A couple weeks ago, we opined on why we thought Mike D'Antoni wouldn't be a good fit in L.A ( http://thedraftabilityindex.blogspot.com/2012/11/setting-pace-what-best-coaches-get-and.html ) but this is getting ridiculous.
At 7-12, the Lakers are struggling to beat anybody and look seriously disjointed. We do think that the pace the Lakers are playing at under D'Antoni is a contributing factor to the mayhem, but frankly there is a lot going on here.
Bad Luck- The numbers suggest that the Lakers should have a better record than they do. They're getting pretty decent production from some of their supporting pieces- Duhon, Jamison, Hill - and the big guys are more or less doing their thing, other than Pau. 19 games still isn't that much of a sample size, so they'll probably bounce back some based strictly on osmosis.
No Nash- Duh.
Pau is bad?- Pau has historically done his best work on the block in L.A and they really don't ask him to do that anymore. As a screen-setter, and mid-range jump shot taker, he just isn't a special player. Plus, he seems hesitant and pretty checked out most of the time. I guess you really can only take so much of Kobe's shit.
Kobe's shit- Here's the biggie, folks. Here's why the Lakers aren't getting out of the first or maybe the second round this year. A team with Kobe Bryant as the figurehead and presumptive best player is not going to win in the year 2012. No way, no how. Earlier in his career, Kobe was still overrated but could certainly lay legitimate claim to the title of star, however in recent seasons his production has sharply declined. But hey, father time gets everybody and Kobe's got a million miles on him, right? That's why they went out and got Nash and Howard, so at his tender age, Bryant could just be a piece of the puzzle.
Well, Kobe didn't get that memo. Though he is hitting a significantly higher percentage of them, Kobe is still taking any shot he wants, and then acts like he's annoyed at having to do all the work. If the last couple seasons have taught us anything, its that that just isn't a championship formula anymore, if it ever really was.
In the NBA, if you have one of the top five players, history tells us you have a pretty good chance at getting within striking distance of a title, and lucky Lakers, they have one! It sure as shit ain't Kobe though. Howard is a bonafide stud at the thinnest position in the league. It is absolutely unconscionable that the Lakers not literally center themselves around him, and play a significantly slower, more plodding style of basketball. They're not athletic anyways, why wouldn't you to do that to begin with?
This is whole situation is becoming a weird repetition of history. Where before Kobe couldn't accept that Shaq was the best player on those Laker teams, he likely will not accept that the team should run through Howard either.
Phil was able to manage the situation by turning Shaq loose and then sitting him the final five minutes or so, letting Kobe put on his stupid 'Fake Jordan' face and take charge during "winning time". That dynamic worked a long time. D'Antoni will never play the style of ball the Lakers need to, so its almost a pointless subject to broach, but he would be wise to open up his history book and take a cue from the Zen Master on this one.