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Nash says Lakers’ season has been “coach’s nightmare.” Obviously.

Apr 8, 2013, 6:17 PM EDT

Mike D'Antoni, Steve Nash AP

When Lakers’ fans are throwing around blame for the fact the team they thought would be a contender is struggling for the eight spot, pretty much everyone who does not have a first name of Kobe is a target.

But one of the most fired at targets is coach Mike D’Antoni.

D’Antoni’s biggest problem is that he’s not Phil Jackson, who the fans wanted (and D’Antoni gets that). But how much blame can you really throw at a coach brought in eight games into a season where his star point guard was missing the next seven weeks, his star center was moving at half speed due to off-season back surgery, his star power forward missed games due to injury and pretty much everyone has been out for a while?

Steve Nash told Rick Berry on Fox Sports Radio not much in his mind. Via Sports Radio Interviews.

“I wouldn’t say he’s happy with where we are, just because it’s been a coach’s nightmare in a lot of ways. You’ve had a lot of guys either injured for great stretches, unfamiliar with one another, no training camp to really get the necessary hours in and finding our balance and who we are as a team. So I know it’s disappointing for him and frustrating because he hasn’t been able to really have a full shot at it.”

It’s a valid point. You can say D’Antoni’s system doesn’t really fit the Lakers personnel, but is that really on him or management for bringing him in? They knew what they were getting. And D’Antoni has modified that system dramatically — watch the Lakers game against the Clippers and you’ll see they ran a lot of “horns” and not a lot of vintage D’Antoni transition, drag screens and the rest. He’s adapted.

The bigger question for the Lakers: Does a training camp and some health turn this Lakers team into contenders up there with the Spurs and Thunder in the West? Or is it going to take more than that? It feels like the latter to me.

  1. 808raiderinparadise - Apr 8, 2013 at 6:21 PM

    Its *Antoni

    There is no D in LA

    • badintent - Apr 9, 2013 at 3:22 AM

      There’s D in Lala land. It’s called “Matador D”. first Kobe waves at Paul as he goes flying by, then Dwight waves at him as he alley opp passes to Blake..OLE ! And that’s no Bull

  2. mazblast - Apr 8, 2013 at 6:30 PM

    Wrong coach for the players. Wrong players for a title, regardless of the coach.

    Who will take the fall? Probably the coach. Heaven forbid that ownership and the so-called general manager recognize that their put-together-name-parts-and-promise-it’ll-run machine doesn’t work. I’m no fan of D’Antoni, but he didn’t put together the roster and he didn’t have training camp with them. He deserves another year, with whatever roster Short Buss, Mitch Figurehead, and KoMe assemble, then make him the scapegoat.

  3. smoothaswilkes - Apr 8, 2013 at 6:39 PM

    Few things about this post…

    1. Kurt – please don’t lump all Lakers fans in to Kobe’s camp. He bears just as much blame as the rest of the team with his matador defense and continuing to shoot the team out of games. How many times did he roll 1 on 4 or 5 with Dwight and Pau on the court. Plus this ridiculous BS about having to play every minute but more on that in a sec.

    2. D’Antoni’s biggest problem isn’t not being PJ, it’s his too short rotation, letting Kobe run his own minutes, and not being able to motivate the team to play defense for more than one quarter. Does training camp help that? I don’t know, maybe with a new roster, but in my opinion he’s not the guy regardless.

    3. Finally, D’Antoni has not adjusted his style of coaching more so than just letting Kobe run the asylum. And Kobe is the only one not to have altered his style of play, unless you count the times that it’s conveniently selfish to do so. Plus Kobe takes up $30 million next year, so I’m pretty sure that unless everything falls perfectly next season, it’s more of the same.

    Signed,

    Frustrated Lakers Fan

  4. fearthehoody - Apr 8, 2013 at 7:26 PM

    They also edited out Nash’s other quote. “I wish I played for LAs real team, Lob City!”

    • mealticketmission - Apr 8, 2013 at 8:41 PM

      you mean FLOP CITY!

  5. aboogy123456 - Apr 8, 2013 at 7:29 PM

    Most NBA fans are fickle and have very short memory. People are trashing D’Antoni but does anybody remember the offense from last year? It was basically give the ball to kobe and have everybody else watch. They were healthier last year, and they had bynum who is a much better offensive player than Dwight, so why are we not giving credit to D’Antoni for really improving the offense?

    The offensive statistics are clearly better, but numbers aside, when I’m watching the game I now expect them to get good quality shots. Guys are not just watching kobe but rather there is more movement and just a better flow to the offense. D’antoni has also shown that he is not as rigid as we all previously thought, and that he’s willing to change his ways to help the team. Look at how great pau has been playing the last few games. The issue post-phil has always been that pau is not involved in the offense enough, well it looks like D’Antoni is the coach that is finally figuring this out. Ok so he’s not Pop, Doc, or Thibs, but there is a shortage of good coaches in the league today and lakers fans need to be happy that we have one of them.

    • smoothaswilkes - Apr 8, 2013 at 7:43 PM

      you’re memory seems shorter than most. please, Pau is playing better because he’s no longer hurt. i have no idea what you’ve been watching the last two season.

      guys aren’t watching Kobe? didn’t you watch yesterday’s game? it’s not so much watching more so than Kobe running 1 on 4 or 5. Kobe has been playing conveniently selfish as Zach Lowe has pointed out regarding Kobe playing point guard.

      finally, it’s not the offense that is the problem but the defense. unless the team’s defense is played with consistency for an entire game, there is nothing but another four game sweep in their future, that is if they make the playoffs at all. again, i have zero faith that D’Antoni can motivate this team to play that level of defense. Although having a system besides have Dwight cover everyone’s mistakes might help in that regard.

      • aboogy123456 - Apr 8, 2013 at 8:00 PM

        Last year the whole issue was Pau not getting enough touches, do you not remember? During the offseason, Jim Buss was interviewed and he said the plan for the following year was to get pau the ball more. So that was an identified issue. Before pau got hurt, he was publicly complaining about how he’s not getting the ball enough, and if you’ve watched every game since he’s been back, you can see that pau is heavily involved in the offense and the team is better for it. To me, this shows a strength that D’Antoni is willing to adjust his offense to help the team. And let’s not forget that D’Antoni did not have the benefit of a training camp.

        And I agree with you about the defense being a bigger problem but I disagree that it’s about motivation. First, the lakers have very few good defensive players on the team. Motivation hasn’t been the problem on defense either. Nash and Meeks are getting burned badly and the lakers don’t have any perimeter defenders that can guard these point guards. You can’t blame Nash’s lack of defense on effort either, that guy tries his hardest on every play.

        This team has a lot of potential to be a solid defensive team. They have dwight howard (who was injured all year) and they have Jordan Hill coming back next year. I really don’t think it’s a lack of coaching or motivation as much as the fact that they are playing with such a short rotation and they need some help. Bad defenders like meeks and jamison are getting a lot of minutes and everybody is getting tired.

  6. patfic15 - Apr 8, 2013 at 7:54 PM

    Its cool. A few games left and its over.

  7. joshm5683 - Apr 8, 2013 at 8:15 PM

    As a Lakers fan I’ve been very patient with how the season has gone and it really has tested my patience. I also wasn’t 1 of the ones breaking down doors saying they should hire Phil, his last season wasn’t exactly the stuff legends are made of with that playoff exit. You definitely can’t blame that all on Phil, but I do think at that point things had gotten stale.

    Anyways, my biggest gripe with the current coaching situation is that it seems the players haven’t bought in, because D’Antoni is letting the inmates run the prison so to speak. When he says its up to Kobe when he wants to come out if he feels tired, of course Kobe isn’t going to want to come out. D’Antoni needs to tell Kobe when he is coming out. Having a 7 or 8 man rotation for the majority of a 82 game season isn’t exactly a huge benefit for an older team to begin with. I’m willing to live with D’Antoni, but man he does not make it easy to like him.

  8. censormynameandmycomments - Apr 8, 2013 at 8:33 PM

    Since the All-Star break, the Lakers have had a FT advantage of 660 to 393. Without Dwight’s FTAs included they still have a 421 to 393 advantage. They have taken more FTs than their opponents in every game but one since the break. Before the break the Lakers averaged 27.1 FTA/game and their opponents averaged 20.4 FTA/game. Since the break they’ve averaged 28.7 FTA/game and their opponents have averaged 17.1 FTA/game. League average for the season is 22.2 FTA/game.

    Anyone want to argue that the league isn’t doing everything it can to get the Lakers into the playoffs? It’s not the league’s fault that they’ve given the Lakers such an advantage that they still can’t capitalize on.

    • asimonetti88 - Apr 8, 2013 at 9:02 PM

      The Lakers shot 68.8% from the free throw line. The next closest team is Detroit at 69.8%, a whole percentage point better. If the league is trying to get the Lakers into the playoffs by making them do the thing they are absolute worst at, they need to rethink their strategy.

      • somekat - Apr 8, 2013 at 9:10 PM

        not saying I buy in to the theory, but if the league were to try to push the lakers into the playoffs, there isn’t much they can do outside of giving the lakers extra calls. It’s also not all about them making or missing FTs (also, 68.8% of something is better than 100% of nothing). It slows the game down (which the lakers need), it gives them extra possessions, and it takes away the same from the other team

        Again, not saying I buy into the conspiracy theory, but to say it can’t be because the Lakers are a horrible fundamental basketball team is ridiculous. Besides, take Howard off of that percentage, and I am sure it skyrockets

      • asimonetti88 - Apr 8, 2013 at 9:16 PM

        Watching the Lakers, when teams go to Hack-a-Dwight (which, as his stat demonstrates, is the majority of the reason the Lakers get so many FTs), the Lakers’ offense completely crumbles. It may slow the game down, but the Lakers are such a poor FT shooting team it appears to really get in their head and shuts down their offense fairly effectively.

    • eventhorizon04 - Apr 8, 2013 at 10:02 PM

      That means that excluding Dwight Howard’s free throws, the Lakers and their opponents are basically shooting an equal number of free throws per game.

      421 free throws by the non-Howard Lakers to 393 free throws by their opponents looks like a big difference, but if you look closely, that’s a difference of just 28 free throws over 23 games (1.2 per game).

      When the Lakers – excluding Dwight – shoot 18.3 free throws per game, and their opponents shoot 17.1 free throws per game, that looks pretty equal.

      So pretty much the entire disparity comes from Dwight’s free throws. However, it’s tough to blame favoritism for those free throws since many of those free throws were *intentionally* given to the Lakers by their opponents because he’s awful at free throws.

      I’m a big believer that big-market teams are favored over small market teams, and super-stars get more favorable calls than role players – I’m not denying that.

      I’m just pointing out the numbers you provided aren’t that incriminating.

      • borderline1988 - Apr 9, 2013 at 12:55 PM

        “pretty much the entire disparity comes from Dwight’s free throws”

        But discounting Howard’s FTs means fewer possessions for everyone else. So the fact that the rest of the team still averages more FTs without Dwight’s is obviously statistically significant.
        And that still doesn’t account for the drop in FTA for opponents, which is more significant than the Lakers’ increase in FTA.

        I’m not saying I believe in some grand conspiracy orchestrated by David Stern though. At the end of the day, the Lakers get more calls than other teams, mostly b/c of Kobe Bryant.

        There was a coach (I cant remember who – I think Memphis’ coach) who said that it’s not the calls that superstars get, it’s the non-calls for lesser respected players.
        There’s almost always contact when a player drives to the rim, so there is always a basis for those superstar calls. They just wouldn’t call them the other way

  9. somekat - Apr 8, 2013 at 9:07 PM

    Is training camp going to make old slow guys younger and faster? I doubt it

    Mike “No” D’Antoni is an above average coach, with a gimmick system, that does not work with the team he has been handed. Waiting for another year for guys to get older, and slower, is not going to help that.

    Lakers have 2 choices, admit the mistake, move on from him and get a more traditional coach, or blow the whole thing up (this includes Kobe, who is at his best in a half court game), and give D’Antoni the player that fit his system

    • smoothaswilkes - Apr 8, 2013 at 10:05 PM

      D’Antoni has done nothing to show he is “above average”. He seems very average based on his last two stops in NYC and LA. He got lucky and had a perfect system for Steve Nash at his peak.

  10. kb2408 - Apr 8, 2013 at 9:28 PM

    Gotta love the conspiracy theorists. If the NBA was so concerned about the Lakers having success, CP3 would be throwing lobs to D12 right now. Think how much money and publicity the NBA would generate with a Lakers lineup of Kobe, CP3 and D12 vs Miami.

    • borderline1988 - Apr 9, 2013 at 12:59 PM

      Except the league owned the Hornets at that point in time and were trying to sell the team…..they figured that they wanted more attractive assets in return to look more enticing for a buyer (i.e. Eric Gordon, who at the time was looked at as the best young 2 guard in the game).

  11. 00maltliquor - Apr 8, 2013 at 9:33 PM

    I just don’t buy that whole, “everybody’s been hurt” motto. Hell, look at most of the teams in the NBA, they’ve had star/key dudes injured too. Minnasota been hit the worst this year. That team should’ve made the playoffs.

    CHI hasn’t had D Rose allll year and they have a far less impressive team, yet still get it done. IND tpretty much the same without Granger. Philly with(out) Bynum. Spurs and their string of injuries. BOS kinda got a simalar story to us, but their star is gone for the rest of the season. NYK can’t PAY a big to stay healthy to save their lives.

    DAL lost Dirty Dirk for a good chunk, and that affected them, and GSW has a team built around Steph Curry AND Andrew Bogut..’nuff said.

    Some teams have held on to right the ship, others left room for the Lakers to navigate through, but we still couldn’t really manage.

    This has been a really confusing, frustrating season…and it’s on EVERYBODY. Even the great Mamba himself to an extent (a lot of unneccisary hero ball, bad perimeter D). I really still can’t wrap my brain around how, even though our core is older (which ISN’T a bad thing people!! Look at all the past champions, they are almost always at the top of the league in age, check your history!) we still have 4 HOFers and 6 guys on the team that at one point or another been the main guy on their team.

    A pass 1st PG, a all-world defener in the paint AND on the wing, a living legend, and one the the most skilled bigs the game has to offer. I don’t think I’ll EVER have a real answer for wtf happend this year, but….IT STILL AIN’T OVER!!! LAKESHOW baby! Let’s get that 8th!!!

  12. cranespy - Apr 8, 2013 at 10:00 PM

    Absolute best thing that can happen to the Lakers…..finish in 9th……be done with it……make a few tweaks to the roster….get EVERYONE healthy…..a full camp with Coach D and them back next year for one last title chase with Kobe.

  13. progress2011 - Apr 8, 2013 at 10:27 PM

    Phil Jackson stated in his book………..”UNCOACHABLE” !!

    • musician0785 - Apr 9, 2013 at 12:45 AM

      and then he went on to coach him to 2 more titles…go away tool

      • badintent - Apr 9, 2013 at 3:26 AM

        The quote was made after the Lakers won their last title under Zen Master , the following season when Shaq whinned that Kobette had “Hijacked the offense”

  14. musician0785 - Apr 9, 2013 at 6:38 AM

    the book with the quote in it came out in 2004, Phil’s last championship was in 2010……

  15. paulhargis53 - Apr 9, 2013 at 8:29 AM

    Who cares if he was uncoachable in 2004 or 2010?! The Lakers F-ing stink in 2013!

    • omniusprime - Apr 9, 2013 at 8:51 AM

      Hey Pauline Haggis, what really sucks is your Ancient Celtics team of deadbeats. You’re just jealous that Kobe won 5 championships for the Lakers while your Sergeant Sad Sack and The Lie won only one, and only because the Lakers were missing Bynum. What really sucks is your franchise that has to live on past glory instead of what they’re doing lately.

      Your pathetic ancient geezer team only gets into the playoffs because they are in the Eastern Cream Puff Conference, they wouldn’t win as many games if they had to play in the much tougher Western Conference. The Lakers have the same record as your garbage boyz, so if the Laker’s stink then so does your own team.

      • loungefly74 - Apr 9, 2013 at 9:03 AM

        (prime getting straight to the facts!)

        great question, PH…how do you feel about the C’s this season? i’m always forgetting that they are your team. ya know, when the Big 3 got together…i was thinking at least 2 titles…well, 1 title is great…though it has now come to the point (i believe a Title gives that team a 5 year-grace period) where its been a while…and they need to win again.

      • scalfor3 - Apr 9, 2013 at 2:38 PM

        Loungefly: Lets take a look back at the Big 3 era.
        2008: Won the championship convincingly.
        2009: Lost KG (and any realistic hope at repeating) to injury
        2010: Made it to the finals, took the favored Lakers to seven games.
        2011: Lost to Miami in the second round. Gave it a good fight despite having no healthy bigs and Rondo playing with one arm
        2012: (year 5 of a 3 year plan) Took heavily favored and eventually NBA champs to seven games.

        So, looking back at the C’s recent history. Yeah, I wish they had gotten that second ring. However, I dont think any Celtics fans feel cheated by this era. It’s tough to ask for much more from those teams, especially when age and injuries are factored in.

  16. loungefly74 - Apr 9, 2013 at 8:56 AM

    …just hoping they can make the playoffs…

  17. omniusprime - Apr 9, 2013 at 8:59 AM

    The Laker mismanagement and their deadbeat coach Dumbtoni both deserve the blame for ruining the season for us Laker fans. Clueless Jerky Boy Jimmie should have shown more patience and reverence for Phil Jackson and given him more time to land the greatest coach of all time for a third run. Really stupid to rush out and get Dumbtoni who just wasn’t the right coach for the Laker personnel.

    Dumbtoni came in and tried to fit the team to his worthless small ball system and fort the whole season he has done nothing but alienate great players like Pau Gasol. Look at how well Pau and Howard play together, how stupid to not have them on the court at the same time.

    The other nightmare for us Laker fans has been the worthless excuses for point guard in Ancient Trash Nash and Steve Flake, both deadbeats being injured was actually a blessing so younger players could get more playing time. Nash is too old and too much of a liability on defense, Flake is just incompetent.

    Thanks Dr. Buss!!! Fire Dumbtoni!!! Trade Trash Nash and Steve Flake!!! We Wanted Phil!!!

    • loungefly74 - Apr 9, 2013 at 9:04 AM

      big changes will happen next season. mark my words.

    • scalfor3 - Apr 9, 2013 at 2:24 PM

      Do you ever get bored of typing up the same comment every time there’s a Laker-related post here?

  18. paulhargis53 - Apr 9, 2013 at 10:28 AM

    Dummy: I’m not jealous one bit, why would I be?
    Are you really going to blame injury for a loss? When the following year Perkins was out, you know, a huge part of their defense that year? Oh wait, you laker fools blame injury on everything…

    Living on past glory?! Are you F-ing serious!!! Your fanbase is the FIRST one to dust off trophies when season’s end w/o a title. Check any post to Orlando fans, or better yet, check the Clippers threads recently.
    I only bring up 17>16 to put you laker tools in your place, which is ALWAYS as the Celtics little brother.

    Speaking of the past, its been 3 years since L.A. even sniffed the WCF, talk about irrelevant.

    The big difference here S.F.B is this.

    Boston fans didn’t proclaim 70 wins and a trip to the finals like your fanbase did prior. to the season. The goal for Boston was always to just get to the playoffs.

    WE WANT DRAFT PICKS!! GOOD RIDDANCE DR. BUSS! RIP LAKERLUVER!!
    KOBES DONE WINNING TITLES!!
    LETS DUST OFF OUR TROPHIES!!

    You’re just as big an idiot as lakerslurper, congrats on that….

    • borderline1988 - Apr 9, 2013 at 1:10 PM

      It always gives me a good chuckle when Celtics fans blame their team’s descent on Perkins’ exit…the guy can’t do a thing besides guard other slow bigs one on one. He is good for guarding Dwight and Bynum. Otherwise, he’s an overpaid plodder who would get torched playing against the current version of the Heat (oh ya, that happened last year!).

      I wouldn’t trust him against the Knicks either, even though Tyson Chandler never takes a shot from more than 3 feet away from the basket. He’d get slaughtered in the pick and roll with Raymond Felton.

      Obviously the Celtics initially lost the trade b/c Jeff Green had that heart condition. But looking back, Jeff Green is turning out to be a much better player.

  19. mazblast - Apr 9, 2013 at 10:39 AM

    The Lakers shouldn’t worry. I can see David Stern rigging the lottery again, should the Lakers be part of it. So, either they make the playoffs or “miraculously” get the top pick.

    • powerpc20 - Apr 9, 2013 at 6:13 PM

      The Lakers don’t have a pick in this year’s draft. It’s playoffs or nothing for them. Orlando is set to get the first pick, as consolation for losing Dwight, the same way the Cavs were compensated with Kyrie after losing LeBron.

  20. paulhargis53 - Apr 9, 2013 at 11:26 AM

    mazblast. That will be a flat out miracle.
    If they are in the lottery, the pick goes to Cleveland, if they are out, it goes to Phoenix….or vice versa. Regardless, they traded away this year’s pick, and a few more in coming years. Pretty shortsighted.

  21. paulhargis53 - Apr 9, 2013 at 12:25 PM

    I should have said the Celtics goal was to get to the playoffs… and see what happens. Boston is battle tested and will be a tough out. Most likely Miami comes out of the East though.

  22. paulhargis53 - Apr 9, 2013 at 1:51 PM

    border: Nowhere in my post did I “blame the Celtics descent” on losing Perkins.

    What I did say was that the dummy up above blamed a Lakers loss on Bynum being out, when 2 years later in the 6th game Perkins WAS INJURED. Who would he be guarding….wait for it….Bynum. I was not talking about the trade whatsoever.

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