Mike D’Antoni Keeps Throwing Lakers at Wall, Waiting for Some to Stick

The Los Angeles Lakers visited the Mile High City Wednesday night—another opportunity for coach Mike D’Antoni to throw players against the wall, waiting for something to stick.

When it was all over, the Denver Nuggets had a much-needed win, laying claim to a 111-99 victory. It was the first consecutive win for Denver this season.  

The matchup was notable on both sides for absences and revolving doors. The Lakers are still without Kobe Bryant, whose timetable for a return remains unsure. They’re also without the services of the league’s oldest active player—Steve Nash, out for at least two weeks with recurring back issues.

On the Denver side of things, Brian Shaw was facing the Lakers for the first time as a head coach. Shaw replaced the much-beloved George Karl this season. On the floor, the Nuggets are without starting center JaVale McGee due to a left leg stress fracture. Also, Danilo Gallinari continues to rehab from a left ACL knee injury.

The Lakers came into Denver on a back-to-back, having beaten the New Orleans Pelicans Tuesday night. For a Lakers team that has tossed an astounding number of starting lineups onto the court this season, it’s a question of what’s working and what isn’t. No team has had more starting lineups—six, matched only by the Bucks. None of the Lakers starting lineups have a winning record so far.


Emerging Stability for the Bigs?

Pau Gasol is one of two Lakers to start every game so far this season. This isn’t surprising—D’Antoni knew early on that his only set positions were Gasol and Nash. Obviously, the latter part of the question went right out the window.

Gasol hasn’t been the dominant force many were hoping for during Bryant’s absence. There’s reason for hope, however—he’s averaging a quiet double...

About the Author