The Lakers are in trouble.
Before the season began I predicted that the Lakers would win the 2013 NBA Championship, boy was I wrong. The Lakers probably won’t make the playoffs at the rate that they’re going. How could this happen? A team with Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, and Metta World Peace added Steve Nash, Dwight Howard, Antawn Jamison, Earl Clark, Chris Duhon, and Jodie Meeks to its roster. That’s an improvement, right?
The Lakers are currently on a three-game losing streak and have won only two of their last ten games. L.A. is twelfth best in the Western Conference, seven games below .500, and five games out of the last playoff spot.
This can’t be life.
The Lakers have battled injury and old age all season but the majority of the blame can be placed on Head Coach Mike D’Antoni. D’Antoni’s lack of defensive acumen paired with his offensive tunnel vision has the Lakers in the cellar of the Western Conference.
Last night in Chicago D’Antoni benched former All-Star Pau Gasol in favor of Earl Clark citing Gasol’s lack of mobility as the reason.
"We just have to do that," D'Antoni told the Orange County Register. "We're better when we're small. It also puts Pau in his natural position. He's one of the best centers in the league."
All this time I thought Gasol was a power forward.
Gasol is not pleased with D’Antoni’s decision and is expecting to be traded before the February deadline.
Center Dwight Howard is also not pleased with D’Antoni. After L.A.’s 95-83 road loss in Chicago Howard expressed frustration with his lack of touches and offered a solution to the Lakers woes.
"Look at the stat sheet," Howard said. "It's simple. Play inside-out."
It’s only a matter of time before Metta World Peace blows his stack or Kobe Bryant throws D’Antoni under the bus.
Things are going to get more difficult for the Lakers before they get better. The team has Memphis, Utah, and Oklahoma City on its schedule this week before embarking on a seven-game road trip. L.A. is 5-14 on the road.
D’Antoni has three years remaining on his contract with the Lakers. It would be a miracle if he made it to next season.