The Lakers’ new coach hit the lottery with this star-studded group, which arguably has the most talented starting five in the NBA. Whether Dwight Howard, Kobe Bryant and Ron Artest prove to be good fits in his offensive-laden system is yet to be seen.
After all the early-season drama, D’Antoni will only be focusing on how to improve the Lakers today. While he makes those changes, he may want to keep an eye on these long-term conflicts in Lakerland.
Keeping Dwight Howard Happy
The Lakers’ upper-level management know that if they want a chance to win title for several years, they’ll need to appease Howard to sign an extension.
However, concerning Dwight’s future, hiring D’Antoni may have been the wrong choice.
In their new coach’s offense, Howard turns into strictly a pick-and-roll player, as their new coach wants to keep the paint open for penetrate-and-kick opportunities. Their center will not have many opportunities in the post, if any at all.
ESPNLA's Dave McMenamin give insight on how post action will change with D'Antoni in town:
Mike Brown ran a triple post-up offense last year. D'Antoni? "One of the least efficient plays in basketball is a straight post up."— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) November 16, 2012
Will a decrease in touches withdraw Howard from the offensive game plan? If so, no one can predict Howard’s next move when he’s disgruntled. Just ask Stan Van Gundy and Magic fans.
D'Antoni needs to keep his centerpiece involved in the game strategy to keep him on board. A myriad of lobs from Steve Nash would be an quick fix.
Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash Fresh For Playoff Run
D’Antoni’s run-and-gun system is made for young players with fresh legs to run up and down the court. Despite their protests that they can handle the load, the Lakers’ backcourt has a better chance at Social Security than running the "Seven Seconds or Less."
Nash has been out of the lineup with a leg bruise and won’t be suited to run a quick pace when he gets onto the court.
Bryant has been most effective in recent years slowing down the game and working from the post.
D’Antoni will need to make adjustments to appease his two backcourt stars and has indicated to do so. Regardless, it’s easier said than done when you have a system that’s worked for years.
I have yet to mention the age factor, which puts their backcourt, with an average age of 36, at a disadvantage heading into June. If they plan to turn their games into a shootout, Nash and Bryant won’t have the legs to keep up.
Mike Shiekman is a Breaking News Writer for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter @TheRealShiek