Around The World (Wide Web): A Team Meeting, Mike D, Two All-Stars, Continued Losing

Ryan Cole —  January 24, 2013

From Adrian Wojnarowski, Yahoo Sports: Beyond the personal animus and the uncertainty over Phil Jackson’s willingness to endure the job’s grind, the biggest issue Lakers vice president Jim Buss had with choosing Jackson over Mike D’Antoni as head coach centered on the consequences for Steve Nash. With no use for this point guard in the triangle offense, Buss’s fear was that Jackson would’ve pushed to move Nash out, sources said. Buss passed on the Lakers’ glorious championship legacy to attach his franchise to the desert mirage of D’Antoni and Nash, a reunion tour born of a one-dimensional, gimmick offense and a point guard pushing 39 years old. “The way this turns out,” one league source connected to the hiring process said, “you’ve chosen not only Steve Nash over [Pau] Gasol, but maybe over Gasol and Dwight [Howard].”

From Eric Pincus, LA Times: The team concept has 13 to 15 players coming together to make each other better. With a good team, individual flaws can be overcome.  The Lakers are simply not a good team, not this year. Whether they’ll find themselves before it’s too late remains to be seen.  Where has there been any true improvement? Steve Nash has always struggled defensively through his career.  Kobe Bryant will do too much on offense and get lost on defense playing “center field.” Nash won back-to-back MVP awards as the same, limited defender.  Bryant’s headstrong style of play has helped lead the Lakers to five NBA championships. Dwight Howard doesn’t have a refined post game and can’t shoot free throws – and yet he and theOrlando Magic made it to the Finals. Pau Gasol can be bothered by physical play but he’s a two-time champion. Mike D’Antoni has little reputation for coaching defensively but his run in Phoenix with the Suns helped revolutionize the game. As a group the Lakers are older, slower and deflated.  They’ve had injuries, coaching changes and too many failures to comprehend. The Lakers are exposed for all their flaws, making each and every individual look worse than they are.  There’s nowhere to hide – no one covering for their teammates.

From C.A. Clark, Silver Screen & Roll: On Sunday, February 17th, the NBA will hold its 2013 All Star Game in Houston, Texas. When the game tips off, the Los Angeles Lakers will represent 20% of the players taking the court, 40% of those donning the Western Conference jerseys. Not too shabby for a team that will probably miss the playoffs. Such is the weird state of the Los Angeles Lakers, in which a team full of top flight talent is vastly under-performing. Here’s the thing, though: Kobe and Dwight … kinda deserve to be there. At least as far as the numbers go. Kobe is scoring off the charts, and until the last three games, he was doing so at an efficiency that was historic in his already historic career.And Dwight, though nowhere near the form that people associate with him, is still just about good enough to be considered a legitimate All Star. He’s leading the league in rebounding by a sizable margin (though Anderson Varejao was killing him prior to the season ending blood clot injury he sustained).

From Kevin Ding, OC Register:  Communication is good. Health would be better.Defense would be best.The Lakers lost again Wednesday night, falling to the Memphis Grizzlies, 106-93. “Just another chapter in a difficult season,” Steve Nash said. The Lakers took another injury hit with Dwight Howard aggravating the labrum injury to his right shoulder a couple minutes before halftime. Unlike last time he hurt it and the pain faded, Howard said after the game: “It still hurts.” Howard has been doing exercises to strengthen the shoulder and protect against aggravation, but it happened anyway and he will be evaluated by a specialist Thursday. Howard’s absence contributed to the Lakers’ seventh consecutive road loss, and they haven’t won a road game in more than a month. The unity that they hoped would come from a team meeting earlier in the day was blown away by another wave of defensive breakdowns after sundown. They now have lost 10 of their past 12 overall to drop to 17-25.

From Dave McMenamin, ESPN LA:  In order to move forward and turn around their disappointing season, the Los Angeles Lakers attempted to let go of their past frustrations with a team meeting Wednesday. Prior to a shootaround in preparation for Wednesday night’s game against the Memphis Grizzlies, coach Mike D’Antoni invited members of the Lakers to air their grievances, according to a team source. Several players spoke up, including Steve Nash andKobe Bryant, the 17-year veterans who make up the Lakers’ backcourt.Bryant asked Dwight Howard if he was bothered by playing alongside him, according to the Los Angeles Times, which first reported the meeting. Bryant acknowledged he could be “hard to play with,” according to the newspaper, and challenged Howard to speak up if he had a problem with it. Howard was “despondent” and did not offer much of a reply, according to a team source.


Ryan Cole