Now that Coach D’Antoni is on the Lakers’ bench, he better be ready for the challenge. The Lakers’ experienced a few rough patches with D’Antoni including losses to the Sacramento Kings and Memphis Grizzlies. On Saturday, the Lakers unleashed their frustrations on the Dallas Mavericks, defeating them in a blow-out game from start to finish 115-89. The pace of the Mavericks game, the method and the balanced scoring is more to Coach D’Antoni’s liking but they are not where he wants them yet.
Despite D’Antoni’s knee rehabilitation and recovery he is already pacing the Los Angeles Lakers coaches box trying to activate his system while encouraging and challenging a team that is championship or bust, championship or nothing. This is a strong challenge for only the brave at heart or a coach who knows what it takes to win it all.
When NBA coaches are evaluated earnestly, there will be positives, negatives based on wins, losses, the evaluator’s perceptions and the truth. For really successful NBA coaches their wins outweigh their losses, which generally results in them receiving good perceptions marks from management and others with some truth mixed in.
Ultimately when a coach like D’Antoni says that they are up for the challenge , the amount of truth actually in the coach’s formulas, the talent and his ability to get his players to execute on a consistent level will play a major role in determining if the challenge is met and successful. The math of the x-factors and intangibles are also major keys to any coach’s success and critical to which way they go for D’Antoni.
Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol’s role in D’Antoni’s offensive system has some mathematical facts and truths that could concern both players as the season progresses. Earlier in the season Howard was allowed to post up down low, which is juxtaposed to where D’Antoni usually spacing of centerrs. Coach D’Antoni’s offensive system prefers spacing that creates driving lanes to and around the basket allowing his point guard and wing players to attack the basket at will.
The execution of team adjustments is an essential quality for successful coaches and players. The best coaches who win over extended periods of time are masters at recognizing the need and the timing for individual player(s) and team adjustments. These coaches understand, whether the ratio is between their system and their team’s talent level, connecting with new players, different teams when acquiring new coaching positions or dealing with an opponent at any given time.
Championship level coaches keep their primary system offensively and defensively intact while making minor adjustments to reach maximize performance levels of the players individually as well as the team concept as a whole. D’Antoni will have a huge challenge in this area as he has begun his navigation through the crowded Western Conference.
Paul Westhead, a championship-winning head coach is one of the best minds who utilized a system similar to Coach D’Antoni’s system.
One final truth in the D’Anotoni system is the requirement for superior conditioning physically, which will require a high-level mindset and discipline to achieve the desired equation and system goals, which is to outpace their opponents. It's early in the process but the question has to be asked whether the Lakers can take advantage