Los Angeles Lakers Must Decide Between Dwight Howard And Mike D'Antoni

By Eric N. Ellington
Dwight Howard
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s face it.  Dwight Howard and Mike D’Antoni are like oil and water.

D’Antoni’s seven second-or-less offense doesn’t compliment Howard’s low post game.  If the Los Angeles Lakers decide to keep D’Antoni, Lakers’ General Manager Mitch Kupchak will need to build a roster featuring guards and three-point shooters.

The stubborn D’Antoni, who I considered to be an average coach at best, apparently doesn’t know how to adapt his coaching style for the current players on the roster.  If the Lakers sign Howard to the five years and $118 million max contract, why wouldn’t they want a coach who will maximize Howard’s strengths?

Howard wanted Phil Jackson after the firing of Mike Brown, but his request was vehemently ignored. This is how you treat a your franchise player? I hope not.  Jackson clearly understands the primary advantage of the Lakers — their size.  It’s a really simple offensive concept to comprehend — pound the ball down low to Howard and Pau Gasol, and run the offense through the two seven-footers. And when Kobe Bryant returns to action, hopefully he still will be able close out games when called upon.

If the Lakers truly want to contend for a championship next year, they will need both Kobe Bryant and Dwight. Howard, obviously disappointed, declared this season a “nightmare.” However, he still managed to average 17 points and 12 rebounds per game.  Keep in mind, Howard played with a surgically repaired back and a lorn labrum.

D’Antoni is clearly not the answer.  Not only has D’Antoni never been to the NBA Finals, he had a losing record of 121-167 with the New York Knicks and barely squeaked in the playoffs in his first year with Los Angeles.  Outside his heyday when he coached Steve Nash on the Phoenix Suns, D’Antoni’s gimmick-type offense hasn’t had much success lately.

The most important decision the Los Angeles Lakers will need to make this offseason will decide which direction the team must go.  If I were running this team, I would cut bait with both of them.  Neither bleed gold and purple.  Howard can’t handle the pressure of bringing a championship to L.A. and D’Antoni is not an elite coach.


Eric N. Ellington covers the Los Angeles Lakers for Rant Sports.  Follow him at @EricNEllington

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