SH Blog: D’Antoni questions how Houston is better for Howard, Lakers want LeBron or Melo

Mike D'AntoniWhen Dwight Howard left the Los Angeles Lakers and bolted to the Houston Rockets, we heard and saw the reactions of plenty – perhaps most notably from Kobe Bryant, who immediately unfollowed his former teammate on Twitter upon hearing the news.

The one person most relevant to the situation that we’ve yet to hear from had been Mike D’Antoni, whose offense was cited as a critical reason for Howard’s desire for departure. So what did the coach think of his time with the center? How did D’Antoni feel about Howard’s decision to join the Rockets? Vincent Bonsignore of Daily News has all the details below:

“Steve Nash and Dwight Howard on the pick and roll, and that’s what I do?” D’Antoni remembers, wistfully. “I just thought, ‘Boy, that’s gonna be a staple.’ ”

“There was just a lot of conflict, emotionally,” D’Antoni said. “People were not settled in their roles. But it’s funny because a lot of times players will say ‘I don’t know my role.’ It’s not that you don’t know it, you just don’t accept it.”

“The only thing that cracks me up is (the question) ‘Why didn’t you go through him more?’ ” D’Antoni said. “Well, he was hurt. Why would we go through him if he’s hurt? You have to (factor) that in. Why would we do that with Kobe and Nash and (Pau) Gasol on the floor? That doesn’t make a lot of sense.”

“The thing that cracks me up is Houston, they do the exact same thing,” D’Antoni said, laughing. “And so (Howard) is gonna go to Houston? OK, so did they talk about change there? Don’t tell me that it’s that different.”

“He’s a force and he can be really, really good and dominate the league,” D’Antoni said. “But it’s in an area that he’s not loving right now. He wants to dominate a different way, in the low post and all that. But he needs to get better there, and he will. But his greatness is in defense and being a physical force. I think he’d be better served if he embraces that.

“But he’s good.”

So in short, D’Antoni thought Howard did not want to get with the program and asked to do more on the offensive end, despite the fact that he was playing hurt and proved to be very ineffective on isolation situations through at least the first half of the season. And now, he will join an offense that will actually look very similar to that of the Lakers, and even has a player alongside him that eats up almost as many possessions as Kobe in James Harden.

From the coach’s perspective, it’s obvious that this entire Howard fiasco has been comical. From an overall perspective, you can see why D’Antoni and Howard were never a good fit: both are stubborn and set in their ways, and neither are willing to compromise, adjust and sacrifice for the betterment of the team.

Onto other news from around the league:

  • 100px-DJ_AugustinD.J. Augustin has found a home in Canada, from Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports: “Point guard D.J. Augustin has reached agreement on a one-year, $1.2 million deal with the Toronto Raptors, league sources told Yahoo! Sports. Augustin will back up starter Kyle Lowry next season. Augustin played in 76 regular-season games for the Indiana Pacers a season ago, and 19 playoff games in the team’s run to the Eastern Conference finals. He averaged 8.2 points in the East semifinals victory over the New York Knicks. Augustin, 25, played four seasons with the Charlotte Bobcats before signing with Indiana as a free agent last summer. In his best season, Augustin averaged 14.4 points and six assists in 2010-’11 for Charlotte.”
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  3. Alek Samm says

    Dwight is just using D’Antoni as an excuse. Dwight wanted out because it wasn’t the ideal situation for him (ie the Lakers wouldn’t kiss his ass…evidently being the future isn’t enough). But all of his excuses of Houston is a different offense than LA’s is exactly that–excuses.

    Dwight Howard is a good pick n roll guy as a lot of ppl can attest. That was why MDA was looking forward to coming to the Lakers. “Kobe AND I have Nash and Dwight to run the pick n roll with? Sign me up!” Remember how enthusiastic he was for coming here? But eventually it started to wane horribly? That was right around the time where he was learning that his guys don’t want to play the role they’re best at.

    I do (surprisingly) believe Nash that the offense will be more fluent because it will be ran through Gasol.

    • ddddd says

      I get that whole premise of bash Dwight Howard because he left thing out of lakers fans. However, Mike D alienated his whole team last year with 2 exceptions… Kobe and Nash. He also was so stubborn with his offense that he benched Pau and tried to get the guy to shoot 3 pointers. Thats never going to happen out of a F/C that has never really operated outside of 15 feet before in his career. Then theres the injury factor which Mike D did not handle well at all and historically never has.
      What people fail to realize here is that in Phoenix Mike D had his ideal roster for the most part and still only had a 7-8 man rotation. Mike D has not had his ideal roster since then. There was always the excuse of wait until so-and-so comes back. However the roster was built for Phil and not Mike D. Mike D refused to adjust. Kupchak refused to get Mike D some players for his system saying that when everyone came back everything would be wonderful. Everything was far from wonderful. Everyone can and rightfully so blame Buss and Kupchak for the dysfunction. Dwight looked at the dysfunction and basically said no thanks. An athlete only has a limited shelf life.
      As great as the lakers have historically been, unless something radical is done in the next few years, there will be a celtic-of-the-90s-like drought for the next era of the lakers and for the rest of Dwight’s career, thus proving Dwight Howard right in his decision to leave, in spite of his poor execution in the matter. Dwight’s execution of the matter makes Lebron’s “The Decision” seem like childs play in comparison.

      • Alek Samm says

        Oh, I’m not dissing Dwight for picking Houston, it was the right pick for him. I’m just saying he should’ve just came out and said I don’t want to be here when he knew he didn’t want to be here instead of stringing the team along.

        As far as the Lakers drought goes, we’ll see. A lot of their future is tied into next summer. This is the first time in ages they’ve had this kind of cap space and if they pick right, they could be setting themselves up for another era (which is the plan). Granted, I have to trust idiot Jim Buss (whose nowhere near his father in terms of running a franchise) to make the right call. Hopefully, Jim will listen for the next few years to Mitch, Phil and Jeanie since he obviosuly doesn’t have a clue.

        RE: MDA. I don’t know. I think if the roster had been healthy all year and in the playoffs, they wouldn’t have been swept by SA. Plus, the team really has been built for Phil and plugging MDA into that was boneheaded (yet another reason idiot Jimmie needs to step down…I don’t think it’s Mitch since he can only do what Jim allows him to do since Jim signs the checks).

        That said, MDA is fortunate that the Lakers pulled out of their nosedive at the end of the season because if reports are true, he was about to get bounced out of there.

        I’m not even really giving this upcoming season much bother. I’m watching but I don’t expect much since they’re clearly in cruise control since they know they’re going to overhaul the entire roster next summer, when everyone comes off the books.

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