What hath Jimmy Buss wrought? A totally dysfunctional on-court situation.
The Los Angeles Lakers go into New York tonight as the NBA’s greatest mystery.
For starters, Mike D’Antoni’s habitual game plan calls for a full-speed-ahead offense. (Remember Seven Seconds to Shoot?) And during his nine-and-change seasons coaching in the NBA, D’Antoni has never demonstrated the inclination nor the ability to play the kind of station-to-station basketball that best suits his current team.
The sad truth is that Metta World Peace, Antawn Jamison and Dwight Howard are basically plodders. Even worse, MWP has lost at least one step in his lateral movement, which seriously compromises his used-to-be stopper-defense. AJ is not only lead-footed but (to be charitable) extremely undependable.
Worse still, Howard has been listless and mostly uninvolved on offense. And, of course, Howard’s performance at the stripe qualifies him to join the bricklayers’ union. Yes, he still can rebound like he’s a starving wolf and the ball is a lamb chop, but on-and off-court he remains Howard a perpetual adolescent. Pouting when he doesn’t get the ball. Playing with short-arms when a game is up for grabs. Constantly out of position on defense. That’s why he is now, always has been a loser. The Lakers are hoping and praying that Howard comes of age during his tenure in Los Angeles and becomes the game-changer that he was presumably supposed to be.