Lakers Trade Rumors: Mike D'Antoni Should Have No Input on Roster Decisions
The Los Angeles Lakers have some hard decisions to make now that Pau Gasol is expected to miss over a month due to injury, but it's odd that GM Mitch Kupchak would look to get head coach Mike D'Antoni involved. As Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News (h/t inside Socal.com) reported, the two men will meet together to discuss the team's roster in spite of the fact that D'Antoni has already stated he will not ask Kupchak to make a change.
Don't get me wrong. I can definitely understand why Kupchak would want to have such a discussion with D'Antoni. The man is the general on the sidelines, and the team's performance is a direct reflection of his philosophy.
If there's a hole that needs to be plugged, D'Antoni should feel comfortable going to Kupchak and talking about his concerns.
However, in this case, D'Antoni should have zero input on any roster decisions. In spite of having a star-studded roster at his disposal, the man has been ineffective at getting the best out of a Lakers team that, for all intensive purposes, should be at or near the top of the Western Conference standings based on the talent they have on paper.
This can be attributed to D'Antoni taking players who thrive in the low post and trying to turn them into jump shooters, as he has done with Pau Gasol this season. As a result, Gasol is having the worst season of his career and averaging a career-worst 13.4 points per game.
Granted, Gasol has been much better when given the opportunity to play the 5, but his torn plantar fascia combined with the uncertainty surrounding Dwight Howard's shoulder leaves the Lakers with a glaring hole in the low post.
And D'Antoni should not have any say in how to fill that hole.
Yes, D'Antoni is an offensive genius. He has the Lakers ranking sixth in points scored, but just 23rd in points allowed. When it comes to the low-post, the man clearly prefers to avoid it.
This would explain why his offense is so reliant on the pick-and-roll, but that cannot be used as the sole source of points. The reason why the Lakers defense is so weak is because there is no consistent low post presence, and D'Antoni seems to be perfectly fine with that.
The sad truth is that if Kupchak and D'Antoni are going to meet and discuss the roster, Kupchak needs to say something like, "The team is suffering in the low post, and that's not OK. I'm going to try and bring in some temporary help there, and you need to ensure that they plug that hole until Gasol and Howard are ready to come back."
How much involvement should Mike D'Antoni have in roster decisions?
Granted, this goes against every aspect of D'Antoni's coaching philosophy, but roster decisions are not his to make. He is the coach, and it is his job to get the best out of any and all players on the roster.
Contrastingly, it is Kupchak's job as GM to put together the best roster possible to make the Los Angeles Lakers a winning team. This season has proven that D'Antoni's system cannot work without a balance, and Kupchak must stress that in any meeting that the two have.
Otherwise, the Lakers' season is officially lost and both men end up looking bad.
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