Jul 21, 2013, 5:00 PM EDT
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.
Several times last season, D’Antoni paraphrased Winston Churchill in describing his approach to the Lakers’ ups and downs, “When you’re going through hell, you put your head down and keep going, and that’s what we’re going to do.”
The pressure of a $100 million payroll that was built to be a contender and was struggling just to play .500 ball was persistent and intense. The Lakers are hoping that [Dwight Howard]’s departure will perhaps act as a sort of pressure release valve heading into the upcoming season.
“Expectations should be lower and I think that will ease the pressure on him,” said a source familiar with the Lakers front office’s thinking.
Never mind the fact that D’Antoni took over the team five games into the season after the unexpected yet deserved firing of Mike Brown, who had spent all of training camp trying to install a complicated offensive system that the players seemed to resist.
In addition to trying to right the ship once the season had already started, the injuries suffered by the Lakers reached comical levels before things were through, and the constant lineup shuffling made it impossible to see what D’Antoni might’ve been capable of without his best players available to play together for anything more than very small stretches.
None of that stopped the constant and scathing over-analysis, however, and as Howard will be the first to tell you, it was anything but fun to be in that situation.
There will be no intense pressure to win night in and night out, and the scrutinization of the team’s shortcomings by the media will be minimal, at best. If next season does indeed turn out to be a disaster, the blame will firmly be placed on D’Antoni’s shoulders. But no matter how it all plays out, he’ll be able to say that at least this time, he was given a fighting chance.
Sep 16, 2014, 8:33 PM EDT
Germany qualifying for the Olympics, even with Nowitzki, is an uphill battle.
Sep 16, 2014, 7:23 PM EDT
It seems fitting.
Sep 16, 2014, 5:59 PM EDT
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Sep 16, 2014, 5:20 PM EDT
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Sep 16, 2014, 4:40 PM EDT
We’re sorry to do this to you.
Sep 16, 2014, 4:19 PM EDT
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Sep 16, 2014, 3:17 PM EDT
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Sep 16, 2014, 2:33 PM EDT
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Sep 16, 2014, 1:50 PM EDT
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Will the Suns take advantage?
Sep 16, 2014, 12:33 PM EDT
Mavericks star could help Germany qualify for 2016 Olympics
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No. 1 and No. 2 picks in the NBA draft square off against each other, expectations
Sep 16, 2014, 11:00 AM EDT
Williams, who plays both forward positions, now favorite to replace Josh McRoberts in starting lineup
Sep 16, 2014, 10:00 AM EDT
Plenty of changes, but enough to make the playoffs?
Sep 16, 2014, 9:30 AM EDT
San Antonio already has 17 players, qualifying offer out to Baynes
Sep 16, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT
Bill Duffy: ‘Klay Thompson right now is the top two-way, two-guard in basketball’
Sep 16, 2014, 8:30 AM EDT
Deron Williams opening the season healthy would be huge… but just the start of what they need from him.
Sep 16, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT
Ingles excelled in World Cup, completes dominoes set in motion by Jared Dudley trade
Sep 16, 2014, 12:30 AM EDT
You won’t see this for the Americans’ gold medal
Sep 15, 2014, 11:40 PM EDT
Forward from St. John’s went undrafted
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