Kobe Bryant Might Win His 2nd MVP Award but D’Antoni’s Lakers Are Not Contenders

New Los Angeles Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni spoke of his desire to bring Showtime back to Los Angeles during his introductory news conference, and privately he told players that the team should be scoring 110 points per game.

I'm sure Lakers fans are excited about the offensive potential of the team under D'Antoni. The fact that Steve Nash is one of his true believers and that D'Antoni has apparently already bonded with Kobe Bryant certainly diminshes the pain of failing to sign Phil Jackson for a third time.

Right now Bryant's 26 points per game are tied for the league lead and he is currently the only guard in the NBA who ranks in the top 20 in field goal percentage.

It's reasonable to think that Bryant's scoring numbers will increase under D'Antoni even if his efficiency suffers due to the assumed focus on the Nash and Howard pick-and-roll option.

If Bryant can continue to shoot 50 percent from the field and the Lakers begin to win games under D'Antoni, there is a chance that Bryant can barge his way into the NBA's MVP discussion, but would he be further away from his sixth NBA title?

There was plenty of talk about the Lakers offense under D'Antoni but no one seemed that inclined to discuss defense. And when it was mentioned, Bryant's casual dismissal of the concept echoed D'Antoni's approach for most of his career.

"He said we should be scoring 110 points a game, or something like that," said Bryant, who isn't worried about how the veteran Lakers will play defense. "How many defensive players do you need on one team? At some point, you just throw the ball out there and let us figure things out on our own, which is really what we do best, and that's what we're going to do."

Of course Bryant is correct, and the veteran Lakers are very capable of scoring 110-115 points per game, but eventually they will have to stop someone on defense. So far the Lak...

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