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Lakers’ Assistant Dan D’Antoni Explains Pick-and-Roll Issue Reviewed by Momizat on . There has been much talk, especially over the past week, of the pick-and-roll game between Steve Nash and Dwight Howard. When Nash and Howard were acquired, man There has been much talk, especially over the past week, of the pick-and-roll game between Steve Nash and Dwight Howard. When Nash and Howard were acquired, man Rating:
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Lakers’ Assistant Dan D’Antoni Explains Pick-and-Roll Issue

dwight-howard-steve-nash-lakersThere has been much talk, especially over the past week, of the pick-and-roll game between Steve Nash and Dwight Howard. When Nash and Howard were acquired, many believe that the pick-and-roll game between these two would be one of the most lethal of the Lakers’ offensive weapons simply because of Nash and Howard’s success with the pick-and-roll individually throughout their careers.

---- See Steve Nash through the years in photos! ----

Whether it is because of not sharing the court for enough time due to injuries, miscommunication or the reluctance to utilize the pick-and-roll, it has been unsuccessful between Nash and Howard for the majority of the season. Lakers’ assistant coach Dan D’Antoni offered an explanation of the pick-and-roll issue recently to Mike Trudell.

D’Antoni was asked how Nash and Howard think and execute the pick-and-roll differently. He replied:

“Dwight was taught to pick, roll to the basket, seal and get the ball. He wasn’t pick, get the ball and then move. Steve is used to coming off the initial pick and delivering the ball without waiting on the seal. It’s a combination that takes time. Steve was hurt a good part of the year and there hasn’t been a lot of practice time. It’s a process for that feeling out to begin. I think it can happen. Now, if they allow outside pressures that you always hear to hurt the process of learning together and growing together, it could be trouble. If they can exclude that, understand that it is a process, then they have a chance.”

When asked why opponents are having so much success at disrupting the pick-and-for game for the Lakers, D’Antoni said:

“As Nash gets off that initial pick, defenses start to catch up. There’s a quick gap – a little bit off of him, a little off the roll guy early – and then as you get deeper, the floor starts closing down. For a smaller guy, that’s more difficult. Steve is still really good, but when you get rid of the ball earlier, you force rotations faster, which means the other passes are easier, too. When you wait, opponents stay out knowing you won’t get that little easy one, so they cut down on these passes out. Now he has two more dribbles down and they start reducing the floor and it’s stopped.”

D’Antoni was then asked how can Howard change his role in the pick-and-roll in order to have success with Nash. He offered:

“In the middle of the floor, you have to be agile, you have to start doing face-to-the-basket skills as opposed to back-to-the-basket skills. Amare (Stoudemire) was much better facing the basket, but Dwight (Howard) is a lot better with his back to the basket. I wouldn’t limit Dwight to that. A lot of people want to say: ‘Leave him the way he is.’ No, I think he can grow and I think he’s better than that. It takes times; it’s a process. He’s working on it every day. The coaches are working with him and I think he’ll get it. It’s just a process. It doesn’t happen tomorrow.”

The hopeful news is that the pick-and-roll had much better success on Tuesday against the Phoenix Suns. The pick-and-roll, when run properly, can be a critical offensive set for the Lakers in order to ensure that their offense doesn’t become stagnate or predictable. The key is to have everyone on the same page.

About The Author

Elizabeth is a graduate from Arizona State University and has her master's from Duquesne University. She is currently an associate editor at Lakers Nation. To read more of Elizabeth's articles click here. You can also follow Elizabeth on Twitter @Gobibs

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  • Marvo_32

    if we can get these going we can be a threat in the playoffs

  • JohnC

    Wow… Exactly: this is a great example of LA’s coaching work. Rather than allowing the players use the huge set of skills they already have (we’re talking about Nash, Kobe, Pau, Howard, Jamison, MWP…), they’re working in lots of new stuff, asking the players to do so many different things, move outside their comfort areas instead of making their already-top-skills work and match together to reach the play-offs. It’s not practical, just crazy: you’re telling the players ‘you’re great, Dwight, Nash, MWP, Pau, Jamison, etc. you’re favulous, but I want you to be a different player’… so yes, I agree with the coah when he says IT TAKES TIME. YES! Next year or the following, hopefully before 2018, LA will return to the play-offs and show how right D’Antoni was.

    • hookedonnews

      Didn’t you read the interview? Nash & Howard are used to running P&R differently. Adjustments have to be made. Howard has tried his back-to-the-basket approach, and it’s not working. He’s getting smothered and turning the ball over or missing shots. These coaches have been doing this for years. They know what they are doing. The main problem with this team is that because of injuries and lack of practice time together they have not been able to get all this stuff ironed out. They are not trying to re-make any of these players, but there is nothing wrong with adding to your game. You have a group of players who for the most part have not played together. It takes time to sort everything out. They are still using the same basic skills. You saw the other night how good the P&R can be if Howard will do what they are trying to teach him to do. He’s still able to do the other stuff as well, but this is going to make this team more potent offensively once it’s being done consistently.

      • JohnC

        Exactly, that’s what I meant: Howard is a top player in all the situations this system does not contemplate; apparently, he is thinking of leaving LA. Nash is the best teamplayer of the league, together with Kobe: can you see it out there? And MWP has suddenly become a PF, Clark a top Power Forward too, Pau far from the rim as a PF who couldn’t work together with Howard ’cause the offense gets stagnant and does not know how to combine them. It’s hilarious that the best big duo of the league can’t work together because the system’s priority is ‘to open the court’, not to play with and for these two bigs (Pau + Howard, come on); such is the system’s principle for this LA… the question is: IS THIS WAY OF DOING THINGS WORKING? If not: is D’Antoni going to make changes to save the obstacle or is he hitting against the wall for much longer?

        • hookedonnews

          I think things are improving as players are learning to play within the system as it has been modified by D’Antoni. Pau is not playing far from the rim like he was at the beginning because he’s now coming off the bench and playing his natural position. Pau & Howard are together on the court at the end of games sometimes, but the bench needs the scoring, rebounding, and defense that Gasol provides. There’s nothing wrong with spreading the floor so that Nash can run pick and rolls with Howard. This can be a scoring machine if Howard can learn to do a few simple things. I believe things are moving in the right direction. I know a lot of people want to return to the past, but Dwight Howard is not Andrew Bynum. Twin tower offenses are not what this league is all about now. Things are not perfect right now, but they are better than they were a month ago. Nash is still the best team player in the league. That hasn’t changed. With everyone healthy this team can compete. They beat OKC, and they gave the Heat a competitive game. The game with the Clippers came down to some very poor shooting on the part of the Lakers and lights out shooting by the Clippers. Some games are just going to go that way. The injury to Gasol has really hurt the Lakers. Howard has been given opportunities to do things his way and hasn’t played well either because he’s not 100% or he’s not giving 100%. Who knows if he’ll stay, but there’s no reason he can’t be successful in this offense.

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