The Los Angeles Lakers have officially announced the hiring of Mike D’Antoni as their new head coach. After a long weekend of negotiating with former Lakers head coach Phil Jackson the deal supposedly fell through, which has Lakers fans devastated.
D’Antoni might not have the 11 NBA championship rings that Jackson has or any for that matter, but he is the right fit and was the next best choice. However, there are still some issues that the Lakers have to deal with.
Despite the Lakers having one of the most talented starting lineups in the NBA, it’s their lack of perimeter shooters and bench production that will be a problem. D’Antoni mastered the pick and roll offense with the Phoenix Suns with Steve Nash and Amar’e Stoudemire, but he also had shooters like Joe Johnson, Quentin Richardson, and Tim Thomas on the perimeter during those years. It will almost be impossible to defend a Nash/Dwight Howard pick and roll offense or even a Kobe Bryant/Howard combo, or a Nash/Pau Gasol combo, and the list goes on. However, it will be up to the Lakers perimeter players to knock down the open jumpers if they want to be unstoppable on the offensive end of the floor.
As of right now the Lakers don’t have many consistent shooters on the floor other than Nash, Bryant, and maybe Gasol. This offense will create many double teams and leave a guy like Metta World Peace wide open from behind the three-point line more often than not, but can he even knock down that shot consistently? He hasn’t proved to anyone that he can, at least not consistently. He has had his moments through the first seven games, but shooting 32 percent from three-point land isn’t the answer. If you watched the Lakers play this season you know that he has missed a lot more than he has made. It has gotten to the point where you can hear fans at the Staples Center groan almost every time he takes an open shot. (Just watch a game with a Lakers fan and see their reaction, priceless.)
The Lakers signed free agent Jodie Meeks this summer because of his ability to shoot from the outside. Although that hasn’t been the case through the first seven games this season, mainly due to his lack of playing time under former head coach Mike Brown. Meeks has only played in five games this season, while averaging just 10.6 minutes per game. He averaged 8.4 points per game last season with the Philadelphia 76ers, playing 24.9 minutes per game off of the bench. In those five games this season he is averaging 3.0 points per game, while shooting just 21 percent from behind-the-arc.
The Lakers also went out and signed Antawn Jamison this summer, hoping to get a veteran scorer off of the bench. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case so far this season either. In seven games Jamison is averaging 3.6 points per game, while playing 16.1 minutes per game. He averaged 17.2 points per game last season starting for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Those are the guys that the Lakers brought in to bolster their bench this season, seriously. They didn’t have the cash to sign guys like Ray Allen, Jamal Crawford, or any of the other free agents that are having great years for other teams off of the bench this season.
So if Lakers fans really aren’t happy about the D’Antoni hiring, think again. It’s not going to be his fault when Metta is clanking three pointers and the bench is getting outscored by 25 points every single night.
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