Skip to content

Winderman: Lakers latest in trend to go with system regardless of personnel

Nov 13, 2012, 3:06 PM EDT

New York Knicks head coach Mike D'Antoni reacts during the second half of their NBA basketball game against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden in Boston Reuters

The system coaches used to be the minority, it is among the reasons opposing coaches marveled all those years at Jerry Sloan, how his teams did one thing well and did it over and over and over, even after Stockton and Malone left the building.

The rest? They mostly adjusted.

Oh, Phil Jackson was wedded early to the triangle and Doug Moe had his teams pushing the pace long before there were seven seconds or less.

But it used to be that coaches coached to their personnel.

In Los Angeles, Pat Riley was Showtime. In New York, he was slow time.

Now? Now it’s almost as if teams are hiring the system as much as the coach.

The Lakers, for example, opted for seven-seconds or less over the triangle. That had to be the reason, right? Because it would be difficult to find many other reasons to go, especially in their situation, with Mike D’Antoni over Phil Jackson.

The Heat, of course, are now space and pace, although that has as much to do with Erik Spoelstra attempting to maximize his Big Three as being wed to a style.

The Knicks are now iso-Melo after Mike Woodson spent all those years with iso-Joe in Atlanta.

Coaches, of course, have long had their preferences, often scoffing at the gimmicks of others, in their private moments insisting that such styles will never win in the playoffs.

It used to be that a coach would adjust his game plan to his personnel, as opposed to Mike Brown’s ill-fated attempt to foist Eddie Jordan’s spin on the Princeton offense on Kobe & Co.

And Kurt Rambis’ insistence on the triangle in Minnesota hardly earned him any favor with the Timberwolves.

For the most part it is pick-and-roll, after the NBA emerged from its period of motion offense.

Mostly, it is whatever works with whomever happens to be working with the ball at the moment.

Perhaps with D’Antoni’s style, the Lakers finally have their post-Phil fit.

But it’s just odd in what widely is recognized as a players’ league that coaches still insist on trying to make the square pegs fit into their round holes.

Ira Winderman writes regularly for NBCSports.com and covers the Heat and the NBA for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. You can follow him on Twitter at @IraHeatBeat.

Latest Posts
  1. Report: Warriors will keep Gerald Wallace

    Jul 8, 2015, 12:01 AM EDT

    Boston Celtics v Golden State Warriors Getty Images

    Golden State has time to change its mind on forward acquired for David Lee

  2. Report: Heat willing to give away Mario Chalmers and Chris Andersen

    Jul 7, 2015, 11:01 PM EDT

    Mario Chalmers, Chris Andersen AP

    Miami also reportedly talking Shabazz Napier trade

  3. Report: Manu Ginobili getting two-year, $5.7 million contract from Spurs

    Jul 7, 2015, 10:01 PM EDT

    San Antonio Spurs v Denver Nuggets Getty Images

    Sounds as if San Antonio will use room exception on Ginobili, which helps the cause for re-signing Tim Duncan

  4. Warriors could save $48 million with David Lee-Gerald Wallace trade

    Jul 7, 2015, 8:54 PM EDT

    Golden State Warriors v Brooklyn Nets Getty Images

    Even without stretching Wallace, that projects to be about $24 million in savings

  5. Report: Charlie Villanueva gets another minimum contract with Mavericks

    Jul 7, 2015, 7:42 PM EDT

    Dallas Mavericks v Los Angeles Lakers Getty Images

    Villanueva will back up Dirk Nowitzki as floor-spreading power forward

  6. Report: Clippers signing Wesley Johnson to minimum contract

    Jul 7, 2015, 6:46 PM EDT

    Los Angeles Lakers v Los Angeles Clippers Getty Images

    Clippers having a nice offseason – minus that one move that defines their offseason

  7. Report: Alan Anderson signs one-year, $4 million deal with Washington Wizards

    Jul 7, 2015, 6:08 PM EDT

    Brooklyn Nets v Atlanta Hawks - Game Five Getty Images

    The one-year deal keeps their cap space alive next summer to chase Kevin Durant.

  8. Jason Smith reaches one-year deal with Orlando Magic

    Jul 7, 2015, 5:15 PM EDT

    New York Knicks V Philadelphia 76ers Getty Images

    The Knicks and Magic essentially swap reserve centers.

  9. J.J. Redick: Clippers deserve “F” for free agency after losing DeAndre Jordan

    Jul 7, 2015, 4:35 PM EDT

    Los Angeles Clippers v Houston Rockets - Game Five Getty Images

    “Listen, we had one priority this summer, and that was to re-sign DJ, and we missed out on that.” — J.J. Redick on the Clippers summer.

  10. PBT Podcast: Free agency’s winners and losers

    Jul 7, 2015, 3:25 PM EDT

    LaMarcus Aldridge LaMarcus Aldridge

    The Lakers were not free agency losers like some think.

  11. Report: Boston Celtics agree to trade for David Lee for Gerald Wallace

    Jul 7, 2015, 3:06 PM EDT

    davidlee Getty Images

    Look for the Warriors to waive Wallace using the stretch provision.

  12. Lakers anticipate signing D’Angelo Russell in time for Summer League debut vs. Timberwolves

    Jul 7, 2015, 2:44 PM EDT

    Los Angeles Lakers Draftees Shoot Los Angeles Lakers Draftees Shoot

    Julius Randle, L.A.’s first round pick last year, missed the Summer League opener due to a contract issue.

  13. Lou Williams ‘disappointed’ Raptors didn’t want him back

    Jul 7, 2015, 1:05 PM EDT

    Toronto Raptors v Charlotte Hornets Getty Images

    The reigning Sixth Man of the Year signed a free agent deal with the Lakers.

  14. Dwyane Wade cites his scoring average when asked how long he’ll continue to play: ‘I think I’ll stay around a while’

    Jul 7, 2015, 12:15 PM EDT

    wade Getty Images

    Wade was the third leading scorer in the East last season, but missed 20 games due to a combination rest and injury.

  15. Mark Cuban fined $25K for commenting on free agents DeAndre Jordan, Wes Matthews

    Jul 7, 2015, 11:31 AM EDT

    Squawk Box - Season 20 Getty Images

    Teams aren’t allowed to discuss deals during the moratorium period, which is still going on.

  16. Report: Kevin Garnett to re-sign with Timberwolves

    Jul 7, 2015, 10:52 AM EDT

    Kevin Garnett AP

    KG will be back for a record 21st NBA season.

Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. L. Aldridge (4818)
  2. D. Jordan (3653)
  3. W. Matthews (3615)
  4. R. Hibbert (3426)
  5. R. Rondo (3272)
  1. D. West (3271)
  2. J. Lin (2854)
  3. K. Bryant (2823)
  4. D. Wade (2758)
  5. R. Lopez (2703)