LA Lakers: Can a Healthy Kobe Bryant and Mike D’Antoni Coexist?

Without Kobe Bryant, the L.A. Lakers are currently devoid of any superstar, leader or commanding voice in the huddle. Essentially, there are no highlighted players in their scheme. The Lakers roster is filled with unproven young players, older role players or aging ex-stars, none of whom seem to be capable of carrying the load for a newly devised team.

The lack of well-rounded talent is evident.

But that's exactly the situation in which Mike D'Antoni thrives.

His classic system emphasizes quick pick-and-rolls and outside shots. It is often referred to as the "seven-second-and-under offense," simply because the breakneck pace of play results in a quick shot.

Less-heralded players can play their specified roles in this type of system, which is the main reason that the Lakers are overperforming.

And overperforming at 13-16 is a scary thing.

During D'Antoni's tenure in Phoenix, the system prospered because of the team's personnel. It fit the offense perfectly. With Steve Nash, one of the all-time greatest shooting point guards ever, utilizing his vision and passing skills, shooters like Jared Dudley and Raja Bell spotting up and a dominant big man in Amar'e Stoudemire rolling to the hoop, the Suns offense was difficult to contain.

Now, the current Lakers lineup has nowhere near that talent. But the players do fit the scheme.

Point guards Nash and Steve Blake are each sidelined, but when they return, they will utilize their vision and passing ability to orchestrate the offense. Both players can knock down threes at a high percentage. In the meantime, Jordan Farmar has served as a competent replacement.

At shooting guard, Jodie Meeks' repertoire fits the mold for this offensive scheme. He is a tremendous spot-up shooter, as he is scoring just under 13 points per game to go with 41.4 percent shooting from the three-point line. Meeks' career year is largely due to his...

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