After losing to the Chicago Bulls 95-83 on MLK day, a frustrated Kobe Bryant said, “Obviously, this isn’t working.” Los Angeles Laker head coach, Mike D’Antoni has tried to shake the line-up by starting Earl Clark and sitting Pau Gasol, but that experiment has already caused a lot of internal dissension and external controversy.
The usually quiet Gasol has publicly voiced his displeasure about coming off the bench, since he's been a starter his entire career. However, the twin tower combination thus far has not panned out.
Furthermore, Dwight Howard has been affected by the lack of stability and constant change amongst the Lakers as well. Howard had 8 points, 9 rebounds, and 4 turnovers as Joakim Noah frustrated both Gasol and Howard the entire night.
After the loss to Chicago, Bryant said, "I've tried to go out of my way to get him (Howard) the ball. Sometimes I end up looking like an idiot, because I get up in the air, I've got a shot, but I try to find him. But he thinks I'm going to shoot, so his back is turned. I'm trying to think about getting him the ball a lot – take care of him as much as I possibly can. It takes me out of rhythm a little bit, but I'm fine with that. If that's going to help our team, I'm more than willing to do that. I've constantly tried to help him out, tried to talk to him. Two o'clock in the morning, three o'clock in the morning. Texting him. Sharing reading materials. Anything to try and help him."
Coach D’Antoni has a history of making players fit into his system rather than adapting his system to the players that he has. So, if D’Antoni wants to keep his job in Los Angeles he is going to have to figure out a way of adapting to his players as much as the players are trying to adapt to him.
Otherwise, D’Antoni is going to follow the footsteps of his fleeting predecessor, Mike Brown.
The Lakers not making the playoffs is not only unacceptable in the city of Los Angeles, but this team – with four Hall of Famers – will go down as one of the most under achieving teams in NBA history.