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Rebuilding the team under D'Antoni

Lakers Kobe Howard Nash Gasol DAntoni Rebuild

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#1 Tensai

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Posted April 30, 2013 - 01:02 AM

I know we all have our expectations for next season. We want Dwight to resign, we wish the FO fire Mike D'Antoni AND bring back Phil, MWP to get amnestied, Pau to be traded etc. They all look fantastic but the fanbase might have to be realistic when the next season is of concern. This team doesn't much have option neither in financial term, nor roster-wise. We are stuck between now and future, shadowed by the glory of the past. It is better to keep things in perspective if we want to progress.

 

Mitch said singling out the reason for why the season turned out like this was difficult. He is right when you consider the new players brought in (Dwight, Nash, Meeks, Jamison, Clark, Duhon), systems that are implented (Princeton, Run&Gun, Kobe-oriented offense, and late in the season Pau assisted offense), and all those injuries (Nash, Blake, Pau, Hill, Dwight, MWP, Kobe, Jamison...) It was the most difficult season a team can face and we are even more frustrated because of the expectations and our 9 figure payroll. This offseason firstly starts with sharing out the blame. How much does the FO blame themselves for bringing such an old roster together? How do they explain the firing of Mike Brown just after the 5th game of the season when all things are considered? How much did it hurt to wait for Nash to come back (24 games to be exact) ? There are a lot of questions like this. D'Antoni surely mismanaged the roster but I believe if he had a preseason and came to know the players in hand, he could have done a better job. I think we all agree on that.

 

When you consider all these things, return of D'Antoni for the next season might not be such a surprising event. And I think we should all give it a thought when assessing our expectations. It might be good exercise to think what our team should look like next season under D'Antoni with what we have learned from 12/13 season so far.

 

1. D'Antoni's system usually features good perimeter shooters. And with Nash in helm, he did use them to team's advantadge. We weren't such a bad team this season in that department but we weren't a perimeter threat either. For Dwight to do his magic freely, we need spacing. So this is a win-win situation. We have to bring a sharpshooter to play SF, it is even better with athletic abilities as plus.

 

2. Bench.. Bench.. Bench.. When you look at all contenders, they have a 6th man type player. Thunder have Kevin Martin, Heat have Ray Allen. Spurs have Manu Ginobili, Knicks have J.R. Smith. Clippers have Jamal Crawford. To lesser extent Warriors have both Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry. They are game changing players. That is why they assume that role. Now, why do we also need one? For one thing you can only go so far with your starting 5. They can't all perform to their best, they will get in shooting slump, get outmatched or at worst case injured. It is, therefore, important that your bench players fill that gap and play within your system. When you looked at the 08-10 Lakers, Odom played in that role, and won a 6th man award in 10/11. He was bit of inconsistent but he had so many talents to change the game, and when things went south (such as Bynum's injury plagued seasons) he stepped up. This season we had no one to play such role. Therefore, we had to play our starting lineup more unfairly, that I think had part in these end-of-season injuries. That is why we have to bring one such player, that can change the game in various ways with scoring to be on top.

 

3. We are a poor defensive team. As much as Dwight anchors the defense, he can't stop the other team from scoring from perimeter or from 2v1 in paint. D'Antoni doesn't preach defense as much as Mike Brown but I don't think it had huge impact in our performance. Why? Because we don't have the personnel to play defense consistently. Pau can't do it. Nash is a matador. MWP is a shell of himself. Kobe can do only so much on both sides. From bench also, aside from hustle players like Clark and Hill, they are poor defenders. That is why we need to bring 2 players that are defensive specialist. One to start, and other off the bench - preferably a backcourt player, at the very least someone who can defend Guards.

 

I've talked about necessary additions so far, now the obvious question comes: How do we get them? To answer that we have to speculate on the roster for next season a bit. For sure we aren't [expletive]ing amnestying Kobe. Second, Dwight is coming back. Dude is right to pursue his options especially after such a season but you don't trade L.A. and Lakers with anything. Third, Nash has 2 more years, considering his low trade value and the sole reason that we can't amnesty him, he is staying. After these 3, we just need to fill the gaps now.

 

Pau Gasol has gained a bit of trade value after showing his prime skills as the season wind down. There must be teams out there, still, that want Pau. I don't know if Bucks are interested but my favourite trade scenario is in which we get Ersan and Mbah Moute in return for Pau. Mbah Moute would start as PF as the defensive specialist, and according to situation Ersan would be either starting SF that is athletic and perimeter threat OR the 6th man. In any case we need such a combo in return when dealing Pau away.

 

Second, we have to amnesty MWP. As long as he is here, he will either start or get big chunks of minutes. He doesn't have anything to contribute, and he's too much attention seeker for a team that doesn't have the presence (like Phil) to take it under control. Considering the tax situation, I'd say don't even hesitate to pull the trigger.

 

Third, trade Chris Duhon for either a 3 point specialist or a perimeter defender. I know we can still find either of the two from FA market but we don't need him, so why keep him? He has one year left in his contract, surely a team might want him. At the very least get something in return like a 2nd round draft pick.

 

I assume that we will keep Earl Clark and Jordan Hill. Earl can play 3/4 and Jordan can play 4/5. In a likely injury situation, these two can fill the gap from bench or you can start Earl from PF depending on how Pau trade goes. Still I'd prefer if they came off the bench. Again, I think Blake deserves to be our backup PG. He understands the new system well and his performance was good to great in last games of the season. Meeks/Goudelock question is a bit tricky. While I love both players, considering our needs I don't want to give them 20 mins a night. We need one defensive guard, if he can shoot the 3 it is better.

 

According to such scenarios Mike D'Antoni would have a team like

 

C - Dwight Howard / Jordan Hill

PF - A / C

SF - B / C

SG - Kobe Bryant / D / Andrew Goudelock

PG - Steve Nash / Steve Blake / Darius Morris

 

A / B / C refers to players after Pau Gasol trade and Earl Clark. D is a defensive guard who can shoot the 3. (This will probably be brought via mini-MLE) And I'd guess we can bring some veterans to fill the roster. (Like Kenyon Martin, Chris Andersen type)

 

 

Still, I know it is better if we can get Phil and do all these things with him managing the roster but entertain the idea of next season with D'Antoni and options to improve the roster.

 



#2 nikolatesla

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Posted April 30, 2013 - 01:22 AM

If you fire MDA today, you have enough time to find a new coach before training camp and you have enough time to build a chemistry for 2014. MDA needs to go asap, thats not optional.

#3 bfc1125roy

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Posted April 30, 2013 - 01:24 AM

I can say what I'd like, but honestly it's up to D'Antoni to make adjustments. Then again, if he did, I wouldn't have a problem with him as the coach.

 

Basically this season was split into two halves under D'Antoni, let's say the divide is at the team meeting in Memphis.

 

1) D'Antoni tries to make Nash run the offense just like the old times in Phoenix. However Nash is 39 and clearly not the same player. You could see this when a simple trap by the Heat in the fourth quarter shut him down completely. He can't fuel an offense like he used to. The team ends up losing a lot of games and everyone is pissed off.

 

2) The meeting in Memphis happens. Everyone realizes the offense isn't working. D'Antoni is a one trick pony and has nothing left, so Kobe takes matters into his own hands, trying (and succeeding) in willing the team to the playoffs. But with no actual offense or defense, causing Nash, Dwight, and Gasol all to feel uncomfortable because of a lack of a defined role, LA is still struggling. MDA realizes all he can do at this point is play Kobe every minute of every game (since Kobe is literally the only thing keeping the team afloat at this point), but ends up running him into the ground and he gets injured. 

 

Point is, we do need roster changes. However, it's not like we had a crappy roster this season either. You still need an offensive and defensive system to win games. Remember the Heat were 9-8 trying to play ISO basketball until they finally designed an effective offense and soon went 21-1. After not making adjustments through the season or in the playoffs though, as well as rejecting top tier defensive assistants multiple times in his career, I don't expect MDA to suddenly create a genius offense and defense designed to fit the team's strengths. 


Edited by bfc1125roy, April 30, 2013 - 01:26 AM.


#4 Tensai

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Posted April 30, 2013 - 01:29 AM

If you fire MDA today, you have enough time to find a new coach before training camp and you have enough time to build a chemistry for 2014. MDA needs to go asap, thats not optional.

Are you gonna cry if he's still coaching next season?



#5 Tensai

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Posted April 30, 2013 - 01:34 AM

I can say what I'd like, but honestly it's up to D'Antoni to make adjustments. Then again, if he did, I wouldn't have a problem with him as the coach.

 

Basically this season was split into two halves under D'Antoni, let's say the divide is at the team meeting in Memphis.

 

1) D'Antoni tries to make Nash run the offense just like the old times in Phoenix. However Nash is 39 and clearly not the same player. You could see this when a simple trap by the Heat in the fourth quarter shut him down completely. He can't fuel an offense like he used to. The team ends up losing a lot of games and everyone is pissed off.

 

2) The meeting in Memphis happens. Everyone realizes the offense isn't working. D'Antoni is a one trick pony and has nothing left, so Kobe takes matters into his own hands, trying (and succeeding) in willing the team to the playoffs. But with no actual offense or defense, causing Nash, Dwight, and Gasol all to feel uncomfortable because of a lack of a defined role, LA is still struggling. MDA realizes all he can do at this point is play Kobe every minute of every game (since Kobe is literally the only thing keeping the team afloat at this point), but ends up running him into the ground and he gets injured. 

 

Point is, we do need roster changes. However, it's not like we had a crappy roster this season either. You still need an offensive and defensive system to win games. Remember the Heat were 9-8 trying to play ISO basketball until they finally designed an effective offense and soon went 21-1. After not making adjustments through the season or in the playoffs though, as well as rejecting top tier defensive assistants multiple times in his career, I don't expect MDA to suddenly create a genius offense and defense designed to fit the team's strengths. 

We did have an incomplete roster. We have no athleticism in team for quite some time. Add to that defensive woes, no wonder some people (like Greg Anthony) were right with their skepticism at the beginning of the season. I agree with D'Antoni being inconsistent. But that may change with a full preseason. For one we won't have Kobe so he will have to install offense/defense based on what he has, still though I'd expect Kobe to give his input.

 

I think we'll use Nash and Howard better this time. We just need to fill the gaps.



#6 bfc1125roy

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Posted April 30, 2013 - 01:58 AM

We did have an incomplete roster. We have no athleticism in team for quite some time. Add to that defensive woes, no wonder some people (like Greg Anthony) were right with their skepticism at the beginning of the season. I agree with D'Antoni being inconsistent. But that may change with a full preseason. For one we won't have Kobe so he will have to install offense/defense based on what he has, still though I'd expect Kobe to give his input.

 

I think we'll use Nash and Howard better this time. We just need to fill the gaps.

 

Right, I agree roster changes and athleticism must be addressed. However just because we aren't OKC in terms of youth doesn't mean we can't win a ring. The Mavs were an old team in 2011 and they beat a young OKC and Heat team. It's not impossible. But they were well coached and played to their strengths, unlike what D'Antoni had us do.

 

I'm still not convinced D'Antoni really has any offense or defense to install. He rejected defensive assistants in Phoenix and New York, and when asked about why he doesn't coach defense, he pompously responded that he had the team do 15 minutes of defensive drills in practice. That's not going to do anything. 

 

As per offense, he's only ever used one offense. It worked in Phoenix, didn't work in New York (so he was forced out), and didn't work in LA (so he responded by playing Kobe 48 mpg). There hasn't been a shred of evidence that he has anything else to offer the team, so I'm not going to be overly optimistic even if the Lakers add youth and are more healthy next year. 



#7 Real Deal

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Posted April 30, 2013 - 01:59 AM

Just a few things I'd like to point out...

 

1) If we run D'Antoni's offense, Nash has to go.  Sounds ridiculous, since it's basically Nash's offense, but he's going to be 40 next February, and for the last two seasons (at least, including one in Phoenix), he has struggled to run an uptempo offense that relies heavily on his ability to get to the rim AND/OR lead the break.  Even his pick and roll, and pick and pop, has suffered...nowhere near where it used to be, simply because perimeter defenders (and most point guards) do not have to worry about going over the screen, and they can catch him to the rim.

 

2) I can't say we took advantage of our shooters this season, or that they even contributed enough to be a significant part of our offense. We were 19th in the NBA in 3PT percentage, yet we still decided to take the 3rd most attempts in the NBA from beyond the arc.  When you consider both, it hurt us far more than helped, even though our percentage was nearly "average" from outside, because we shot far too many threes at such a low percentage.

 

3) Getting perimeter defenders will not make us a good defensive team, as long as D'Antoni is coaching.  With no system in place, we will never take advantage of our elite defensive anchor, and our team will struggle to reach elite defense status.  In Phoenix, the Suns presented squads with both Raja Bell and Shawn Marion...even adding Shaq (size alone) and Grant Hill in 2008, and they were still the 16th-best defensive squad in the league.

 

Great individual offense will always trump great individual defense.  Without a defensive strategy, guys like LeBron, Durant, and Carmelo will toast us.

 

People praise Mike Woodson's defense...but funny enough, the same thing is happening in New York (and not in the Boston series...the Celtics just can't score).  The Knicks have Chandler, Shumpert, Kidd, Brewer and Smith...all legitimate defenders...yet, they are 18th in the league in defensive rating.

 

Meanwhile, Dwight's Orlando teams contained a lot of defensive liabilities, but SVG's system took full advantage of Howard, giving them the top-ranked defense in 2009.  The Pacers have accomplished the same thing with George and Hibbert, the only two players on that team that are locked in on the defensive end all game long (astounding defense).

 

D'Antoni will have to do a couple of things to be a successful head coach next season, if he stays in LA.  One, he has to move his brother aside and accept the hiring of a defensive assistant that will have permission to spend quality practice time on the defensive end of the floor.  Two, he'll need to install an offense that is constructed around our superstar(s), and not around an aging PG that cannot find success as a primary ball-handler anymore.



#8 LakersGAFan

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Posted April 30, 2013 - 03:19 AM

Dantoni sucks. I wont watch a single game next season until that mutha [expletive] is fired.


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#9 True Lakers Fan

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Posted April 30, 2013 - 03:22 AM

Again, what shows D'Antoni's tenure as a NBA coach great? One trip to a Conference Finals? Mike Brown went to a CF  :laughing:


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#10 bfc1125roy

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Posted April 30, 2013 - 03:24 AM

Again, what shows D'Antoni's tenure as a NBA coach great? One trip to a Conference Finals? Mike Brown went to a CF  :laughing:

 

Mike Brown actually went to the finals too lol. 



#11 True Lakers Fan

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Posted April 30, 2013 - 03:34 AM

Mike Brown actually went to the finals too lol. 

 

and got swept.... with LeBron 


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#12 bfc1125roy

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Posted April 30, 2013 - 03:41 AM

and got swept.... with LeBron 

 

Haha not trying to defend Brown at all actually. With the way the Cavs structured their offense, there was no way they were going to beat the Spurs. 



#13 True Lakers Fan

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Posted April 30, 2013 - 03:44 AM

Haha not trying to defend Brown at all actually. With the way the Cavs structured their offense, there was no way they were going to beat the Spurs. 

 

 

you get the point tho 


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#14 Anautikus

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Posted April 30, 2013 - 03:45 AM

D'Antoni will have to do a couple of things to be a successful head coach next season, if he stays in LA.  One, he has to move his brother aside and accept the hiring of a defensive assistant that will have permission to spend quality practice time on the defensive end of the floor.  Two, he'll need to install an offense that is constructed around our superstar(s), and not around an aging PG that cannot find success as a primary ball-handler anymore.

 

It would surely be fantastic to see him to all those things, ANY of those things, to give our team some sort of identity (something that yesterday's exit interviews showed we never had this season), but I don't see him budging from his "system," or lack thereof, any time soon. I'm betting he's going to attribute the failure of his system to all the injuries that happened this year.  <_< And if that does happen, and we try to turn into the Los Angeles Suns again next year, it's gonna be another not-so-fun season.

 

 

Hoping for a miracle next season in the form of a coaching change, whether it be getting a new one, or having MDA transform into a competent one lol. Maybe he'll come on the LN boards and read RD's advice.


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#15 DanishLakerFan

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Posted April 30, 2013 - 04:01 AM

I think it would be possible to have success with a D’Antoni system, though i think a Brian Shaw system with both Pau and Dwight would be more successful.

Unfortunately it would take a lot of roster moves and basically everyone except Dwight, Clark and Kobe would have to be traded or replaced with shooters/defenders as well as a primary ball-handler. The one thing I do fear, is that Dwight isn’t good enough offensively for this to work.



#16 Windu

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Posted April 30, 2013 - 04:48 AM

Most terrifying thread title ever

Pau Gasol is GONE


#17 LAKing85

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Posted April 30, 2013 - 05:01 AM

Most terrifying thread title ever


LOL, I was just about to say the same thing. Couldn't agree more

#18 FranklinPeanuts

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Posted April 30, 2013 - 05:29 AM

1-14 in his past 15 playoff..
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#19 LakeShow805

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Posted April 30, 2013 - 06:21 AM

Rebuilding....? If we still have MDA we aren't getting past the second round.



#20 GCMD

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Posted April 30, 2013 - 07:12 AM

Agree with the OP.  I don't care who it was, this season would have been a bust for any coach including Phil.  You can make adjustments to a healthy roster...there's nothing you can do when 40% of your starting lineup is injured.

 

 

I think the starting 5 played together for about 22 games...a little over 1/4 of the regular season games.

 

I don't think it's possible to adequately gauge anything based on the plethora of "what if" scenarios that are clearly 20/20 hindsight combined with abundance of injuries to KEY players.

 

This was OBVIOUSLY a year of WORST case scenarios...and that's not MDA's fault.  Bring back a healthy team and he still doesn't get it done?  Good riddance.







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