Are the Current Los Angeles Lakers the 2011 New York Knicks?
Losing record. Inability to stop opposing teams in transition. Struggling to keep with up teams in division. No PG to run coach Mike D’Antoni’s system effectively. Diva scoring champion who’s game doesn’t facilitate for anyone else. More 3-pointers attempted than any other team in the league. Let’s be frank.
The Lakers fell to a scrappy Utah Jazz team 117-110 yesterday. Again, the Lakers gave up 35 points in the second quarter, falling into a hole they couldn’t get quite out of. The Jazz scored 117 points on the Lakers home floor, controlling the pace, dominating the paint, and out-hustling the seemingly unmotivated Lakers squad. The Lakers now fall to 9-12 for the year, and are currently 11th in the Western Conference right now, giving up 112.8 points a game the last four games.
Kobe Bryant had 34 points, but the Lakers are 1-9 when he scores over 30 points so far this season. Dwight Howard and company are visibly upset, and D’Antoni is clearly pressing the wrong buttons right now. Luckily, we don’t have to look too far back to see how this trend evolves over time.
The Knicks have been the laughingstock of the league for the last decade. Marred by many front office and roster changes and bad contracts, D’Antoni inherited a bad basketball situation. With the acquisition of Amare Stoudamire, the Knicks finally looked competent, and were primed for a high-seeded playoff berth. Against D’Antoni’s wishes, The Knicks mortgaged the entire team chemistry for superstar Carmelo Anthony, and mediocrity came as a result.
He never clearly got a grasp on the many basketball issues the Knicks had last year. The high point of D’Antoni’s tenure as Knicks coach is when Anthony got injured and the short-lived Jeremy “Linsanity” Lin era began, winning seven straight games. Anthony’s return to the lineup ended all the momentum the Knicks had built without him in the lineup, and D’Antoni resigned shortly after Anthony’s return.
D’Antoni record was 267-172 when he arrived in New York, but went 121-167 with the Knicks. This season, the Knicks are now contending for a championship with most the same (if not, older) roster, and the biggest difference with this year’s team is coach Mike Woodson’s defensive philosophy being put into use on a game-to-game basis.
So, what is the best way to sum up the Knicks during D’Antoni’s tenure?
And that’s what the Lakers are to this point: Underachievers.
The underachiever tag may fly for a NBA franchise like the Knicks, but not for the Lakers. The Lakers are the epitome of consistency and until recently, was always in the discussion for contending for a championship. The Lakers’ feverish fan base isn’t used to NOT contending for a title. The Lakers are now 4-7 under D’Antoni, and it’s unsettling that fans and media are not buying into the whole “this will all take time for this to gel” story given D’Antoni’s recent failures as Knicks’ coach.
Ask the Knicksabout giving D’Antoni time. The more time you give him, typically the more of the same underachieving you will see from his teams. It will take a more transcendent player than Kobe (at this point of his career) and reliable shooting reserves to make this train move.
Until then, Ladies and gents, the Lost Angeles Lakers!!!
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