Mike D’Antoni on Lakers Struggles: “Everybody Plays Off Each Other”
It seems like every time the Los Angeles Lakers are discussed these days, there are questions about what the team is doing wrong and what coach Mike D’Antoni can do to turn things around.
The Lakers are coming off a loss to the Philadelphia 76ers Monday night and that defeat prompted some harsh words from Kobe Bryant. Bryant called the Lakers team “old” and “slow” and it was clear by the way the Lakers played that the players are still figuring out their roles in this new system.
After the game, D’Antoni spoke to the Los Angeles Times and he talked about how his offense will work with the players on this roster. The Lakers have plenty of options on the roster, but D’Antoni does not want to run specific plays to get his players shots. Instead, D’Antoni is focused on a free-flowing offense and one that requires his players to react to what happens on the court.
“The ball will find him. We don’t have to call a lot of plays, [Dwight] will be open,” D’Antoni said. “We don’t want to call people’s numbers. We don’t want to iso. We don’t want to go, ‘OK, you’re going here,’ ‘We’re going there.’ We want to play basketball. We have basketball players and everybody plays off each other. Some nights it’s [Howard]. Some nights it’s Kobe [Bryant]. Some nights it’s Steve. Everybody contributes, and to me, another team can’t scout you because you’re just playing.”
The Lakers have a tendency to allow Kobe Bryant dominate the ball at times and that forces to the offense to become stagnant. However, in Kobe’s defense, this teammates have a tendency to check themselves out of games, and at certain times it seems as though he is he only player making an effort.
If the Lakers want to become an elite team in this league, they need big nights from all four of their stars. Bryant, Steve Nash, Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol cannot afford to take nights off and this team does not have a lot of time left to figure and sort itself out.