In the past four seasons, we have seen the Lakers play distinctly different brands of basketball each year. When Phil Jackson was leading the way, the Lakers were constructed to perform in the triangle offensive system he employed. Smart decision making and automatic passes highlighted this slowed-down style of play. It allowed Kobe and Pau to function at their best and led to a lot of success.
The next season saw Mike Brown take over. His goal was to instill a defensive mindset and not worry about how the offense would function. With Kobe, Pau, Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom, what type of offensive coaching did you really need? Heading into Brown’s second year as head coach, he needed to adjust to having Dwight Howard, Steve Nash, Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant all on the same team. His solution was proposed by Kobe: the Princeton offense.
We all know how that ended up – with a new head coach. Mike D’Antoni replaced Brown after a disappointing five game start to the season. D’Antoni came in with promises of 120 points a game and what the owners hoped would be a revival of Showtime. Unfortunately without Nash to lead the way, the Lakers never really embraced D’Antoni’s system and were forced to use Kobe as the primary creator. The season ended with Bryant on the sidelines with a ruptured Achilles tendon.
The latest season for the Lakers saw the team embrace the free flowing offensive style of Mike D’Antoni. On the defensive end, the team never seemed to make an effort. While the Lakers were frequently scoring over 100 points, they allowed a tragic 109 points per game. Even though the team was injury-plagued and lacked talent, the lack of emphasis on defensive was striking.
Having seen essentially four different styles of play, what would be the ideal fit for the Lakers?
Should they commit to a system, like they did with Phil Jackson? Should they focus on defense, shoring up the biggest weakness from last season? Was the idea of Showtime revival the right choice?
Obviously, the Lakers draft position will have an impact on how the team will operate going forward. If a point guard like Dante Exum is brought in, perhaps a free flowing offensive system is what is needed. But if the Lakers can select Joel Embiid, perhaps a slower, defensive-minded style would be the greatest benefit. Selecting Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker will give the Lakers more directions they can veer in as well.
So if you had it your way, how would the Lakers play next season?