Lakers, Mike D’Antoni all about pace

One of the goals for the Lakers, in hiring Mike D’Antoni as their new head coach, was to quicken the team’s pace.

Former Coach Mike Brown’s style was somewhat plodding, especially as the players tried to execute his hybrid-Princeton offense. Patience now would have paid off later, but ownership decided it wasn’t worth the time to find out.


“We have a vision of how we thought this team would play, bringing in a player like Steve Nash,” said General Manager Mitch Kupchak. “We thought we could get the ball in his hands a lot, play up-tempo.”

Instead, Nash suffered an injury (leg) and the team started 1-4 before Brown was let go.

Once Nash returns and the players acclimate, D’Antoni expects the Lakers to score more than 110 points per game.

“If you’ve got the best team, why wouldn’t you play the most possessions that you can play, if you’re the best defensively and offensively?” asked D’Antoni. “Any time the possessions are cut down, then a bad call, missed shot, you’ve got a chance to lose. We keep the possessions up, to me statistically we’ve got a lot better chance to win when we’re playing a lot of reps. That’s the way we’re going to try to go.”

The Lakers recently lost to the San Antonio Spurs at Staples Center on a late three-pointer from Danny Green.

D’Antoni acknowledges that this version of his offense, run by the Lakers, might not be as fast as the Steve Nash-led Phoenix Suns.

“Age will keep it down a little bit [with] two big guys. We might go small some, that will rev it up,” said D’Antoni. “There are some things we can do, but whatever comes out will be an efficient offensive team and an efficient defensive team.”

Kupchak visibly nodded in approval as D’Antoni described the advantage of a fast-paced offense.

“I think Mike really said it best when he talked about the number of possessions,” said Kupchak. “This league really is about the players. It’s no secret when the NBA, on TV they’re marketing the players and their ridiculous abilities as athletes and what they can do on the court.

“The more opportunities you give them to display their ability, which is more possessions on the defensive and offensive side, the more their true talent is going to come through,” continued the Lakers general manager. “We have a great group of talented players. Let’s give them the most chances to show and display their ability.”

The Lakers play the Suns on Friday night, but D’Antoni is not expected to be on the bench until Sunday against the Houston Rockets, at the earliest.


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