From Darius Soriano, Pro Basketball Talk: The last two Lakers games (wins over the Rockets and Suns) have foreshadowed a shift in how they hope to play for the rest of the season. The team that once ground out possessions in the half court has turned up the tempo and blown away the opposition by allowing their talent to shine. Highlight plays have paired with high point totals and everyone is feeling good in Laker-land about the way the team is scoring. But lost in the euphoria of the Lakers attempt to return to Showtime via Dwight Howard dunks and Kobe Bryant knifing to the basket has been a key element to their offensive success: the Lakers have drastically cut down on their turnovers.
From Mike Bresnahan, LA Times: There’s a job waiting for Darius Morris when his NBA career ends. He should be an agent. The reserve point guard wasn’t just your average second-round pick when the Lakers took him 41st overall in the 2011 draft.He took a small financial risk and was ultimately rewarded for it.Second-round picks in the NBA typically receive nonguaranteed contracts for two years, but Morris signed for only one year so he could become a free agent last July.He thought he would impress the Lakers enough to earn a more lucrative contract in his second year. They liked what they saw of him and signed him to another one-year deal for about $950,000, doubling what he earned his first season. Andrew Goudelock, on the other hand, was on the nonguaranteed two-year pay scale. He was cut by the Lakers during training camp. He would have made $760,000 this season. Goudelock was taken five picks below Morris in the 2011 draft.
From Dave McMenamin, ESPN Los Angeles: With all the drama surrounding the Los Angeles Lakers since the start of training camp — from a winless preseason, to Steve Nash getting hurt, Mike Brown being fired, Phil Jackson being spurned and Mike D’Antoni being hired — Dwight Howard has flown relatively under the radar. It wasn’t too long ago that Howard’s name couldn’t stay out of the headlines as his exit from Orlando played out in the press. The All-Star center’s situation became commonly referred to as the “Dwightmare.”Howard’s inspired play just six months removed from back surgery has helped people move on from the soap opera that surrounded him during the summer. He is averaging 20 points (60.8 percent shooting), 11.4 rebounds and 2.7 blocks through the Lakers’ first 10 games. However, with the Brooklyn Nets coming to town to play the Lakers this week, Howard was reminded Monday about his supposed preferred destination.
From Elliot Teaford, LA Daily News: Mike D’Antoni is a definite maybe to make his Lakers coaching debut tonight against the Brooklyn Nets at Staples Center. His surgically repaired knee is “ten-fold better,” but he couldn’t commit to spending the evening on the bench. ”I’m going to try,” he said after Monday’s practice. “We’ll see. “We’ll talk to Gary tomorrow and see how it goes. I tried Sunday and it didn’t work out. I don’t want to say ‘Yeah,’ and don’t do it again. We’ll just see. It’s a lot better.” D’Antoni referred to athletic trainer Gary Vitti. ”I’m anxious to go,” said D’Antoni, who watched the Lakers’ victories Friday over the Phoenix Suns and Sunday over the Houston Rockets on TV in the locker room while undergoing physical therapy on his knee. Injured point guards Steve Nash and Steve Blake joined D’Antoni. ”I suffer more back there than on the floor,” D’Antoni said. “I just want to make sure it’s right. There’s no hurry on my part. When it’s 100 percent, then I’m ready to go. I want to make sure I don’t fall off the bench in the fourth quarter.
From Ben R, Silver Screen & Roll: It is hard to tell ourselves from time to time that the Lakers are going gangbusters on offense against a bunch of bad defensive teams, mainly because they look so impressive while doing so. The ball is moving well, turnovers have gone down, and suddenly, the players have confidence in their shooting once more. For the most part, everyone is playing within their role and things are going swimmingly. Oh, and the Lakers are doing this without one of the best pick-and-roll guards and shooters who has ever played the game? The guy who was supposed to supercharge the Lakers’ offense? Well, seeing as it already looks good, one shudders to think of the heights it could reach with Nash running the show. Part of it has been the fact that a particular Kobe Bryant has embraced the Nash role so-to-speak in a fashion that yours truly thought he would do so last year before his handle got shot. It also has been due to the fact that the other Laker role players simply appear more comfortable under the aegis of Mike D’Antoni’s offense. When the goal of every possession is simply to seek the best shot whenever it is available and the individual players feel no pressure to perform within the confines of a structured system, lo and behold, you see better results. We’ve talked about the impact the change of systems has had before, but it really bears mentioning again because of the reality that the Lakers look infinitely better right now in terms of their offensive flow than they did to begin the year. It’s not just a few players doing well to carry the bad, but more than almost everyone looks good and a few are simply exceptional.