The Los Angeles Lakers are struggling, having lost eight of their last nine games following Tuesday's 110-97 loss to Dallas. Amid this climate of wretched play, GM Mitch Kupchak has emerged to give head coach Mike D'Antoni a vote of confidence in a Wednesday phone interview with Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times.
Kupchak went on to praise D'Antoni in the interview.
We’re happy with Mike. You can look back six weeks ago and say it’s exciting and we’re playing great. It’s hard to ignore the injuries but it was a fun game to watch when we were playing without Kobe [Bryant] and anticipating his return. In other words, ‘Wow, we’re playing this well now and Kobe has still yet to return and neither has [Steve] Nash?’ So we had high hopes.
Kupchak has a point—the Lakers were a fun team to watch six weeks ago. L.A. raced out to a surprising 10-9 record without the services of star Kobe Bryant. Bryant returned to action on Dec. 8, and the Lakers looked ready to mount a serious charge in the Western Conference.
But since then, nothing has gone right. Bryant returned to the disabled list, and Laker point guards continued to drop like flies. Los Angeles has suffered critical injuries to Nash, Steve Blake and Jordan Farmar.
What does this vote of confidence mean for Mike D'Antoni?
Still, the Lakers are suffering from several problems which are symptomatic of a D'Antoni-coached team. According to Basketball Reference, the Lakers are ranked No. 24 in the league in defensive efficiency. Also, they might be the worst rebounding team in the league, ranking No. 29 in defensive-rebounding percentage and No. 27 in offensive-rebounding percentage.
As with any coach in any sport, the vote of confidence can prove a blessing or a curse. Oftentimes it proves to be a disingenuous feint by the organization and the coach is fired soon after.
So what do you think, Lakers fan? Is this a real vote of confidence or the "dreaded" vote of confidence? Will Mike D'Antoni last as coach of the Lakers?