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).