When Mike D’Antoni was doing his introductory press conference, he said he was bringing back Showtime.
Well, from early November to now, the Lakers have been the complete opposite of that. They’ve giving up points like crazy and playing poor defense, and in an instant, Showtime was looking more and more like “What is this crap?”
As of the past two games however things changed.
The Lakers were running a more slowed down game with Kobe as more of a passer, getting teammates involved and making plays. They played team basketball against Utah and Oklahoma City.
As Steve Nash said in an interview, the Lakers are just going out there and playing. Not running a real set offense, but more P&R and distributing the ball actively. We used to see games where Kobe would do more shooting and Nash distributing the ball when the Lakers struggled, but now Kobe is shooting less and Nash is shooting off the ball. I can’t complain about this, but I have to say, I like it and it’s working.
With the Lakers playing like this, they’re a lot more deadly than what they used to do and here’s why: When everyone is involved in the offense, opposing teams NOW have to focus on everyone. Many are used to seeing Kobe go up and force a layup or draw the foul, but now they have to watch for Kobe to distribute and players cutting or Nash preparing to shoot. What the Lakers are doing is what we wanted to see this whole time.
Now comes this question: Ae the Lakers just doing this and ignoring D’Antoni’s system, or did he tailor it to fit the Lakers?
Mike D’Antoni’s run and gun system isn’t a fit for the Lakers’ current roster because none of them – except for Nash – are fit to run fast breaks like that. There’s rumblings that the Lakers are moving away from D’Antoni’s system, which is working, but also word that he won’t change the system.
Something had to change because the Lakers were just playing awful basketball to the point where it was not helping us watching at all, and right now, this looks to be the change that will work.
Whether it keeps up or not remains to be seen, but for what it’s worth, the Lakers are winning. The bench is another story for another day, but until someone constantly stops this, I don’t see the Lakers changing from what they’re doing because the Lakers are more deadly when they’re all involved making plays.