The 2013-14 NBA season has been anything but favorable for Mike D’Antoni and the Los Angeles Lakers. The nightmare began last summer, when Dwight Howard announced he would not resign with LA, but instead join the Houston Rockets. With one of the best centers in the league on his way out, the Lakers were facing an uphill climb to the 2014 postseason.
Fast forward a few months and 51 games, we are left with a Los Angeles team gasping for every breath. Kobe Bryant‘s return from a torn Achilles ended faster than it began, as a knee injury has sidelined the future Hall of Famer for nearly two months. To pour salt on an open wound, Pau Gasol strained his groin a few games ago and will likely be out until after the All-Star break and maybe even until March.
With both superstars set to return sometime in the next month, D’Antoni and the Lakers haven’t exactly put themselves in a prime position and the duo’s anticipated return might already be meaningless. By meaningless, I mean the team has no shot at making the playoffs. They even boosted my theory Sunday when they lost to the Chicago Bulls, 92-86. Los Angeles’ starters combined for a grand total of 24 points. That right there alone is enough, in my opinion, to fire D’Antoni, but let me make it more amusing for you. As if the starters weren’t embarrassed enough, the Laker bench combined for 62 points, behind Chris Kamen’s double-double of 27 points and 10 rebounds. May I ask why Kamen is not starting?
I know that D’Antoni has had plenty of injuries to deal with this season, but right now he has his team at a pitiful record of 18-33, 12 games behind the eighth place Dallas Mavericks. The Lakers have a terrible record, their two best players injured, continue to fall far from postseason contention and D’Antoni rather start Ryan Kelly or Robert Sacre over Kamen. If your four bench players combined for 62 points, nearly triple that of the starters’ output, wouldn’t you think those four should be the starters?
At this point, I have no idea what D’Antoni or GM Mitch Kupchak are thinking. Nothing has been done in an attempt to better the team. No trade or free agency signing has even made it to the table. It appears Kupchak is perfectly fine with letting D’Antoni continue to chase talent away from the franchise and run it straight into the dirt.
It is safe to say that this season is a total loss for the Lakers. The organization has already looked passed this season and into 2014 free agency. I will say this, if D’Antoni does not become a free agent this summer or preferably within the next two months, next year won’t be much better for Laker Nation.
Shane Phillips is an NBA Writer for RantSports.com. Follow Shane on Twitter @ShaneRantNBA, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also email Shane at ShaneRantNBA@gmail.com.