Lakers News and Rumors Recap: Mike D’Antoni vs. Dwight Howard
The Lakers start a 3-game home stand tonight against the Jazz, and desperately need to win these three games. The Jazz come in as the seventh seed in the Western Conference right now at 23-19. They are a much less effective team on the road, only 9-15 on the year. Don’t get too excited; they have already won a game at Staples this season and are 2-0 against this Lakers team. Not only that, the Jazz are hot right now after winning four games in a row, including a 104-97 victory over the defending champion Miami Heat.
Mike D’Antoni and Dwight Howard are both on the hot seat right now. From what I have seen in the LN comments and on Twitter, Lakers fans are split when it comes to who they would rather see leave. For those of you in the fire D’Antoni camp, bad news. Lakers management has come out and said they don’t plan on relieving D’Antoni of his coaching duties and won’t even “consider firing him.” If they were to fire Mike D’Antoni, the Lakers would owe “$25 million in fired coaching salaries, before whatever they paid the guy who would replace D’Antoni.” Unfortunately, after relieving Mike Brown, the Lakers simply cannot also get rid of Mike D’Antoni.
That leaves fans with option two; should Howard be the one to take a hike? Before Wednesday night’s game Howard vowed to stop his immaturity and start dominating. But, due to an injury, fans didn’t see much playtime from him. Tonight, hopefully, could be different.
One thing is for sure, he will be playing tonight. During the Lakers loss to the Memphis Grizzlies Wednesday night, Dwight Howard left the game with what appeared to be a re-aggravated shoulder injury. However, Howard participated in a full shootaround this morning and will start tonight against the Utah Jazz.
As far as where I stand, I think you all know how I feel. Howard needs to leave. And for those of you disagreeing with me, Kobe Bryant himself spoke with Yahoo! on Monday night and said pretty much the same thing; Dwight Howard makes him look bad. Kobe said:
“I’ve tried to go out of my way to get him the ball. Sometimes I end up looking like an idiot, because I get up in the air, I’ve got a shot, but I try to find him. But he thinks I’m going to shoot, so his back is turned. I’m trying to think about getting him the ball a lot – take care of him as much as I possibly can.”
Zach Harper of Eye on Basketball explains; “when Kobe does sacrifice his own scoring to get Dwight shots on the low block (because Dwight has forgotten he’s supposed to be awesome in the pick-and-roll), he needs Dwight to come through with good solid post possessions.” How truer a statement. Kobe, in his own right, needs to adjust to Howard’s playing style and not expect Dwight to accept a pass coming from the air. I can see how, being the phenomenal shooter Kobe is, Howard can be thrown off when Bryant passes like that. But, when Kobe and the other players accommodate Dwight and play to his strengths, and then the big man still can’t perform, there is a huge problem there. Not only, Dwight turns the ball over 19.7 percent of the time. One in every five Dwight Howard possessions is a bust.
Right now, Dwight is only scoring 0.78 points per possession in the post and making 48.2 percent of his shots. If I were Kobe, I would also feel the need to “take care” of this million dollar All Star. You would think it was Dwight’s first season, or something…
Utah Jazz (23-19) vs. Los Angeles Lakers (17-25)
7:30 PM PST, January 25, 2013
Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
CA TV: TWCSN
Jazz Projected Starting Line-up
PG: Jamaal Tinsley
SG: Randy Foye
SF: Marvin Williams
PF: Paul Millsap
C: Al Jefferson
Key Reserves: F Derrick Favors, F Enes Kanter, G Gordon Hayward
Lakers Nation News