Lakers: D’Antoni Ready To Make Imprint
VIDEO OF THE DAY - Mike D'Antoni
HOOPSWORLD talks to Los Angeles Lakers head coach Mike D'Antoni at the 2013 NBA Summer League.Watch More Video Here
The Los Angeles Lakers are among the teams competing in the 2013 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, which means all of their decision-makers are in attendance including Jim Buss, Mitch Kupchak and Mike D’Antoni.
Robert Sacre and rookie Ryan Kelly (injured) are two of the more noteworthy names on the roster, but Marcus Landry, Michael Snaer and Elias Harris have also played well. Chris Douglas-Roberts, returning for a second stint with the summer league team and training camp with the Lakers, is worth keeping an eye on too.
The summer league roster is being headed up by assistant coaches Dan D’Antoni, Mark Madsen, Larry Lewis and Clay Moser, but D’Antoni has been in the building and around the team, keeping an eye on the group’s progress. HOOPSWORLD caught up with D’Antoni to discuss the team’s summer.
You guys have had a busy offseason, with the additions of Chris Kaman, Nick Young, among others. Can you give us your thoughts on some of the new pieces?
“Well, I’m excited about it. I think that Mitch did an unbelievable job at getting – you know, not with an easy situation – the best available two guys that can really score and play. We got lucky, and I’m really looking forward to coaching them.”
Speaking of tough situations, you were in a tough one last year coming in when the season had already started and all of the injuries you had to deal with, how much are you looking forward to a full training camp?
“A lot. We haven’t had one in about three years with the lockout. So, we’re looking forward to it, and we’ll see what happens.”
Coach, what kind of changes can we expect in the way you guys play next year?
“It depends on the personnel. We’ll try to decide who plays well together. We have certain concepts we’ll keep that we did last year, but it all depends on who you have on the floor.”
The health of Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash is obviously going to be key for you guys, what kind of updates do you have on those two?
“Steve is doing well, getting to be 100 percent. He works so hard it’s unbelievable. Kobe works harder than anybody I’ve ever seen. He’s ahead of schedule, and there’s no doubt he’ll come back.”
As D’Antoni mentioned, the turmoil of last season never truly permitted him to leave an imprint on this team. The 2012-13 roster didn’t support his coaching philosophy and preferred style, but D’Antoni is hopeful a full training camp and the roster improvements can make a significant difference.
Clearly, some changes will need to take place with this team. From a defensive perspective, the 2012 Lakers were only 22nd in the league (surrendering 101 points per game), and that was with Dwight Howard anchoring the middle of the defense. With Pau Gasol, Chris Kaman and Jordan Hill manning the paint, it would be in the Lakers’ interest to consider hiring a defensive-minded coach in order to fill out their staff of assistants. A guy like Kurt Rambis would be an excellent addition, as he was primarily responsible for the defensive schemes as a member of Phil Jackson’s staff.
Offensively, much of it will depend upon the comeback and relative health of both Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash. Gasol will anchor the post, but the Lakers will need to find a way to monitor their aging backcourt’s minutes so they can not only remain healthy but also efficient during their time on the court. The addition of Nick Young should help with Bryant’s usage, once he returns. Young is a scorer that can get white-hot from beyond the arc when on a positive streak.
Jordan Farmar would be another positive addition as a change-of-pace guard that can excel in a more uptempo system, but the Lakers are still in the midst of a complicated buyout negotiation with his Turkish team.
It has been an interesting offseason for the Lakers, but now the team must turn their attention to the 2013-14 season. That starts with seeing if any of the summer league players deserve to make D’Antoni’s roster and don a real Lakers jersey.