Flawed Roster, Not Mike D’Antoni’s System, to Blame for Lakers’ Struggles

In an article detailing the sideshow that is the Los Angeles Lakers, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports pinned much of the blame on Mike D'Antoni's system and the coach's inflexibility.

Wojnarowski also opined that it was folly for Jim Buss to believe that the middle-aged Steve Nash could run such a system as he once did: 

Buss passed on the Lakers' glorious championship legacy to attach his franchise to the desert mirage of D'Antoni and Nash, a reunion tour born of a one-dimensional, gimmick offense and a point guard pushing 39 years old.

While I would agree that fans and team alike vested too much faith in a 39-year-old point guard, I believe that the D'Antoni blame has been misplaced and outsized. He certainly hasn't done a great job with this roster, but the bigger issue is that no coach could elevate this team to preseason expectations. 

The Lakers season was dead on arrival. They needed Dwight Howard to be healthy to even have a shot at contending, and Howard clearly hasn't been the same since back surgery.

This already average defensive team added non-defenders in Nash and Antawn Jamison to the mix, and with so many slow perimeter defenders, it was imperative that a fully healthy Howard clean up the mess.

The Orlando Magic were equally average on defense last season, while Dwight struggled with back issues en route to his ultimate shutdown. There was already precedent for a compromised Howard not saving a defense. 

And make no mistake, Dwight is a lot worse than he was injured, pre-surgery with the Magic. He has his moments, but he lacks the range and mobility that made him the league's unquestioned top defender in years past. 

Compounding the problem is that Howard is a center playing alongside another center in Pau Gasol. Gasol has also been slowed by injuries and D'Antoni certainly hasn't managed him we...

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