Can Mike D’Antoni Turn Laker Nobodies into Somebodies?

Los Angeles Lakers management signed an amalgamation of draft busts, oddballs and extreme long shots this season. Can coach Mike D’Antoni turn the nobodies into somebodies?

The Lakers' free-agent hopes next summer depend on it.

The team's strategic rebuild plan would appear to be fairly simple and straightforward: Keep the books clean for next year. Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol’s contracts expire at the end of the season, leaving the Lakers on the hook only for Steve Nash ($9,701,000), Nick Young (player option of $1,227,985) and Robert Sacre ($915,243).

If the Lakers somehow lure LeBron James or Carmelo Anthony (if they leave their respective teams), Los Angeles will have used much of its cap room and still have a pretty barren roster.

Given all that, the Lakers can use the current season as an extended audition to find useful players for the future at rock-bottom prices. In today’s restrictive financial marketplace, this is an absolute must.

So, just how is Maestro D’Antoni doing with the grand audition process? Well, as the Mamba is fond of saying, it's a process.

Coming on the heels of a wretched loss in Dallas, let's sort through the progress of Los Angeles’ key role players.


Xavier Henry

Henry was the 12th overall pick in 2010, drafted by the Memphis Grizzlies. After a lackluster rookie campaign, he was traded to New Orleans, where he again failed to impress.

By the time the Lakers signed Henry, he had accumulated a three-year average of 4.5 points and 0.5 assists per game. To be fair, he's had some injuries, including a torn right lateral meniscus in 2012.

Opening the regular season with the Lakers, Henry has displayed a hot hand. He's the team’s leading scorer behind Gasol, averaging 12.4 points per game.

Henry came off the bench in the first three g...

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