Lopresti: Lakers are a mess in progress
by Mike Lopresti, USA TODAY Sports
Yo, Hollywood. The NBA team down the freeway needs a fast rewrite. This was supposed to be That Championship Season for the Los Angeles Lakers. Instead, they got Titanic.
So who now needs to get written out of the script? Mike D’Antoni? The coach is always an easy edit. Dwight Howard? Something to think about. Kobe Bryant? I suppose it could be done, as long as the Lakers have the National Guard on alert to protect the team offices the next day.
What to do now is a fascinating question, as there is no mess quite like a Lakers mess. They invariably own the basketball headlines, except maybe the day an NBA player comes out and says he’s gay.
You have to go back 46 years to the Lyndon Johnson administration to find the last season this franchise was swept in the first round of the playoffs. It was No-Showtime, and someone has to pay.
A good many Staples Center customers will start with the coach. Here’s what we know about D’Antoni. He ain’t Phil Jackson. Cue the “We Want Phil” chant, which I believe jumped to No. 6 on the Billboard top 100 in the LA area this week.
Here’s what we also know about D’Antoni: He didn’t have a prayer.
Not when the “A” list lineup so eagerly anticipated – Bryant, Howard, Pau Gasol, Steve Nash and Metta World Peace – started seven games all season. And went 0-7. In the end, it was hard to decide which ones were the square pegs and which ones the round holes.
And not when the playoffs arrived, and in lieu of Bryant in the starting lineup, there was a recent member of the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. When everyone envisioned glory for these Lakers, was Andrew Goudelock in the picture?
D’Antoni made his mistakes and was slow to accept what style his team had to play. But he got the job when the Lakers were 1-4, and panic was already in the air. With all the injuries, … [For more on Lopresti: Lakers are a mess in progress, click here.]