the Lakers drafting Kelly, a prototypical stretch 4 that fits perfectly in D’Antoni’s preferred style of offense, it showed that the Lakers have dug their heels in this Dwight Howard v. Mike D’Antoni showdown.
If in fact Broussard’s source is correct and Howard will not resign if D’Antoni returns as coach of the Lakers next season, will the Lakers allegiance to D’Antoini cost them Howard?
Are the Lakers calling Dwight’s bluff? Do they not believe that he’ll bail on the Lakers even by keeping around a coach that detests a slow down, low post style offense that suits and is desired by Howard? Apparently so.
With the Lakers planning to do everything possible to resign Howard, from hanging huge banners and using Hollywood connections, it would seem to be counter intuitive to go all in on Mike D’Antoni.
If could very well be that the drafting of Kelly was just the Lakers taking the best player available and that his skill set matching D’Antoni’s system perfectly is merely a coincidence. It could be that the Lakers are completely open to dumping D’Antoni if that is what is required to retain Howard.
If not tough and this is the Lakers taking their stand as I believe, we might as well add Dwight Howard to those names of former Lakers whose stints were short lived and whose sight of their names on the back of a Lakers jersey appear odd now: Dennis Rodman, Jim Jackson, Mitch Richmond, Isiah Rider and now, possibly Howard.
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