One major criticism of Mike D’Antoni‘s coaching style last year was his refusal to give his bench players more minutes. Sure, they didn’t have the greatest amount of depth, but just a few minutes here and there to give a guy like Kobe Bryant a rest could’ve gone a long way.
However, that’s all in the past now and D’Antoni is looking to the future. He likes the depth he has this year and says he can foresee himself using a 11-man rotation next season.
Here’s what D’Antoni said today on ESPN Los Angeles radio:
At the 1 [point guard] there’s a lot of competition. Jordan Farmar’s gonna compete, Steve Blake probably had his best year in a while – he played great last year.
You know, we can play Kobe as a 3 [small forward], we can play him as a 2 [shooting guard], we can play Steve and Steve together, we can play Farmar and Steve Blake together. There’s a lot of combinations that could happen and really the guys that come in and they win the battle, they will settle among themselves.
But I foresee 11 guys playing a lot of minutes and a 11 guys getting involved and 11 guys getting to where we can be more uptempo and put a lot of pressure on teams.
I’m glad that D’Antoni will be looking to give his bench more minutes next season. With the Lakers’ main core all being in their thirties, they’re going to need a lot of rest next season, especially as the “Big 3″ are all coming off injuries.
D’Antoni will have a lot of different line-ups to play around with. For example, he’ll be able to slow it right down with a front-court featuring Pau Gasol and Chris Kaman, or could go really small and run with Jordan Hill at the center position along with a guy like Wesley Johnson or Elias Harris at the power forward spot.
Simply put, the Lakers did a good job of adding athleticism and youth this summer; now they’ve got to go out there and work out a way use it.