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Mike D’Antoni says Lakers will have better chemistry next season (without Dwight Howard)

Aug 18, 2013, 8:00 PM EDT

d'antoni dwight Getty Images

Mike D’Antoni didn’t mention Dwight Howard‘s name once in a lengthy interview with Mike Bresnahan that appeared in Sunday’s Los Angeles Times.

But the implication of what he did actually say was unmistakable.

As you’re likely well aware by now, Howard was never a fit with the Lakers, and in hindsight, there was virtually zero chance of him re-signing to play there under a max contract that would run for the next five years.

The team had to try to retain Howard in free agency, because when healthy, he’s one of the game’s top five players and a complete game-changer on the defensive end of the floor. But now that he’s gone, D’Antoni feels that the sailing may be a bit smoother from a chemistry standpoint next season.

Addition by subtraction? The Lakers can only hope, despite their very public courting of Howard that started a mere eight weeks ago and crashed and burned barely a week later.

“We’ve definitely improved our shooting and I think the chemistry will be better just because the uncertainty has gone away,” D’Antoni said. “A lot of people will know their roles better and what’s going on on the floor better. Dealing with free agency day to day, we won’t have those problems.”

Howard was the one whose free agency was in constant question, and the topic was brought up repeatedly at various mile markers throughout the course of the season.

D’Antoni doesn’t have to mention Howard by name, because it’s obvious the Lakers will be a more harmonious unit without him next season. They won’t be as talented and there will be no championship expectations, of course. But if nothing else, the season should be among the more drama-free that we’ve seen in Los Angeles in quite some time.

  1. money2long - Aug 18, 2013 at 8:16 PM

    watching dwight walk to the free throw was one of the more brutal things last season.

    • money2long - Aug 18, 2013 at 8:23 PM


  2. tampajoey - Aug 18, 2013 at 8:46 PM

    ” the chemistry will be better just because the uncertainty has gone away”… any team Dwight Howard will ever play for will eventually make the same statement when crybaby Dwight starts whining and creating drama.

    • adamsjohn714 - Aug 18, 2013 at 8:56 PM

      The Magic are probably thrilled they aren’t in the playoffs every year. That must be a drag, having to play all those extra games every year. At least they aren’t shouldered with the burden of being on national television anymore, or getting bonuses for postseason play. Clearly players like Al Harrington were much better due to the “chemistry” they helped form. It’s just so unfortunate that the NBA championship isn’t given to the team with the best chemistry. That would be justice.

      • tampajoey - Aug 18, 2013 at 10:18 PM

        I don’t care. I’m not a Magic fan. It doesn’t take a jaded Magic fan to see that Dwight Howard is a crybaby drama queen and a team cancer.

      • adamsjohn714 - Aug 18, 2013 at 10:30 PM

        well this Nuggets fan can easily see that a fantastically efficient big man who dominates the glass and plays great defense outweighs any sort of chemistry issues. They say winning solves everything and Howard certainly helps your team do that.

  3. adamsjohn714 - Aug 18, 2013 at 8:48 PM

    I’m not sure how they became a better shooting team. Apparently losing the guy who’s the best shooter on the team and adding guys who make a significantly lower percentage of their shots improves your shooting. I guess D’antoni knows some secret formula to calculate shooting. That must be it.

    • asimonetti88 - Aug 18, 2013 at 8:54 PM

      When you say “losing the guy who’s the best shooter on the team” I hope you’re referring to Kobe and not Howard. Kobe will not miss too much time so I don’t think it will be that big of a deal.

      • adamsjohn714 - Aug 18, 2013 at 9:02 PM

        well Howard makes 57% of his shots (equaling his career average). Kobe makes 46% (a career high). Howard scored 1.59 points per FGA, while Kobe scored 1.34. Why exactly is Kobe a better shooter? Even in his best shooting season ever, he wasn’t better than Howard’s average. Is it because he takes more shots (sorry, I mean, scores more points)? I’m not picking on Kobe. He had a very good shooting season, well above the SG average, but Howard was a better shooter.

      • money2long - Aug 18, 2013 at 9:17 PM

        howard is a limited shooter. kobe is not. take howard beyond 15-20 feet and then what ? kobe has infinite range, hence the better shooter. kobe has no limitations on where he can make a shot from compared to dwight.

      • adamsjohn714 - Aug 18, 2013 at 9:50 PM

        Kobe is a below average 3pt. shooter for his position. He takes a lot of shots he doesn’t make that often. That’s not being a good shooter. Shot selection is important. Some of it isn’t his fault because he’s a SG and not as tall and therefore less likely to take/make shots around the rim. But this is the NBA, where being tall is helpful. The idea that Kobe is some lethal jumpshooter is plainly untrue.

      • asimonetti88 - Aug 18, 2013 at 11:16 PM

        Having a higher field goal percentage does not equal being a better shooter. This is pretty basic stuff dude…

      • adamsjohn714 - Aug 18, 2013 at 11:42 PM

        Why doesn’t it? Scoring more points per shot attempt makes me think you’re a better shooter. Perhaps you think Kobe is a better shooter because he takes jumpers..? I’m just guessing.

        Steph Curry doesn’t have a great overall fg%, but because he is great at shooting 3s and he takes a ton of them, he has a really high TS%. It has a lot to do with shot selection. Kobe isn’t that good at taking 3s, still takes a lot of them, and he also takes a lot of midrange jumpers, which he makes at a decent clip compared to almost everyone in the NBA, but they are still inefficient overall. Is it because fadeaway turnaround 18-footers are “pretty” that you think he’s a better shooter.

      • asimonetti88 - Aug 18, 2013 at 11:51 PM

        You’re confusing shot selection with shooting ability. You’re telling me that simply because Howard has a higher FG%, you would rather have him than Kobe take a midrange or three point shot?

      • adamsjohn714 - Aug 19, 2013 at 12:20 AM

        I’m telling you that Howard is better at making the shots that he takes. He knows he’s no good at midrange and 3 point shots. He doesn’t take them. Kobe doesn’t know that his midrange game is inefficient offense, and he takes a lot of those shots. Of course I’d rather have Kobe taking those deeper shots (I did say earlier that he just had one of the best shooting seasons of his career, and that he’s not a bad shooter in his own right). Shot selection and shooting ability go hand in hand. I’m not sure why you think they’re separate. Taking shots around the rim is smart. Taking midrange jumpers is dumb. Unless your name is Stephen Curry, shooting 3s off the dribble is usually a pretty bad idea. The data on this has been consistent for a long time. It’s virtually impossible for Kobe to not know this, yet he takes a lot of 3 pointers off the dribble. Heck, he takes a lot of 3 pointers for someone who is below average at making them. Again, this is not an indictment of Kobe, he’s a pretty efficient player (largely due to FTs). It’s largely an argument that shots are shots no matter where they are taken on the court. A layup is a shot just like a 19-footer is a shot.

      • scottheis82 - Aug 19, 2013 at 12:25 AM

        What adamsjohn is doing is sportcenter misinfomation 101,
        compare stats of different positions and different team dynamics. Answer me this if the majority of the offense had gone through a thirty something year old Steph curry or DH was asked to initiate the offense would those stats still hold up?

      • adamsjohn714 - Aug 19, 2013 at 12:38 AM

        What Scott is saying is that you get bonus points on every shot you make based off your age. After you’re over 30 a jumper is worth 2.2 points if you make it. At 35, each 3 pointer is worth 3.6 points if you make it. If the offense is run through you, its an additional 15% bonus to the point values. Honestly, a shot is worth 2 points, and a 3 is worth 3 points. I couldn’t care less about age, situation, or any other extenuating circumstance. You either make or you miss.

        Even if I pretend that what you’re saying isn’t illogical and wrong, Scott, it still wouldn’t be correct in this case. Kobe, for his CAREER, has been about the same as a shooter, if not a tiny bit worse overall, as this past season. No matter the teammates, whether the offense runs through him or not, whether he’s old or young, he’s been fairly consistent. The same goes with Howard.

      • sportsfan18 - Aug 19, 2013 at 10:55 AM

        You two are arguing over semantics. Yes, Kobe is a better shooter than Dwight. Yes, Dwight makes a much higher percentage of his shots than Kobe.

        Yes Kobe is the one you want to take an 18 foot shot between the two.

        For the most part, Dwight plays within himself as he only took six 3 pt shots ALL last yr. He knows he can’t shoot them so he doesn’t.

        But the game doesn’t care who is a better or good shooter. Production and the score board are all that matters. The better shooter doesn’t get more points for a made 2 pt field goal than a bad shooter. The ball has to go through the hoop to put points on the scoreboard.

        Since a game is only 48 mins long and since teams only get right around 81 field goal attempts each game, the player who puts the ball through the basket the best helps his team win even if he isn’t the best shooter. Again, the score board doesn’t care who the better shooter is.

        For the last 9 NBA seasons, Kobe has averaged 20 or more field goal attempts per game,of his teams 81 or so shots per game. Kobe has NEVER averaged even 47% from the field in his career for one one season.

        So, even if he is a better shooter than Dwight, a much higher percentage of his shots (and there are A LOT of Kobe shot attempts each game and season as he’s led the NBA in 6 out of the last 8 seasons in shot attempts including the past 3 seasons) DON’T go through the hoop.

        Being that teams only get so many shot attempts each game, they should want the best looks at the basket and have those who put the ball through the hoop the best to take the most shots.

        Think of running backs in the NFL. If you had a guy who averaged 3.1 yards per rush and one who average 4.9 yards per rush on your team, would you give the player who only averaged 3.1 yards a rush 24 carries a game and only give the player who averages 4.9 yards a rush say 11 carries a game?

        No, they don’t do that in the NFL.

        But in the NBA, volume scorers like Melo and Kobe and others are tolerated and encouraged to keep shooting and getting touches even though they make a far less percentage of their shots than others.

        So even though Dwight isn’t as good of a shooter as Kobe, for his career he puts the ball through the basket 577 times for every 1,000 shots he takes.

        For his career, Kobe only puts the ball through the basket 454 times for every 1,000 shots he takes.

    • sdlakerfan - Aug 18, 2013 at 10:52 PM

      D’antoni clearly meant better outside shooting.

      • adamsjohn714 - Aug 18, 2013 at 11:10 PM

        Well then that’s really sad if D’antoni truly thinks that two well below average shooters (who happen to take a lot of shots they aren’t that proficient at making) are better for the team.

  4. scottheis82 - Aug 18, 2013 at 9:26 PM

    Hey statboy reply back when you’re done googling free throw %, and by the way your name hints toward someone named Adam pissing on you.

    • adamsjohn714 - Aug 18, 2013 at 11:53 PM

      my name is John Adams. It’s not that big of a jump. I assume you intend Statboy to be an insult. It isn’t.


  5. dirtydavis - Aug 18, 2013 at 10:04 PM

    I agree with d’antoni … Gasol is going to improve his stats and maybe be an all star. Come February Gasol is traded to Twolves for K.Love

    • adamsjohn714 - Aug 18, 2013 at 10:06 PM

      The wolves seem to be regressing from last year’s smart moves (though unlucky with injuries) to their more natural stupid offseason moves. That being said, they aren’t dumb enough to make that trade.

  6. raycharlesj - Aug 18, 2013 at 10:07 PM

    It was the Coach that didn’t “fit” last season not Howard or any other player on the Lakers he had hall of famers, allstars and every imaginable role player you can think of and did not know how to use them together. The coaches system was the problem it did not fit his personnel!!!! D’Antoni was trying to play Chinese checkers with chess pieces.

    • imakcds - Aug 18, 2013 at 10:30 PM

      Orlando Fans warned Los Angeles, but we were blinded by the great athleticism.
      Laker Fans now are warning Houston.

    • imakcds - Aug 18, 2013 at 10:40 PM

      before they even played one game, looking at that lineup, the personnel, the Pick and Roll should have been PURE MONEY, Any Time, against Anyone, yet, the Pick and Roll was virtually NONEXISTENT for the majority of the season. Only late in the season did you see some, and it was effective, but still not used extensively.
      WHY was it so rare?
      because Dwight is an athlete, NOT a Basketball Player.
      because Dwight is about Dwight, NOT about team.
      because Dwight refuses to Learn, refuses to improve, and refuses to LISTEN TO THE COACH, which is WHY YOU HAVE A COACH.
      KNOWLEDGEABLE Fans know this.
      REAL and LOYAL Fans know this., and SUPPORT the team, rather than talk Bandwagon Smak.

      • onlyavoice - Aug 18, 2013 at 11:29 PM

        Lip Service, Trying To Blame Howard For His Lame Coaching.
        I Guess You Never Watched D’Antoni’s System Before.
        It Doesn’t Incorporate A True Center.
        Nash Publicly Stated TWICE In Pheonix That He NEVER Played With A True Center (Shaq) & Was Having Difficulties Adjusting (1/2 Way Into The Season).
        Phil Jackson Didn’t Have a Problem & Neither Did Pat Riley.
        Watch The Game, Not The Articles. YOU MAY BECOME KNOWLEDGEABLE.
        Lets Not Forget How Kobe Had To Adjust. At The End He Had Nash Moved To The 2.
        He Had Pau Back In The Lineup (D’Antoni’s Bench Boy) & The Lakers Started Winning.
        Kobe Abandoned D’Antoni’s System To Win (Calling In Plays During The Playoffs Making D’Antoni Look The Fool.
        It Wasn’t Dwight, It Is D’Antoni.

      • badintent - Aug 19, 2013 at 2:15 AM

        So you’re saying Hakeem is wasting his time with Howard ? gotta say that having Ewing and Clifford Ray as his coaches in Orlando did help him learn defense and rebounding. But I agree that the guy has no jump shot, or real hook shot( like Jabbar). Maybe he has Andrew Byrum head disease ( see Jabbar ‘s comments on trying to coach him.)

  7. Terence Guider-Shaw - Aug 18, 2013 at 10:38 PM

    Chemistry will be better once the Lakers get a head basketball coach and not a offensive coordinator. How does this guy keeps getting jobs?

  8. seanpottle - Aug 18, 2013 at 11:03 PM

    I agree with the fact that there both good players no doubt.However, Dwight Howards pitty party all season long killed the lakers chemistry. Also to everyone building Dwight up as if he was better than Kobe here’s a stat for you to remember 5 NBA championships.There are two types of players in sports those with the desire and heart to be a champion as well as, those who don’t.If I havent proven my point yet allow me to elaborate a little bit further if you will allow me. Kobe,gets injured last season on multiple occasions and Dr.’s repeatedly ask him to sit out does he no!!!!Ask your self why and the answer is that he is a leader who sacrifices his body and mentality to endure for the better of the team.On the other hand Dwight, rides the injury reserve every opportunity he got and is always questioning decisions made for the better of the team.News flash Mr. big shot you where wearing a Laker uniform, which means you better bring it every night to earn that respect and ball touches.To be a champion that means you better have some heart for your team,fans,and the instinct to get it done no matter what.We all know the greats get the bling and Dwight, you aint shining like Kobe sir.There’s no denying Dwight has game but, he’s no champion and will never be with that self centered attitude that he deserves respect when he’s never earned his strips.You had a chance to learn under a difficult leader without a doubt in Kobe but,playing with Jordan wasnt a walk in the park either people.In the end its all about results and champions have proven there worth get some Dwight.

  9. golfrangeman - Aug 18, 2013 at 11:06 PM

    Never a top 5 player

  10. onlyavoice - Aug 18, 2013 at 11:35 PM

    I Guess D’Antoni Can’t Say Anything About Melo & The Knicks, LMAO.
    Dwight Bolted On D’Antoni & Queen Nash.
    Melo Will Not Play For Him.
    Miami’s Big 3 Will Not Play For Him.
    Paul George Will Not Sign Either.
    WHO IS TO BLAME?????? Howard, LMAO.
    Who Is The Lakers 2014 Big Name Free Agent Signing???
    None Other Than Old, Broke Down Kobe.
    Enjoy Your New Owner & The Lakers Being At The Bottom For A Long While.

    • themike31 - Aug 19, 2013 at 1:42 PM

      Each Word Is Very IMPORTANT When You Abuse The SHIFT KEY.

  11. scottheis82 - Aug 19, 2013 at 1:11 AM

    I appreciate your knowledge but I respectfully disagree with comparing stats from different players involved with different team dynamics and positions for the same reason that I think it is next to impossible to definitively say who the best player ever was.
    It’s always apples to oranges(what is the league like in that era, who do they play with, what are their teammates strengths.)
    I apologize for saying you’re name hinted towards a urinal or whatever I said…I thought you were trolling.

    • adamsjohn714 - Aug 19, 2013 at 1:18 AM

      It’s all good Scott. I’m enjoying talking basketball. If you don’t want to compare players of different positions, you can always compare them against all Centers and SGs, respectively.

      • loungefly74 - Aug 19, 2013 at 6:31 AM

        you can make the comparison…no issue with that…but realize the statistical errors in your evaluation. simple as that.

      • adamsjohn714 - Aug 19, 2013 at 6:52 AM

        Loungefly… personally I think it’s perfectly reasonable to compare a SG to a Center. Being that an average center is better than an average SG, Howard has a natural advantage (being tall helps a lot). You can take the average productivity of a center and set that as the baseline for evaluating Howard. Then, take the average productivity of a SG (which is less than that of a Center) and set that value to the same baseline, which eliminates the height and position bias. You can quite easily compare all positions this way.

        I’m not sure what statistical errors you’re referencing. I did a tiny bit of rounding in the figures above, but certainly not enough to change the result in any significant way. You can argue that Kobe is a better shooter because he takes all kinds of shots. That’s fine. I’ll disagree with you, and I’ve stated why, which I think is a pretty clear explanation. But nobody can argue that Howard doesn’t make a much higher percentage of his shots and score more points per FGA than Kobe (takes FTs and 3s into account).

      • hoppy88 - Aug 20, 2013 at 2:34 PM

        To even consider a guy who is in the top ten in dunking, and half of their field goal attempts an better “shooter” already proves how much knowledge you have on the sport of basketball… then throw stats around about two totally different positions should of just stopped before you made a fool of youself

      • adamsjohn714 - Aug 21, 2013 at 12:56 AM

        Ok hoppy. Let’s just say Kobe is incapable of getting the quality looks that Dwight creates.

  12. offftheleash - Aug 19, 2013 at 4:32 AM

    @Adamsjohn714; The thumbs down say it all. oh and i have a quick question for you. How many years have you played basketball?

  13. provguard - Aug 19, 2013 at 5:39 AM

    D’antoni go away… Just coach and leave the conversation to someone more with intelligence… Nothing wrong with Howard without kobe… I guess we will find out how the Rockets do…

  14. cubb1 - Aug 19, 2013 at 8:50 AM

    Better chemistry without Howard? Thanks, Mr. Obvious.

  15. boltsup - Aug 19, 2013 at 10:29 AM

    Get pee’d on adamsjohn… Ur wrong with ur premise, let it go

  16. florida727 - Aug 19, 2013 at 10:54 AM

    Blah. Blah. Blah. Dwight’s in a better situation. The Lakers are better off. Let the pissing contest commence.

  17. mogogo1 - Aug 19, 2013 at 11:16 AM

    Beware, Mike D’Antoni: When you promise better results, you’d better be able to deliver. Was Howard a total pain? No doubt. But in the NBA there isn’t a team out there where the coach doesn’t have to deal with somebody like that. And it’s apparent D’Antoni didn’t handle it very well. And if he thinks Howard was the only guy who hadn’t bought into his system, he’s kidding himself.

  18. chris3702 - Aug 19, 2013 at 11:27 AM

    Lakers won’t do much with dantoni as a coach!! Not with aging kobe,gasol and 50 yr old nash Haha!! Oh and when did nash become a Lakers spokesperson he’s only been there a yr and wasn’t even able to play half of the season!

  19. jimeejohnson - Aug 20, 2013 at 9:42 PM

    Lakers are not even the best team in L.A., let alone the west.

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