Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Somewhere Mike Brown is smiling.
The Lakers are putting up more points since D'Antoni took over, but an argument can be made that the increase in scoring has come about only because the lack of defense is creating more offensive opportunities.
Los Angeles currently stands 15th in terms of defensive efficiency. That’s right behind the 3-20 Washington Wizards. The Lakers struggle with simple rotations and getting back in transition. They are playing defense like they don’t care.
These things can all be fixed, however. Plus, Howard will only get better as his health improves, Gasol is a defensive upgrade over Antawn Jamison and with a stronger effort from everyone, including Bryant, this defense can improve.
D'Antoni needs to fix the team's disregard for defensive fundamentals and get the Lakers to make a concentrated resolution to play team defense. Otherwise, things are not going to improve just because the team gets healthy.
If he can fix these few problems once everyone gets back healthy, D'Antoni just might be able to get the Lakers playing winning basketball. More importantly for him, he can get the crowd to stop chanting, “We want Phil” every game.