What Mike D’Antoni, LA Lakers Must Learn from Steve Nash’s Phoenix Suns Career

Steve Nash achieved greatness while with the Phoenix Suns, something Mike D'Antoni and the Los Angeles Lakers seem to have forgotten.

These Lakers are about as complex a convocation as Nash has ever played for—and D'Antoni has ever coached—but there's success to be found by living in the past.

With so many weapons, Los Angeles should, in theory, embody D'Antoni's the "ball finds energy" mantra. But it doesn't. Not entirely.

The Lakers rank third in possessions used per-48 minutes (94.6), but just 17th in assists per game (22). As a faction that houses the playmaking abilities of Nash, that's forever disconcerting. It's also fixable.

What troubles me most about Hollywood's offense doesn't stem from the team's decision to play Nash off the ball more. He's a phenomenal shooter who is currently hitting on 52.1 percent of his attempts from the floor and 43.8 percent of his deep-balls. Utilizing that touch more than normal is actually encouraging and thus, makes it easy to overlook the fact that he's posting the lowest assist percentage (35) in over a decade.

Where Los Angeles can improve is in its general ball-movement. Isolations shouldn't be a fixture, pick-and-rolls should. Right now, they're not.

Per Synergy Sports, the Lakers rank eighth in points scored per possessions (1.03) by the roll man and fifth (0.82) in points scored by the ball-handler off pick-and-rolls. That said, pick-and-rolls account for 17.4 percent of the team's offensive plays while isolations and post-ups account for 24.9.

No one's asking Los Angeles to run like Nash's previous Suns teams did. And no one's imploring them put the ball in Nash's hands as much either. What needs to be demanded of this offense, however, is ball movement, specifically pick-and-rolls.

It was those Nash-fueled pick-and-rolls that helped Amar'e Stoudemire become one of the most dominant big men in the game....

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