Lakers News: Mike D’Antoni Speaks On Team’s Defensive Struggles

Lakers News: Mike D’Antoni Speaks On Team’s Defensive Struggles


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This week was an especially tough one for the Lakers. After getting an impressive road win in Portland, the team lost their next three games, giving up an average of 136 points.

With Mike D’Antoni having a reputation for not emphasizing defense, he has had to endure a number of questions about why the Lakers have struggled so mightily recently.

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D’Antoni spoke to reporters today, and according to Time Warner Cable Sportsnet, gave a few insights into why he believes the team can’t stop anybody:

There is no denying that Steve Blake was one of the better defenders on the Lakers. His toughness and attitude on that end also picked up the rest of the Lakers’ energy on defense.

It is also true that when bringing in new players to a system, it takes some time for them to adjust to the specifics, which can lead to miscommunication and breakdowns.

D’Antoni also defended his defensive schemes and principles, as reported by TWC Sportsnet:

If the schemes aren’t the issue, as D’Antoni claims, then the blame would seem to fall on the players for failing to execute.

There is enough blame to go around in the case of the Lakers’ miserable defense. One thing is for sure, it needs to improve soon, otherwise the losing atmosphere around this team won’t be changing.
Lakers Vs.Clippers: Coach D’Antoni Says, “Everyone Know’s We’re Embarrassed”

  • hookedonnews

    Of course a large part of the blame falls on the players. Does anyone doubt that if Chris Paul, LeBron & Wade were out there that the defense would improve? None of this is that complicated. You’ve got a team full of second-tier talent who haven’t had a stable roster all season because of injuries and recently because of the Blake trade which removed a player who brought leadership and intensity on both ends of the court and added two players who still aren’t completely familiar with their roles within the system on either end of the court. It’s depressing to watch at times, but a necessary evil because they are going to keep some of these players and let others go. Players have to be evaluated, and that means they have to play. If they could just eliminate some of the dumb turnovers and shots that have no chance of falling it would help the defense.

    • richard

      it’s a combination of a lot of negative things… and I will leave it at that… it is really difficult to pin down a certain system and have ti humming efficiently when, people come in and out, and new faces also coming in… the championship teams took at least 2 years of playing and perfecting the system together as a team. The BIG question now remains: does Lakers FO believe MDA system can be successful given a full and healthy roster?

      • hookedonnews

        I don’t think there’s any way to know the answer to that question. It worked very well with the right players in Phoenix even though they didn’t win a championship. I suspect they’ll give him a chance to prove it one way or another with a healthy roster.

        • 3339

          he doesn’t deserve another chance. enough of this bullshit. he can’t do the job and can’t lead the team. he’s done.

          • hookedonnews

            Not your call or mine. I think you’re going to be disappointed whether he stays or goes because you seem to believe he’s the problem & not the roster. They can’t help but be better next season because Kobe (and probably Nash) will be back, but the rest of the roster is probably going to be about the same. They aren’t going to beat OKC or the Spurs no matter who is coaching next season. They need players, and until they get them, they’re not going to be the kind of team we all want them to be.

          • 3339

            I’ll be thrilled if he leaves. dude he is the problem. These guys look lost. defense is absolutely pathetic. He had Kobe, Pau, and Dwight and couldn’t figure that out. so don’t give me that crap on how they will turn the corner because Kobe and Nash return.
            He could coach the Clippers and start bitching about how Blake and Jordan can’t play together.

          • hookedonnews

            Can we stop going back to last season because they went to the playoffs and might have beaten the Spurs if Kobe, Nash, Meeks, Blake, and MWP had been able to play. If they look lost (and they don’t if you’re watching the game right now) it’s not because of their coach. Did the 2004 Suns look lost when they were racking up 62 wins? You are making my point for me. You seem obvious to what has gone on this season with the injuries and the constantly changing lineups because of them and now the trade with GS. You can only see D’Antoni for some reason. It’s like some sort of psychosis.

          • 3339

            if you’re gonna play that game can we stop going back to phoenix? they won nothing. just a good regular season team.
            for the record in the 2004 season the suns sucked then Nash arrived and all dantoni did was allow him to run around and find shooters while not defending anyone.
            When the front office gets their head out their asses and fires this guy you will see a difference and the return of real Lakers basketball.

          • hookedonnews

            That’s a less than accurate description of the Suns, but let’s move on. Hope you’re watching the game today. I don’t know if they’ll win because they’re probably pretty tired right about now, and I don’t know if they can close it out. But they are playing OKC and making a game of it. I think you’re pretty unrealistic in your expectations for this young group of players and overly critical of D’Antoni. I didn’t see Spoelstra getting any coaching accolades until Lebron & Bosh joined Wade in Miami. In the end it’s the players who win the games.

          • 3339

            they are professionals. It’s not like dantoni is coaching high school kids. They are pros that do this for a living.
            completely wrong on Spoelstra. The Heat were garbage the year before he took over. He restored a winning attitude down there by giving them something to believe in and they made the playoffs, then Lebron and Bosh wanted to be a part of that and joined the next season. thats the key, they wanted to be a part of that team and he adjusted to put them in the best position.
            dantoni can’t do that which is why he has issues with guys like Melo, Dwight, Pau, Kobe etc. Imagine if the Lakers draft Wiggins or Parker. He would have a nightmare fitting either with Kobe b/c his system is all about a pg.

          • hookedonnews

            That’s such a simplistic view. They are professionals. That doesn’t mean that all players are created equal. What D’Antoni did in Phoenix was more impressive than what Spoelstra did in Miami pre-Lebron. LeBron & Bosh went to Miami because of Wade and Pat Riley, not Spoelstra. I daresay that D’Antoni would have no problem having LeBron James in LA. LeBron is an unselfish player who would fit perfectly in any system. Spoelstra has recently said they are using MDA’s offensive schemes BTW.

            What issues does D’Antoni have with Kobe? He has adjusted his system to allow him to do his own thing, and he catered to Howard when he was there. Howard was the moron, not D’Antoni. Pau seems to be doing fine since he decided to stop talking and start playing. Carmelo Anthony is a ball-stopper who is still disrupting the offensive flow in NY. When he plays a little more unselfishly they play better, but that is the exception rather than the rule.

            Did you watch the game today? Was that all about a PG or was that all about ball movement and unselfish play and effort? Yes, it was all about Nash when he was in Phoenix, but you don’t have to have Steve Nash to win with this system. They were passing the ball, taking better shots, and playing pretty good defense today. Of course, they would be better with a PG like Nash in his prime, but unfortunately he’s not available.

            If the Lakers get Wiggins or Parker they will be lucky to be playing for a coach who knows how to get the most out of young players. What he has done with Ryan Kelly is pretty impressive.

            MDA has no problem with anyone who is willing to be a team player. The best teams in the league play as a team, not as a bunch of guys who care more about their own game than the team. That’s what D’Antoni wants, and his system won’t work as well with someone who wants to make it all about him. You want great players, but you want players who are willing to sacrifice some of their individual glory at times for the sake of the team like Wade has done in Miami. Some players won’t do that, and the team suffers as a result.

          • 3339

            I can’t wait to see what you say when d’antoni gets fired and the team starts playing better. Say the Lakers could somehow assemble their dream team of Love, Wiggins/Parker/Exum, and Kobe. I don’t believe dantoni could coach them to a championship.

            he’s one of the most overrated coaches in the game and you think that he’s amazing because he had winning seasons in Phoenix but in reality won nothing more than 3 Pacific Division titles.

          • hookedonnews

            When did I say that I thought D’Antoni was amazing? If he get’s fired I’m not going to lose any sleep over it. I’ve got no skin in that game. I don’t believe they will fire him before next season, but coaches get fired all the time. Look at what happened to George Karl in Denver. I don’t think he should be fired because he hasn’t had an opportunity to prove what he can do with a healthy roster. I think he has proven that he can develop young players and get the most out of them. Whether he can win enough games to stay in LA past next season remains to be seen.

            As I believe I said earlier in this never-ending thread, I’m sure the team will be better next year no matter who is coaching. Just getting Kobe & Nash back plus whoever they get in the draft will make them a better team. The longer these guys play together the more they will improve.

            I don’t know why you think MDA couldn’t coach any group of players. None of those players you mentioned is a selfish ball-hog unless you want to put Kobe in that category. D’Antoni knows the value of Kobe and is willing to accommodate his game. I don’t think he should, but he will. You think Kobe couldn’t do what Meeks did today and more? He could be very effective within this system, but has shown little desire to alter his approach. But he’s Kobe, and D’Antoni will work around that. He’s already proven earlier this season that he will.

            D’Antoni did more than win 3 Pacific Division titles. He turned a loser into the team with the best record in the NBA and won 50+ games for 4 seasons. He also transformed the league with his offensive system. As I’ve said about a hundred times, I don’t consider him the best coach in the league. But he’s better than most LA fans think, and a lot of the stuff that’s said & written about him is bogus. He may ultimately fail in LA, but he at least deserves a chance to coach a season with a healthy roster. To try & lay this season all on him is just ridiculous.

          • Josh

            I’m so glad to finally see someone else on these threads who knows something about basketball and can look beyond the W-L record. Thank you for not being one of these other ignorant “fans.”

          • Josh

            I don’t think ANYONE thinks D’Antoni is an “amazing” coach, but some of us actually pay attention to what’s going on and realize he is not the biggest problem the Lakers have. He’s had his moments, but he is not the reason this team is losing games. They are losing almost every night because everyone is in a contract year, most guys are playing selfish basketball to try to earn a bigger contract next year, and most of them aren’t good enough to play major minutes in the NBA. Not one other team in this league wanted Kendall Marshall, and he is our STARTING point guard. Most of the roster is filled with minimum contract players because that is all they’re worth. Half of the team would never play a minute for a team with title aspirations.

            This year was an experiment gone wrong by the front office. And I’m not blaming the front office for this season, either, because they could not predict the lingering health issues for Nash and Kobe along with all the new injuries this season for other players.

          • hookedonnews

            Oblivious not obvious. My fingers can’t keep up with my brain or vice versa.

    • fakerstolakers

      Rigaotni, had Nash, Amare, Marion, in their Prime and they failed in the West……….and Joe Johnson….

      • Jim213

      • hookedonnews

        I don’t know how you can call winning 60+ games 2 years in a row failure. If you’re familiar with what happened in those two play-off series and the next one you know that the fact that they didn’t get to the Finals can’t be laid at D’Antoni’s feet. There were a lot of factors involved like the suspensions of Diaw and Stoudemire which turned the tide in that series and questionable officiating by Tim Donaghy who’s an admitted game-fixer. Joe Johnson was only there the first season, and Stoudemire was injured for most of the second. Being beaten by the Spurs is something that’s happened to a lot of good teams. They systematically dismantled that Suns team because they were unwilling to pay players like Johnson to stay.

  • Kay Carter

    Fire the coach, remove some of the players who not playing good D

  • karl

    Let’s start from the bottom and build a house. Defense is the roof, but how can we build the roof at first?
    While we didn’t have a healthy roster, coaching hasn’t adjust and made situation worse. Of course we can’t blame D’Antoni for everything. We have a roster with a lot of potential, but with little experience. We lack of “presence” on the flor, because players like kobe or nash aren’t their. They might not be as good as they were, but they motivate and give the opponents some pressure.
    We have a big roster with expiring contracts. Take the good ones and the ones with real experience like farmar and young. Get a new coach and maybe get some solid players with experience (don’t have to be superstars), a good pick and start from scratch

    • David Moses

      Dude! It’s: “There”. As in: Kobe and Nash aren’t THERE, not THEIR you freaking idiot!

      I just for the life of me cannot understand how many people misplace that word!

      Also with the word: You’re replacing it with YOUR, Really??? FAK!!!

      • Chrmngblly

        Let’s talk punctuation…

      • Josh

        Dude, it’s “there,” as in “Kobe and Nash aren’t ‘there’.” It’s not “their,” you freaking idiot!

        For the life of me, I just cannot understand how so many people misplace (?) that word!

        Also, you’re replacing the word “you’re” with “your.” Really?

        By the way, I can’t find “your” or “you’re” anywhere in his comment.