Lakers fan angst grows as team struggles
by Sam Amick, USA TODAY Sports
With all due respect to Los Angeles Lakers assistant coach Bernie Bickerstaff, this wasn’t the kind of reaction his bosses had in mind when they fired Mike Brown and hired Mike D’Antoni in early November.
After the NBA announced its coach of the month recipients Monday, the award going to the Brooklyn Nets’ Avery Johnson and the Memphis Grizzlies’ Lionel Hollins, there was a groundswell of sarcastic support among frustrated Lakers fans on Twitter for the interim coach who was able to do what this so-called super team was expected to do all along: win. Bickerstaff should have been the pick, they said, in so many 140-character one-liners before continuing to lament the latest disarray in Laker Land.
For those who are counting (and the Laker Nation certainly is), Brown’s 1-4 mark that got him fired was followed by Bickerstaff’s 4-1 record and the 3-4 mark under D’Antoni. Bickerstaff’s work is looking more legendary by the day, while D’Antoni and the club that is his are at wit’s end when it comes to how to make the most of this star-studded group.
How bad is it?
–There’s still no timeline for the return of point guard Steve Nash (broken leg), and the Lakers announced Monday that backup point guard Steve Blake (who has been out since Oct. 30) would have surgery Wednesday to repair a torn abdominal muscle and would be out for six to eight more weeks.
The Lakers’ league-high $100 million payroll and roster with the maximum of 15 players means there’s not much in the way of flexibility, with every move potentially having major financial ramifications when it comes to the luxury tax. Guards Chris Duhon and Darius Morris don’t get it done when it comes to running D’Antoni’s system, and you have to wonder if the team might look to stop the bleeding at the point guard spot. But where to find a tourniquet who can pass and shoot?
The Lakers (before Nash came aboard) were reportedly ready to sign the Toronto Raptors’ Jose Calderon last summer if he was amnestied (which he wasn’t), so one has to wonder if … [For more on Lakers fan angst grows as team struggles under D'Antoni, click here.]