From Elizabeth Benson, Lakers Nation: A few days ago Hall of Famer Charles Barkley questioned whether or not Dwight Howard has the mental toughness to be a franchise player and to play in the pressure-filled city of Los Angeles with the Lakers. While Sir Charles has spoken his mind, unfiltered or not, throughout his playing career and post-NBA career, Dwight’s mental toughness is a legitimate talking point with the Lakers and the fans.Therefore, Lakers Nation decided to tackle this topic in our latest weekly roundtable by asking some of our writers: Does Dwight Howard have the mental toughness to be a franchise player for the Lakers? Here’s what they had to say.
From TheGreatMambino, Silver Screen & Roll: As hot as the criticism got last season on Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol, Steve Nash, former head coach Mike Brown and VP of Player Personnel Jim Buss, no man was under more scrutiny than Mike D’Antoni. The mustachioed skipper had one of the most polarizing years in LA history, being blamed for a weak defense and ineffective rotations, but simultaneously being given a pass because of the rampant roster injuries. Even armed with 2 years and $8 million left on his contract, there’s still questions as to whether or not MDA would be leading the Lakers in November. Will Mike D’Antoni be the head coach for the beginning for the 2013-2014 season?
From Dave McMenamin, ESPN LA: It has been nearly 20 years since Magic Johnson coached the Los Angeles Lakers for 16 games in the 1993-94 season*, but the Hall of Famer’s opinions about his former franchise are as strong as ever. Johnson, an analyst for ESPN appearing on KIA NBA Countdown during the NBA Finals, was on a conference call Wednesday with reporters to discuss the Finals and not surprisingly, the subject of the Lakers came up. Below is a transcript of Johnson’s latest thoughts on the purple and gold:
From Dan Feldman, Pro Basketball Talk: Pau Gasol will probably play for the Lakers next season, but he might get amnestied or traded. There’s still a lot up in the air for Gasol in the short-term, especially while the Lakers figure out what’s next for Dwight Howard. Gasol’s long-term future is even cloudier, but he revealed a little insight into his possible plans. Via ElMundo.es (hat tip: Zach Harper of Eye on Basketball): “I don’t know when, but if one day I could return to FIBA basketball, I’d like to do it with Barcelona as long as I can play at a high level and being central to the team.”
From Eric Pincus, LA Times: Steve Nash’s debut season with the Lakers proved problematic, with the veteran guard missing 32 regular-season games and most of the team’s brief postseason. Nash was out early in the year with a leg fracture. Currently he’s rehabbing hip, hamstring and back issues that limited the 39-year old guard in the Lakers’ first-round loss to the San Antonio Spurs.” By the time the season comes around, I expect to be 100% and in a great position to have a great year,” Nash said on a conference call to announce the 2013 Steve Nash Foundation Showdown. In addition to the sixth annual event in New York, Nash will debut his eight-a-side soccer showdowns in Los Angeles, with proceeds benefitting underserved children in their health and education — with a special focus on early childhood education and child abuse research and prevention. “This is a really special event for me,” said Nash. “I’m able to bring together three of my biggest passions: helping children through my foundation, basketball and soccer.”
Magic: “because he didn’t win a championship in Phoenix; they were fun to watch, but he didn’t get it done. He didn’t get it done in New York and he didn’t get it done there. And he sure didn’t show us that he can get it done with the Lakers yet.” – Evidently Magic was in a good mood towards D’Antoni – he left out Denver.
Cheeks/Kidd: Two guys with rings getting hired. Imagine that. And in Kidd’s case he is going back to his former team, which is a resume entry we consider a disadvantage for some reason.
rr: We are on the same page again with regard to DH, but that is not helping my outlook : )
Craig: Whether we can influence something is not a basis for whether we should post about it. Can we influence anything? I mean other than me getting them to trade for DH, but that was a special case : )
Chearn: Nice post. Yes we won it with Bill Sharman, so why not Doc? With regard to the same issues if he stays: Between you and rr – well – you are not making me feel better : )
The other point in addition to Robert’s above that I would make in regard to Craig’s stuff is that it isn’t just the amorphous fans talking about Howard and D’Antoni. Pretty much every daily link that the mods put up deals with one, the other, or both, as we see again here (to be clear, I am not complaining–Howard is the main issue with the team right now, and therefore his interaction with MDA is a big deal).
This idea that a player that wins a ring is therefore a good coach is absurd. The requirement that a coach has to lead a team to a championship before coming here is equally absurd.
Also, don’t take Magic’s word as gospel. As I have complained numerous times before, outside of his short sting as coach, Magic has never held a position of power in any front office. In short, he is just a spectator – just like you and me – albeit a very knowledgeable one. However, for a guy with all of that knowledge, I’m surprised he chooses to use the “aint getting it done” argument if, as many like rr, Kevin and other have provided out, there are ample other reasons why DAntoni could go. Magic has a problem with Jim Buss so understand that his criticism must be observed through that prism.
Finally, fans can influence a FO. Don’t believe it? Just look at the Dodgers the last year McCourt owned them.
MannyP: Rings do not guarantee anyone can coach – otherwise Dennis Rodman would qualify. Rings do however bring respect. Coaches who have rings or at least have been to the Finals get the most respect. If you have done so as a player, that would be second most respect. Lastly, you could be a guy who was brought up through the organization (like Spoelstra). When you have none of that it is a harder battle (although not impossible). However if I was choosing a coach, I would weigh past success, both as a player and coach, and I would favor someone with ties to the organization. Otherwise there would need to be a compelling reason for a hire. For example – if a guy was a perfect match for our personnel – I would hire him. Let me know if you find that guy.
By the way – Eric Spoelstra was the second coach in 18 years to win a championship without already having an NBA ring as a player or a head coach. The other was Larry Brown who had an ABA ring and an NCAA ring. And in Spoelstra’s case he had been groomed for the job for more than a decade from within the organization (and he had been to the Finals previously). So in summary, if your coach did not have a championship pedigree of the highest magnitude, or you did not groom the guy from within, your odds of winning a title during the last 18 years was – zero.
Magic/Stephen A/Phil/Many others: None of them should be treated as the gospel, as you state, but they all know way more about basketball than our primary decision maker. So they have every right to be critical if they see things they disagree with.
Among the coaches out there, if MDA suddenly got the axe (I don’t think he will), Hollins would make a lot of sense.
T. Rogers says
I’d say Magic is a lot more than a spectator. True he doesn’t have an official role with the team. However, to many fans he is still the face of the Lakers. If Magic Johnson throws his hat in the anti-D’Antoni ring its like one more (very big) log on the fire. Combine his influence with Phil Jackson’s influence and the tenor against D’Antoni and Buss gets sky high. Still Buss can do what he wants. He just may be doing it with Staples half empty in the near future.
I know why you are blocking out 2008, but Doc Rivers did not win a ring as a player or a coach–until 2008. He was on the 1994 Knicks, who lost the Finals in 7.
If Splitter doesn’t start dunking EVERYTHING!
Better to get your shot blocked by attempting a dunk and putting the onus on the referee to make a call, rather than put up a soft layup that’s blocked.
Robin present, thus the lead by Miami.
A horrible call!
LOL, here comes Miami’s offense from the referees.
Warren Wee Lim says
IMO Hollins is a very nice coach – for an ego-less team. He would perform like Mike Brown on the Lakers.
for an ego-less team. He would perform like Mike Brown on the Lakers.
Perhaps. But they were 41-25 and got the 3rd seed under Brown. And, in any case, that is just an assertion.
There are several specific reasons that Hollins would hypothetcially be a good fit. There were not with Mike Brown.
37/64 FG, 30 RB, 10 STL, 9 AST, 2 TO
rr: Good one – always can count on you to keep me in line and check my facts. OK – so it was 3 for 18. My mistake has caused me to take this back now to 1960. In those 52 years, 40 of the coaches who won titles already had rings. Forty !! Of the 12 who did not, 3 had at least been to the Finals previously; 5 had experience with the team they took over as a player or as an assistant (sorta like Shaw); In the 52 years, only 4 times has what I will call a vagabond coach (can’t believe I never used this before in this area), won an NBA title. Doc Rivers was most recent vagabond. Prior to that, you must go all the way back to Bill Fitch in 1981. I never knew that Red Holtzman had a ring as a player and so did Larry Costello (coached KAJ to his first title). Who gave all these jobs to guys with rings? Must be quite a few GM’s who are hard headed and stuck in the past. Then again Cheeks and Kidd have rings, so perhaps they are hard headed and stuck in the present. Hollins is a good idea, however WWL may have a point about the egos, so I guess we are back to Phil. And I thought I was going to be the last one to give up on that : )
More so than being a great coach, the players have to allow the coach to be great. And truth be told Kobe feels his way is the best way and that may get in the way of things. He’ll break off a play if he sees an opportunity for success. That means he has an high bball iq but at times it doesn’t line up with what the team is trying to accomplish any given night. Watching the Spurs and Heat run actual plays these 4 games is a sight to behold for Lakers fans. If option #1 isn’t there, they go with option #2, if that’s not there they go with option #3. All that keeps defenses off guard. So much off ball movement and swing passes to the weak side makes a defense work. Lakers rarely if ever do this and some blame is on Kobe. Not trying to bash anyone, just stating what I see during Lakers games. As great an individual players LeBron, Wade and Bosh are they get their numbers working in the Heat’s offense and when it’s time they go one on one. Not working so much offensively all game saves their legs for defense and late in games. Again, Kobe isn’t alone in this. But a coach is only as good as his players. A coaches system will only work if the players let it. The Spurs and Heat have great players who let the system work first and individual talent second. Lakers were once this way in the triangle so maybe it takes a couple years without coaching changes to have that continuity, but some teams dedicate to team work and it shows day one. 04 Pistons (mid season), 08 Celtics, 10 Heat and the Spurs teams are prime example. Championship level players letting a system do the hard work.
rr: was watching first take and Lionel Hollins was asked if he would settle for an assistant coach job if he wasn’t hired as a head coach somewhere. He said he was open to it because he loves basketball. Him or Shaw on the staff in any capacity would surely help, especially focusing on defense.
Warren Wee Lim says
Lionel Hollins, though its unrealistic to discuss at this point because we have a coach, does not fit our team. Don’t get me wrong, I like him and his hard-nosed game. He is a very good team manager of almost famous NBA semi stars.
That said, theoretically, his lowkey profile would not fit well in LA’s drama-filled team. The same reason no one will leave Phil Jackson alone because only he (Phil) or Red Auerbach is allowed to coach here without question of authority. That said, a high-profile city and team needs a high profile coach. Same reason VDN gets the boot in Clipperland.
I am not into comparing teams to the letter but the glaring difference between the Grizzlies and our team makes it very hard for me to accept Hollins, and his previous stint, would be a good fit here.
1st of all, the Grizzlies are young, defensive-minded, ego-less and have an underdog mentality. The Lakers are, overconfident, old, offense-minded and battered by injuries.
2nd of all, Hollins’ offense is predicated on the transition via forced turnovers, something we have a terrible time guarding and have no ability executing. It would require fresh legs, again something we don’t have, and defenders like Tony Allen and Mike Conley Jr. who are very quick and have the lungs and legs to run.
I am not contradicting Rr, I am just stating my thoughts on this matter. Since most posters here are pretty much firing MDA at FB&G already.
Warren, here is an email that I sent to Robert, explaining why I think Hollins would be a good fit:
1. Has a ring.
2. Plays at a slow pace
3. Has good track record with D,
4. Has good track record with bigs
5. Is a product of Mitch’s era
6. Has worked very successfully with Pau’s brother.
7. Has no connection to Phil to make Jim Buss twitchy
8. Is not a big stats guy
A guy I talk to who is a Memphis fan says that Hollins is adaptable. All that said, I don’t think D’Antoni is going anywhere.
Hollins is a good idea, however WWL may have a point about the egos, so I guess we are back to Phil.
Well, I think this is all just a thought exercise, but I am thinking about an ego: Jim Buss’s ego. Hollins is a pretty stolid guy; not a quote machine like Phil or Popovich or even MDA. He is an old-school basketball man who has shown that he can relate to today’s players. I think he would fit in with Buss and with Mitch.
The Lakers would be tough to coach in many ways, but if they do bring the same team back + a couple of cheap young guys to play perimeter D, I would expect that that group would be highly motivated to show that they are not too old, not done, etc, and of course Kobe and Pau will be, odd as it seems to say, playing for their next contracts.
Warren Wee Lim says
I wouldn’t disagree with any of what you said. Matter of fact I do like what he has done in Memphis and quite bemused why he isn’t taken back. I guess they just want to go in a different direction and I believe they have tapped out already. Prince and Tony Allen is a horrible pair. That team could use Metta’s “range” of some capacity.
Apparently CP3 and D12 want in together in LA, but for the Clip show? How bout this: amnesty Pau and use that money to sign CP3? Why not? There’s your future franchise, with a 1-2 year title window for Kobe. Who says no to that idea? D12 won’t. Buss family wont. Kobe wont. CP3 might need to be pursuaded, but he’d eventually fall in love with it.
Somehow I feel like MDA is a negative draw for free agents, tough
Warren Wee Lim says
Travis, please read the CBA thouroughly.
Travis – with what cap space? Kobe at 30 mil, nash at 10, ron at 7, balke at 4 – etc… even if we get rid of Pau via amnesty we still have like an 80 Mill payroll which is 10 mil over the cap – no possible way for us to sign paul
I think the Lakers will stick with MDA. I thought Shaw should have been the successor to Phil to carry on the program we had. At his point the vestigages of that team are coming to an end I don’t see Shaw anymore as a clear choice for the Lakers although I would still appreciate him if we went in that direction.
George Karl would be my 1st choice if would be willing to come to LA. By the criteria given he has been to the finals before with the Sonics although lost. He is able to change his strategy based on the players he is given. And the teams he has coached have tended to over achieve. I know the lack of a ring in his long career will make many frown but, I really like what I see out of Karl.
I’m not convinced that the tax penalty is a major deterrant for the Buss family. If it was, Pau would have been amnestied last year and the LO trade exception would have expired. And even if the JB’s are being cost concious, they still have a shot at being under the cap once Kobe, Nash, Blake and Ron come off the books, even with 2 other max committments. The problem with the theory that the master plan is to ride this team out, dump salary and rebuild around D12 in 2 years is that 1) D12 won’t sign up for that and 2) they traded all of their first rounders when they got Nash.
Rusty Shackleford says
If nothing else at least we will get to watch the Lakers front office learn how to operate under the new salary restrictions. It sounds as if their only option is to try to sign free agents to one year deals or trade for expiring contracts. What sure things could possibly be out there for them that they’d want money tied up in for beyond next season?
Lakers 2014 Free Agency
If Dwight resigns with the Lakers Los Angeles is primed to make a big spash in 2014. Just as I predicted Bosh and LeBron would join Wade in Miami I am predictions LeBron joins Dwight and another superstar of their choice in LA. BUt who is that other superstar?
The lakers third and fourth choices will be Carmelo and Rudy Gay. But their first two choices will be Paul Goerge and Demarcus Cousins
but they are restricted. So that would only work if the pacers and Kings can’t afford to max them out and match the Lakers offer. It’s unlikely but possible as the Pacers and Kings don’t have a ton of cash to throw at non superstar players.
With Miami capped out with an aging supporting cast and a declining Wade (last night aside) LeBron is as good as gone especially with Riley selling his Miami apartment and building a large house in Malibu. Most likley its not Phil Jackson who comes back to the Lakers but Pat Riley as a part owner and FO executive. But don’t count out Phil stepping back to the bench to coach the new super team. People always go where the money is. They go where the beach is. They go where the pretty people are. They go where the winning is. All roads lead to Hollywood. LeBron wants to be the first billion dollar basketball player. The Lakers are a global franchise. I give it better than 50 percent odds this plays out in the Lakers favor. It usually does right?
Although I said this months ago I can’t take credit for this specific predation with Pat Riley as my close friends live next to him in Malibu and speak to him frequently. But I predicted this before I heard Pat Riley told my family friends my prediction was spot on. So ill still take credit for reading the market place.
lil pau says
travis, it’s not just a question of desire, it’s a question of the rules. It’s not allowed.
If Howard ends up on the Clippers with Paul, it will likely involve a S/T, and therefore the Lakers would probably have to be involved. Rumors are already out there.
The only way the Lakers could even consider signing Paul and Howard would be to trade Pau without taking much salary back, and amnestying Kobe. Even then, they would probably need to get Metta off the books as well.
Andre Iguodala opted out in Denver today.
I would take iggy in a heartbeat over dh.
Can you imagine if Jim Buss was smart enough to wait out the year instead of stupidly firing MB, what kind of choices we would have now?
As much as I did not like MB, I thought he warranted a healthy squad before getting the axe.
Any coincidence between the Clippers dragging their feet on their coaching decision and the recent rumors? Seems to me they are trying to get their superstars in a row first and then decide who to coach them. Perhaps they are even doing something unique like allowing the superstars some say in the matter. OK Chris/Dwight, we have candidates lined up, Shaw, Hollins, Rivers, and Scott. Your preference?
Laker counter: We generally do not allow players into such discussions as evidenced by our bi-annual meeting with Kobe (you only earn the right to the bi-annual meeting after 17 years, so DH does not qualify).
No issues – I am not worried. we are Lakers and we have “inherited” the 31 trips the Finals and 16 Rings. There are bound to be more. Just wait. It will be OK.
triangle: We still have those choices.
david h says
all’s quiet on the western front is an expression derived from a movie, a book a happenstance between germany and france during ww1. a long time ago and yet here we are, pretty much filling the empty void caused by all things orlando howard; at least for now.
bugs bunny comes to mind when the expression, what’s up doc fills the void between left and right earlobe. and then there’s that: some misbegotten coach from that dreaded team who just so happens to have one more nba championship then we all know who.
tick tock, tick tock are sounds and expressions to suggest that both all is quiet and the question, what is up leads one to believe or at least hope that laker front office is conjuring up something pretty special for laker nation following; albeit some changes, some minor, some possibly major. something to offset the snake bitten (multiple injury) season we’ve ever experienced in the history of the franchise. so bad that it has traveled across town and into another sports franchise whose name we dare not elicit but is clearly implied. see how i dodged that?
so the aged old question, does older mean wiser? let’s leave that up to the front office and hope that the new best is yet to come. sooner, rather than later. tick tock, tick tock.
Go Lakers !
Trianglefan the Lakers wont sign anybody not named Dwight beyond this season, i like iggy and all but he is not worth slashing our cap space for next summer, either we sign D12 and have another go a it with what we have or if he goes elsewhere move Pau to center and go thru the season with what we would have. It cant be worse than last season, i would not support anything that jeopardize out cap situation on 2014, if Dwight leaves for nothing well lets just go fwd with what we have and take our lumps next season and then go all out on 2014. Cant win every year
good point fern
Lakers can’t take anyone in an S/T as per the new CBA.
That rumor is already out there.
If one was to believe all of these reports/rumors in regards to Dwight, it would seem that he wishes to play anywhere but with the Lakers. And while it’s true that retaining him is looking less in less likely, my wish list still remains intact:
1. Retaining Dwight
2. Retaining E-Clark
3. Signing Wesley Johnson
4. Amnestying Ron
5. Hoping n Praying that, upon returning, Kobe hasn’t lost too much.
Pau’s situation is tricky. If we can receive some valuable pieces (shooters/youthful athletes/a pick) for him without putting too much of a dent in our 2014 Summer Plans, he should be moved. If not, hold on to him.
With the FO insisting that D’Antoni isn’t going anywhere, I’ll stay away from our coaching dilemma. Hopefully, after the coaching carousel plays itself out, a couple of good assistants will be hired to help D’Antoni with 2 of his weaker points. Defense and Player Interaction.
Can someone clarify whether the Lakers can do a sign and trade involving Howrd (or anyone for that matter)? I thought the new CBA prevented teams over the cap from engaging in S/T. However, it would seem harsh if the new CBA limited the Lakers to only two options: either sign Howard long term or lose him for nothing.
They can trade him in a S/T. They cannot accept anyone in a S/T.