Why Lakers Roster Will Dictate Mike D’Antoni’s Future in LA

Mike D’Antoni will head into the 2013-14 season with a Los Angeles Lakers roster that will determine his fate in the City of Angels.

The Purple and Gold struggled in 2012-13 under the tutelage of D’Antoni despite having four potential Hall of Fame players on his roster. The Lakers won 45 games and were swept in the opening round of the playoffs.

To be fair, Los Angeles was simply decimated by injuries. Steve Nash missed 32 games while Pau Gasol was out of the lineup for 33 contests. Also, Jordan Hill was sidelined for 53 games while Dwight Howard and Metta World Peace were forced to sit out a combined 13 contests.

Furthermore, Kobe Bryant was lost toward the end of the regular season to an Achilles tear. The less-than-stellar health certainly serves as a legitimate reason for the team underachieving in D’Antoni’s first year in Los Angeles, but there is more to it.

Indeed, the coaching staff struggled to pair Howard and Gasol together, relegated Nash to a role of spectator, and may have run Bryant into the ground with an incredibly large dose of minutes.

Put all of those factors together, and the three-time Defensive Player of the Year in Howard—as well as Gasol—had the worst player efficiency rating (PER) since his rookie season in his one campaign under D’Antoni.

Nash was also a victim of the coaching. His PER figure in 2012-13 was the lowest he had produced since the 1998-99 campaign. One might be tempted to say this was a result of his age, but that is not entirely accurate.

His shooting was on par with some of his best seasons, and his rebounding was just as steady. He has never been a strong rebounder, but his numbers remained consistent with his career averages.

The decline in his production was a byproduct of the fact he no longer ran the offense. In previous seasons, Nash was the maestro and thus dictated the direction of ...

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