Mike D’Antoni’s System Becoming LA Lakers’ Biggest Problem

Slowly but surely, Mike D’Antoni’s small-ball system is taking over, and it's becoming the Los Angeles Lakers' biggest problem.

Remember when the Lakers coach talked about running things through Pau Gasol in the low post? Remember when he talked about slowing the pace down?

In a preseason article by Dave McMenamin for ESPN Los Angeles, D’Antoni laughed off the Showtime expectations he voiced when joining the Lakers organization, saying, “I was on drugs back then.”

This time around, he was promising moderation, along the lines of what had worked in the latter part of the season:

We had a good pace, and it was the right pace. Not too fast, not too slow. The biggest thing is we closed out games last year with good defense and guys getting the ball in the right spots. So we'll do that. We'll try to do that this year.

That was then and this is now.

D’Antoni won’t come out and say it in so many words, but he has found a willing crop of disciples in his minimum-salary young gunners, and all of a sudden, “Seven Seconds or Less” is back.

Of course, he won’t acknowledge the old Phoenix Suns label, but you only have to watch recent Lakers’ games to see speed in action and a reliance on shooting over defense.

Against the New York Knicks on Sunday, two recent arrivals from the D-League, Kendall Marshall and Manny Harris, put up 20 shots between them. They combined for 30 points, so what’s the harm?

At the most basic level, the problem can be seen in the loss column.

After falling to the Knicks, the Lakers are in 13th place in the Western Conference standings.

There’s also the fact that pace can be deceptive. The Lakers may look like they’re moving faster, but they’re achieving less. Their offensive rebounding is among the worst in the league, shorte...

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