Lakers GM, Mitch Kupchak, was interviewed yesterday by Dave McMenamim of ESPNLA. Among the highlights of the interview included a defense of D’Antoni and some minor trade talk. Bottom line: Mitch Kupchak believes the problems lie in the effort of the players, but at the same time he isn’t ready to make any trades. Something doesn’t add up here.
We have utmost confidence in Mike as a coach, I think if you spoke to him, his vision on Day 1 was dramatically different than it is today. It’s the coach’s job to adjust and to make changes. Sometimes a player is just not going to fit. Sometimes a coach has to make changes and compromise in the way he’s done things and I think that’s what Mike is going through right now is just the process… I think the longer the season goes the more is at stake and the bigger hole you dig, the more dramatic your adjustments or your take on coaching has to become. I think that’s what he’s doing. He’s grabbing every rabbit out of the hat trying to look for something that works… I’m a little bit concerned about our effort, I’d like to see better effort on the court. When the ball is not bouncing your way, when shots aren’t going in, you just can’t seem to get a break, the one thing you can control on the court is your effort and loose balls and running the floor, defending, offensive rebounding.
Here’s the part that doesn’t add up: Mike D’Antoni’s achilles heel as an NBA coach is his inability to adjust to the situation of his teams. It’s what drove him out of New York as well. For ages, Mike’s system has revolved around having a point guard that flourishes in the open floor and can shoot the ball. Another thing that doesn’t add up: He has that in Steve Nash.
The problem here is that aside from Dwight Howard and Steve Nash, the Lakers aren’t exactly adept at running the floor. So much so, that they’ve decided it isn’t even worth their while to run back on defense. Not that D’Antoni has much of an issue with that though.
The most sensible suggestion to upstart LA’s offense seems to be to run the triangle. While the argument has been posed that it would leave this summers biggest acquisition, Dwight Howard, outside of the play it didn’t seem to bother Andrew Bynum too much. Moveover, Gasol and Howard’s recent struggles to play together only manifested themselves under D’Antoni’s coaching. In the short time that Mike Brown was with the Lakers this season, the duo had a plus 41 +/- rating. Under D’Antoni, they’re at -61 (Shout outs to John Schuhmann’s Twitter for this information, by the way). Which one of these coaches is offensive-minded again?
Tell us what you think. Is Mike D’Antoni the problem, or does Dwight Howard just not fit? What do the Lakers need to do, if they want any chance of making the playoffs this season? Do they, at all, have a chance at making the playoffs anymore? To read the rest of the interview, click here.