LA Lakers’ Roster Now Makes Sense for Mike D’Antoni System, So He’d Better Win

Mike D’Antoni’s job will be on the line next season after a wildly disappointing 2013 campaign with the Los Angeles Lakers.

To be fair, D’Antoni was thrown into a tough situation in Los Angeles. Mike Brown was fired just five games into the season, and Bernie Bickerstaff became interim head coach. D'Antoni took over, had to handle Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard on the same roster, and tried to force his run-and-gun offense on an older team that wasn’t built for it.

To make matters worse, D’Antoni didn’t have the luxury of a preseason or training camp before taking the helm in L.A.

After Howard left L.A. for the Houston Rockets this summer, Mitch Kupchak acquired a pair of shooters in Wesley Johnson and Nick Young who will thrive in the team’s up-tempo offense. In addition, Chris Kaman—a serviceable center who won’t demand as many touches as D12—signed with the Lakers to play alongside Pau Gasol.

Young has bounced around the league, but the 28-year-old guard fits right in perfectly with Los Angeles. He’s never averaged less than 35 percent from three-point territory in his six-year career, and he finished last season with 10.6 points per game.

Johnson has just three years of NBA experience, but he’s shown a ton of upside in two seasons with the Minnesota Timberwolves and one with the Phoenix Suns. The freakishly athletic forward can shoot (he shot 41 percent from the field last season) and can defend on the perimeter.

In his 10 years in the NBA, Kaman has averaged about 12 points and eight rebounds. He’s coming off of a season where he shot over 50 percent from the field and close to 80 percent from the free-throw line.

The Mamba will be back for opening night hungrier than ever, and Steve Nash will have more success with Gasol as the featured big man in the pick-and-roll than he did with Ho...

About the Author