From Suki Thind, Lakers Nation: If you ask Lakers fans whether the team will be better or worse off than last year, you’ll probably get mixed responses. Are the expectations and goals as high as last season? Certainly not. However, I personally feel that the level of play will be significantly improved, and the season will be more pleasant overall. First of all, I don’t think many have the Lakers pinned as championship contenders for next season, as almost everybody did last season. In that sense, when the Lakers don’t hit 60+ wins, it won’t be a shock to anyone. Similarly, the losing streaks won’t be nearly as frustrating as they were last season. Now, on to the brighter side of things. The Lakers should be a much more cohesive unit. Where they often looked like a collection of players thrown on the court together last season with no chemistry, they’ll likely fit better together next season.
From Ben R, Silver Screen & Roll: We entered summer league a little over a week ago with seemingly firm ideas of who was going to be able to make the roster and the manner in which they would be able to contribute. After five games of surprisingly fun and enjoyable play from a group of journeymen and undrafted free agents that for the most part embraced a team identity and principles on both ends rather than their own individual stats, a bête noire of most summer league squads, most of those said ideas have been thoroughly discredited, largely in a positive manner. The coaching staff clearly came into summer league with a clear idea of what kind of player they wanted and what context they needed to succeed in, so a good deal of credit goes to Dan D’Antoni and the rest for managing to sell this team on being part of the system instead of trying to subsume it within their own individual game.
From Dave McMenamin, ESPN LA: Ironically, it was Phil Jackson who may have best summed up Mike D’Antoni’s first season as head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. “Mike hasn’t had a chance in L.A., he really hasn’t,” Jackson said back in May while appearing as a guest on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” after audience members booed the mention of D’Antoni’s name. And that was before Dwight Howard left for Houston, making it clear on his way out the door that he would have preferred Jackson over D’Antoni as the Lakers’ head coach.
From Mike Bresnahan, LA Times: Jordan Farmar gave up a lot of money to come back to theLakers, turning his back on a lucrative deal with a Turkish pro team. Call him crazy? “I’m not quite sure I’ve seen an agreement that paid so generously in recent time in Europe,” Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak said Friday. But Farmar, 26, came back to the NBA after a one-year absence and signed a one-year, $1.1-million contract to return to the team he left three years earlier as a free agent. Farmar left at least $10 million on the table to depart his Turkish club Anadolu Efes, according to a person familiar with the situation.
From Brett Pollakoff, Pro Basketball Talk: Mike D’Antoni was placed into a situation as head coach of the Lakers last season where he never really had a fair chance to succeed. The hope in Los Angeles this year is that due to expectations being lowered significantly from the championship-or-bust mentality that (rightfully) surrounded the team a season ago, D’Antoni won’t be under as much pressure, and therefore, may be able to work some level of magic with the players he’ll have on the roster. In other words, he might actually have a shot.