D’Antoni Drinking From Kobe’s Full Cup

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HANG TIME, Texas – It turns out Kobe Bryant isn’t the only one thinking the experts will be eating crow when he and his teammates report for duty in the playoffs next spring.

While he isn’t quite cackling on national TV with Jimmy Kimmel, coach Mike D’Antoni insists that the Lakers can improve on their 45-37 record from last season. At least that’s what he told Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times:

“I don’t see why not,” he said. “I think we can be better because I don’t think we reached our potential last year. Our lack of defense came mostly from lack of energy from guys that didn’t feel right in their place on the team. Defense is energy, concentration and the desire to do it.

“If something is sapping that energy — distractions, injuries, not feeling good about the team — then you’re not going to put your heart and soul into it and it comes out on the defensive end. They just didn’t feel each other.”

It’s a simple recipe, really. You simply subtract a seven-time All-Star, three-time Defensive Player of the Year, five-time NBA rebounding leader — including last season when he wasn’t fully fit — and the kumbaya spirit of cooperation lifts the entire boat.

Of course, D’Antoni didn’t mention Dwight Howard by name and we think that’s a good thing, since there has been far too much dredging up the pains of the past by everyone in the Laker organization from team president Jim Buss down to the valet parking attendants at the Staples Center. It is time — way past time, in fact — for the Lakers to move on and part of that has to be adopting the old Stuart Smalley from the long ago days of Saturday Night Live: “We’re good enough.”

Can the Lakers be good enough in a Western Conference where they had to go to the final night of the regular season in 2012-13 to finally secure the No. 7 spot in the playoffs and where Houston (with Howard) and Golden State (with Andre Iguodala) would clearly rank ahead of them now in the pecking order. Then there’s the matter of teams such as Minnesota, Portland and New Orleans coming up from behind. The Timberwolves are rebounding from a season fraught with injuries, while the Blazers and Pelicans have made moves to improve their talent.

The Lakers still have the biggest question mark in the league on their side of the ledger, wondering when — and really if — at age 35, Bryant can return to his Black Mamba form. Until that time, they must rely on 39-year-old Steve Nash and 33-year-old Pau Gasol  to carry the load with aging bodies that both broke down last season. D’Antoni’ said he believes that Nash and Gasol will be 100 percent healthy heading into training camp, but this is certainly a time, for their own good and that of the team, that their minutes will have to be monitored closely and likely limited. The defending Western Conference champion Spurs have been able to get away with fewer minutes from Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili because young guys such as Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green are rising through the pipeline. That’s not quite the case with the Lakers, whose offseason additions have been Nick Young, Jordan Farmar, Wesley Johnson and Chris Kaman.

D’Antoni says he’s not going into the season looking over his shoulder in terms of his job security, especially after surviving a summer of blood-letting in the NBA coaching ranks.

“I’m sure it’s out there. If you don’t win, it’s there,” he said. “If you’re coaching in Fort Wayne, it’s going to be the same thing. I think the Lakers are a special case because they’re the No. 1 team that’s on ESPN. You just do the best job you can do and go on. If you get caught up in what they’re saying, you can’t do your job.”

Then he mentioned his peers in what was a surprisingly cranky, impatient off-season.

“Look at what happened to coaches this year. Eleven get let go. And three or four of them had the best years the franchise has ever had,” D’Antoni said. “So who am I to say they’re treating me bad? What about all those other guys?”
D’Antoni never feared for his job security despite the first-round playoff flameout.

“No, because Mitch [Kupchak] and Jim Buss were really supportive and great,” he said of the team’s front-office executives. “I couldn’t ask for anything better from the staff and franchise. I don’t want to be flippant, but you also have to have an attitude of, ‘To hell with everything. Concentrate. Go forward.’ You can’t get distracted by the noise.”

73 Comments

  1. B says:

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! No.

  2. b-rad says:

    Lakers will struggle to make the playoffs. Maybe they can slide in at #8 but I doubt it. They r too old and D’antoni is the wrong coach for that group.

  3. sanjay says:

    just blaming the coach for all lakers issues is wrong. The last games of the season proved that D’antoni can infact play inside game and also a decent defense. Dint the lakers make the play offs without kobe? Lakers were not in sync last year at all with all those new players and injuries. This year it looks no better come to think of it. kobe cannot score 50 points every night anymore. Lakers need young players like leonard, gary n green from spurs. Who were biggest gain from the finals despite the heart breaking loss. The spurs aint going anywhere this year as well. The okc’s are back, houston is also in the mix, so is golden state, memphis and even clippers! And it will be a dog fight for 7 and 8th positions as well!

    So no body would be surprised if lakers are blown away this series too! They just making play off and being blown away in the first series itself wont bode well as well in this economy, when players are payed out in millions and city is broke!!!
    Good luck lakers. I rest my case!!!

  4. Josh says:

    D’Antoni is a great regular season coach whose teams don’t win championships. Just like Mike Brown. Lakers will make headlines, Spotscenter and vacation reservations come playoff time.
    Btw, I’m a 30 year Laker fan

  5. Stephisbeast says:

    Someone save this and show it to him when the season is over.

  6. kobe ballhog says:

    its not the coaches fault the greatest ballhog ever is destroying the whole lakers team even wanna be selfish and still get his 30 million a year salary, wont even budge to lose a few millions what a ballhog on and off the court.

  7. Little Teapot says:

    No matter how bad D’Antoni makes it, it won’t surprise me.

  8. Mike Brown says:

    Dumbtoni, we already had a BIG surprise last year when they hired you and you turned out to be a clueless coach. You mean this year Lakers won’t even make it to the playoffs? That won’t be a surprise…

  9. Tom says:

    Lose Dwight and Metta and you think your D’s gonna improve…. Lakers are gonna be a lottery team next season with close to league-worst defence.

  10. Kobe-Lebron-Carmelo-Pau-Rajon@LA says:

    He can do now his work because the subtrahend in now gone.. Thanks for leaving and you helped LA so much for leaving..

  11. David says:

    Same situation to 2005 season and Kobe isn’t in his prime anymore. It looks like the Lakers hardly get to playoff.

  12. noyb says:

    D’Antoni is just not a good fit for LAL’s aging roster. No way Kobe, Pau and Nash can run up and down the floor all game long without more major injuries this year. NO WAY. And Jim Buss is NOT the leader his Dad was. Jeanie should be running the ENTIRE show, not just “business”.

  13. valdo says:

    as much as i’d like to see the lakers get a better season next year as a laker fan, i highly doubt it..
    now first of all forget the melo and lebron trades that just ain’t gonna happen..the new players they got are just about average i think they could have gotten better players tho…i can’t say allot about the coach but i don’t think he is really suited to be a laker coach…as much as i’d like to think that kobe’s gonna have a good season i don’t think we (as lakers fans) should expect too much about it, mean like even though he’s my favorite player and the black mamba and all you gotta reconsider the fact that he is just a human..i think they gonna have about the same season as last year they will barely make it to the play-offs but lose in the early rounds..don’t just count on kobe, the rest off the team has to step up too as well as the coaching staff and the organization for the lakers to have a decent season i believe…these are just my thoughts about the lakers right now..i hope they will be able to surprise me tho….they just have to step up to the competition.

  14. RFMR says:

    Mike D’An… can’t be a good coach, but to coach the lakes is another biasness, D’Antoni had in his hand a few stars but what happen every buddy now. I think D´Antoni should be gone after a few weeks.

  15. Shockzone says:

    I agree that team chemistry wasn’t right and everything seemed a bit forced last season. I think that will be improved upon. But there are a lot of missing pieces that I don’t think were improved upon, so it’s a “maybe it will be better, maybe it won’t” at best. I’m interested to find out this coming season.

  16. Ramon says:

    No Point in Arguing! I just love this Game!

  17. dmh says:

    Mike D coaches the playground. He treats the lakers like its the playground. The only one certified to talk about defense on the laker coaching staff is the old newbie Kurt Rambis. It is a joke.

    I do like some of the moves the lakers made this offseason. Wes Johnson is a decent defender that can score a little. Nick Young can shoot when his head is right. Kaman is a decent center and a bargain for what the lakers paid to get him. Farmar is a decent backup pg that can probably do that duel pg lineup that Mike D loves (and other coaches).

    Is it enough to make the playoffs as is? Of course Kobe says yes, Mike D says yes etc. However there is a season to be played. The enigma in the room is Kobe. Kobe is dynamic enough to both save and tank a season by just being Kobe. There is also the injury and age of the top half of the roster. Pau also remembers the drama that Mike D created by not clearly defining roles and then pulling the plug with no explanation. The lakers are saying the right things. Barring some unforseen trades of the older vets I do not see this being all that good of a season for the Lakers. The dynamics of the roster have them possibly sneaking in for the 7th or 8th seed. However an awful lot of cosmos and stars would have to line up perfectly for that to happen. There are real teams sneaking up behind them that could easily take the lakers spot….. Portland, Minnesota (most likely), New Orleans (next in line after that), Dallas (talented wildcard), or even maybe Utah (It all depends on the 3rd year itch of Hayward and especially Favors) could sneak in and take it. Plus this would be the best draft coming up next year to tank a little for. I hear the 2014 draft is supposed to be pretty decent. It will be interesting. That is probably the only reason why the lakers got so many tv games this season is because of the middle drama surrounding after Dwight and before cap room. It is interesting to say the least.

  18. vernon says:

    The only surprise will be if Dantoni is still coach by midseason.

  19. Unkle Daddy says:

    The Lakers have entered into the same spot they were in when Magic had to retire and before Shaq got there.

  20. Adamz says:

    I don’t think Mike is the right coach for this team… I think they should have gotten Jerry Sloan or Phil… Honestly he was hired based on Steve Nash and Dwight Howard… and it was said Kobe could fit in any system… All Honesty they should have just kept Mike Brown. The Vibe wasn’t there.. it wasn’t just Dwight that wasn’t feeling Mike.. it was Pau as well. I don’t know I think Lakers need a system that makes them superior in the half court and run when they want to. These guys are old man.. and who is their lock down defender? Jodie Meeks? come on Mitch!

  21. marlon green says:

    Lets just face it people, the Lakers are in trouble this season. I know Kobe is amazing but seriously a return from a achillies tear and playing like his normal self? DId you guys forget that he had to be 100% percent last year and play his heart and soul out just for them to even get into the playoffs? Dantoni is certainly not the coach for the Lakers and they do not have the players they need for his run and gun system. Nash and Gasol will be okay intil injuries attack them again. Other than that the Lakers cannot score enough points and the defensive is horrible and when you have someone like Robert Sacre on your bench that is just awful. The Lakers need a miricle with free agents or some kind of trades. And you guys forget that idea about Lebron coming to LA. Maybe Melo because him and kobe got close during the olympics and he’s tired of losing and wants to partner up with another great player like LeBron did. But I think most of the superstars that are in the East want to stay on teams in the eastern conference because the west is so tough while on the other hand you have maybe 4 reall teams to deal with in the east.

  22. TTKIN says:

    I dont get why everyone is saying members of the Lakers need to stop venting about Dwight……maybe if the media would stop asking dwight-questions to them, maybe they’ll stop venting.

  23. Shawn Kemp No. 1 says:

    Coach Kobe must be happy

  24. 007 says:

    The New Lakers will finish in 6th place. The NBA is about superstars I am not the biggest Kobe fan but I would consider only taking about two players over him.

    Also with the roster the Lakers have is perfect for Mike. A team with shooters, skilled big man, and not mutlpie huge superstsr egos. When I saw the Lakers last year reminded me of my Knicks when they were under his regime. He has a difficult time dealing with very strong personalities.

    Now they can run the pick and roll and not care who is getting shots and just play team ball. Running and offensive set and getting the ball into the post is not the Mike way on the other hand shooting within 10 seconds of the shot clock is his style.

    Comparing it to my Knicks its going to be similar when the Linsanity stroke. Not alot of egos and just free flowing basketball.

    Then when the Mamba is ready he will strike. So I highly disagree with this proposed 12th place finish.

  25. Bird33 says:

    Great (Senator) Stuart Smalley reference. But the real Stuart Smalley question for D’ Antonni (after they flame out in the playoffs again this year) will be “Doggone it, do people like me?”

    Not in LA….Not in LA…..

    Sorry Stuart…I mean Mike.

  26. Jizzy says:

    LA? you mean clippers?

  27. Jugular says:

    Can they still get 33 year old Odom who has a lot of gas in his tank

  28. celentano says:

    for the moment now Kobe wins only with shop stiks!lol.

  29. Chitown says:

    The lamers actually got some decent pickup players

    • bunbury says:

      the lamers with 16 championships?? you’re contradicting yourself buddy. are you still in grade school? yeah, I thought so..

  30. err234 says:

    lol.. number 1 on espn?… epsn think that lakers would be in the 12 spot and didn’t think of kobe as one of the best player in the next season in their survey… but no offense… I still hope lakers would comeback.. fire dantoni and hired someone..

  31. best says:

    laker need pg rondo sg kobe sf winnigs pf melo c cousin

  32. Elliott Singleton says:

    your always a contender when kobe bryant is on your team

    • best gm says:

      well that depends how you define contender. In some ways all 30 teams contend for a championship, some fall short before the playoffs while 15 others fall short in the playoffs…

      • bunbury says:

        best gm. I think you need to learn how to read between the lines. when someone says contention for a title, they are talking about the teams that are capable of winning it.

    • Subash says:

      True Laker fans..please dont watch this season..you are going to be hurt a lot if you watch..Any team can beat this Laker team very easily if Kobe is not there..even if he is there this team doesn’t worth much..he cant be 100% and also he cant get even minimal help from others in scoring..old and zero aggressive pau..injured old Nash..what else you can see in this team

      • Jay says:

        True fans will support their teams through both the good and the bad. Find another band wagon to ride on. I bet you were once a Laker fan when they were champions a couple years ago.

    • Mark says:

      Nope, not always. And definitely not this season.

  33. rhea says:

    This is a stupid childish barb at howard. Why would you beg him to stay, offer 130 mil, practically tell him it would be his not kobys team if he was a negative influences and distraction? Can’t wait for rockets and Howard to mop the floor with the Lakers this year

  34. grafem says:

    It is unfortunate that Kobe parted with Shaq. His quest for a sixth or even seventh ring would have been a reality long time ago. Yes, miracles do happen, but I don’t see it in this case with the present Lakers giving Kobe his much desired 6th ring…

  35. Kimmy says:

    The Lakers need a total rebuild. They moved in the right direction by getting rid of Artes and Howard. Next move should be the coach. I just don’t think Diantoni is the one who will help propel them into the finals. The team doesn’t appear to have good chemistry w/ him. What do I know? That the Lakers won’t make playoffs this year, with or without Kobe. Sorry, these teams are just plain better than the Lakers: OKC, Spurs, Houston, Clippers, Memphis, Minnesota, New Orleans, and Dallas/Denver.

  36. Kobe-Lebron-Carmelo-Pau-Rondo@LA says:

    GO D’Antonni.. We support you.. Trust PAU PLEASE!! Just hang there cause next year, Lebron and company will be there at LA!! GO GO GO!!

  37. nka says:

    D’Antonio talking about defense, seriously

  38. Nick says:

    Are these the same naysayers that said early last year that the Lakers would run away with the title, and the Spurs were too old? If even the valets are complaining about Howard, maybe there’s some truth to his toxicity? Morale IS highly important. Whenever there is a prima donna who knows better than the coach and doesn’t buy in it fractures the team and makes them much less effective.

  39. rantrave says:

    if they can get Phil then they should have got BRIAN SHAW instead in the first place!!!

    • Unkle Daddy says:

      The Spurs don’t want Kobe he would be a terrible disruption to that team. Phil Jackson is not returning to a bad team even if it is the Lakers. He only coaches teams with superstars, he’s never coached a bad team. This is why he looks so good, anybody can have a great team with that much talent, look a Erik Spoelstra. Remove Lebron from that team see what people say about him, again.

  40. the black mamba says:

    yall haters better watch out for the almight lakers and kobe

  41. bhimz says:

    D’Antoni talking about DEFENSE? well that’s something new in his vocabulary.

  42. Kim Khai says:

    they need some magic right now, literallly!

  43. Kim Khai says:

    lakers are in rebuilding mode. they need to get younger. maybe they could be bad to get a lottery pick, next year, like jabari parker. they need a backup point guard, they should try to get rajon rondo in a few years. rumor says that the lakers are trying to get lebron or melo. they got cap space. lebron is not leaving possibly to the cavaliers just cause its his hometown. melo might go because the new york knicks got to many people who waant to control and dribble the ball. they got raymond felton, jr smith, carmelo, & stat. they could get amare or melo in 2014-2015.

    • hgfhjg says:

      i doubt melo will leave ny, its his hometown he went to syracuse, and it was his favorite team growing up. and he’s wanted to bolt to the knicks his entire career. and i doubt he’ll leave after finally getting there

  44. B Radd says:

    Blesoe, Cousins and Patterson will bring the Lakers back into the fold 2014-2015

  45. The Quick Brown Fox Jumps Over The Lazy Dog says:

    REST IN PEACE LAKERS BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!! :-P

  46. Go Kobe! Do NOT click on the name.

  47. matthew mathis says:

    LAKER NATION NEVER DOUBTED HOW GOOD D’ANTONI IS AS A COACH. HE JUST NEEDED TO PLAY PAU AND HILL WHERE THEY ARE COMFORTABLE. PLUS ALL IN FOR GRANGER AND DENG TO BE IN PURPLE AND GOLD NEXT YEAR. LETS GO FOR THE REAL SHOW TIME.

  48. Lebron iZ DeezD says:

    PFFFFT!!!!!!!!

  49. Lakers-Warriors-Suns. says:

    Lets Gooo !!!!

  50. ak2 says:

    D´Antoni should be gone after a few weeks.
    Lakers can make the Playoffs with a better coach – finals would be a long shot…

  51. Eaham says:

    Dont blame the coach. Blame injuries and lack of concentration and willingness to run up and down the court. HIs sytem isnt that great but know what, if players focused and gave it their all and werent injured or arguing, the lakers would have been just fine last season. So people should cut D’antoni some slack man.