The Lakers have several things working for them. Firstly, the entire starting line-up is healthy, which is a very rare occurrence. Secondly, Kobe Bryant has significantly altered his playing style to accommodate Dwight Howard and to distribute the ball better among the rest of the team. Thirdly, Pau Gasol now comes off of the bench, which adds the depth to the Lakers bench, an element they desperately needed. Lastly, Earl Clark was added to the starting line up to bring youth and energy.
However, the biggest change the Lakers made was ditching Mike D’Antoni‘s ill fitted offensive system.
The Lakers have put Bryant at the point guard position to put an end to the disgraceful losing streak. The Lakers can’t make D’Antoni’s system work because they don’t have the time or the energy and so, they’ve finally changed the system to find their strengthens and needs.
Dwight Howard told ESPN that sometimes the team has to take charge:
“We listen,” Howard said. “But we’re the guys out there playing. We see things that sometimes the coaches may not see. We’re an opportunity fastbreak team right now because we don’t have a lot of speed. When we get the ball in the half court, we still can move and do all the things out of the offense. He wants us to stay spread, which for the most part we do.”
Although Bryant is one of the best shooting guards to ever play the game, his experience, skill and will make him the natural choice for playmaker on this squad. The point guard position gives him the opportunity to do what he does best: control the ball.
During an interview with ESPN, D’Antoni finally admitted his offence had been beaten, “This is easier than the other way. This is much easier, I think. This is great. I hope he’s having fun, that’s the biggest thing and understanding this is the way to go.”
D’Antoni explained to ESPN that the Lakers have an All-Star team complex:
“Have you ever watched an All-Star game? It’s god-awful,” D’Antoni said. “Everybody gets the ball and goes one-on-one and then they play no defense. That’s our team. That’s us.”
Bryant has no issues being removed from his regular position. After beating the Thunder, Bryant told USA Today that, “It feels good to finally beat a team that’s worth a (expletive).”
D’Antoni added, “I think he’s happy as hell.”