Los Angeles Lakers, Reading Between the Lines
So let's take a look at some of the quotes coming from the Los Angeles Lakers this season and see if we can translate what they're really trying to say.
Head Coach Mike D'Antoni -
What he said: At his initial press conference, “Obviously, you know, I’m real happy to be here.”
What he meant: The last time you saw me things were going pretty bad in New York. Then they got rid of me and things started getting better. Most coaches wouldn’t get a chance like this after that performance. Plus there was this other guy up for the job, Phil Jackson, you might have heard of him. So yeah, I’m pretty psyched right now.
What he said: On his team’s defense, “We’re not doing it. We’re not running back. We’re not doing the little things.” Later added: “We have too many guys that will take a possession off.”
What he meant: We don’t even really try to play defense. What we do can’t even really be called defense. It’s more like passive aggressive defense. We don’t want you to score, but we don’t want you to know we don’t want you to score.
What he said: On being asked about whether or not his team practices it’s defense, “Hell yeah, we worked for a half hour on it.”
What he meant: We worked for a half hour on it. That’s all you need to be good at stopping world-class basketball players from scoring, right? I mean these guys have spent hundreds and probably thousands of hours practicing how to score, so a good half hour right before the game counts as good defensive preparation, right?
What he said: On his team’s pace of play, “We play at a slow-pace and we struggle. It may be a mindset. We’ve got to search hard for some heart and play harder.”
What he meant: We’re old and slow, I want to run and gun like I could in Pheonix when I had a young Amare Stoudemire and a youngish Steve Nash. Now I’ve got an old team that can’t get up and down the court. And to make it worse, they don’t even want to. They want to run Phil Jackson’s system because it’s easier and they don’t have to be in great shape. Everyone said I was a better fit for this team, but that would only be true if we could take the whole team in a time machine and go back to 2006. Then Kobe might have taken 100 shots a game in my offense. Remember back then, when everyone thought I was a genius?
What he said: On whether or not he should take Dwight Howard out of games in the fourth quarter because of his free throws, “You don’t do that to a guy, and he made his foul shots. He’s not the reason that our defense breaks down, he’s not the reason that stuff happens. He’s gonna work through this.”
What he meant: You don’t take out a franchise player who makes millions of dollars late in a game because he’ll start to sulk and become an even bigger baby then he is now, and if he makes even half his free throws we’ll just consider that a plus. He’s not the only reason we can’t stop anyone on defense, we have lots of guys not playing good defense. I mean it’s not like he’s won awards for being the best defensive player in league before. Oh yeah, he did, right. Well he’s gonna keep putting on his jersey and not hustling up and down the court, which is about as much work as I’ve seen him do so far. Does playing NBA 2K on Xbox count as working at his game?
Current Franchise Player and Possible Best Laker Ever Kobe Bryant -
What he said: On hiring Mike D’Antoni, “He’s an offensive genius. I’m excited.”
What he meant: I like to shoot, like a lot. I love to score, then do awesome Kobe things like scowl and stalk down the court after I’ve scored. I love to jack up threes four seconds into the shot clock. This is going to be sweet.
What he said: On Pau Gasol’s struggles, “Put your big-boy pants on. Just adjust. Just adjust. You can’t whine about it. You can’t complain about it.”
What he meant: I want to win. Bad. I always want to win. It doesn’t matter what it is, if I don’t win things go bad. Just trust me. They do. So find a way to make this work. So find a way to make this work. I’m just going to keep saying the same things over and over again until I win. And don’t cry for help, trust me, just don’t.
What he said: On Phil Jackson versus Mike D’Antoni as his coach, “I’ve been through tough situations before in the past, and I’d always blow my top and go crazy. Then I had a head coach who always kept calm and focused on the Xs and Os of things, and I learned from that. I’m trying to do the same here, but I won’t lie, man (long, bleeped, probably expletive laden outburst) They’re really trying my patience with that Zen thing.”
What he meant: I’m a borderline crazy person. If I didn’t have a competitive sport to focus my manic energies on I would be doing things that they make scary documentaries about. Then, a man came into my life who might possibly be a wizard, and he calmed me down. I’m trying to do that now, but you know, I’m crazy. This isn’t going to end well.
Future Franchise Player Dwight Howard -
What he said: On his free throws, “I don’t want to talk about free throws anymore. I don’t want to talk about free throws. Why are we talking about free throws?"
Reporter: It’s part of the game.
Howard: “There’s other parts of the game too – besides free throws.”
What he meant: I don’t want to talk about free throws… because I can’t make them. And not only can’t I make them, but it’s killing my team. They’re called free throws because it’s supposed to hurt the other team when I get to shoot them, but they’re putting me on the line because I’m that bad at making them.
But they’re only one part of the game. We’re bad at other parts of the game too. Why aren’t we talking about how bad we are at defense?
What he said: On getting advice from teammate Steve Nash, one of the best free throw shooters of all time, on how to shoot free throws, “Listen, he was just suggesting some things, but it’s not something that we’ve already talked about or anybody else has suggested. My mind cannot get clouded with everybody telling me how to shoot a free throw. I just have to go up there and shoot it my way and not get caught up in what everybody else is saying, because that’s when I miss.”
What he meant: Nash gave me some pointers, but it’s not like people haven’t been trying to get me to shoot better free throws my whole life. The thing is, I’m terrible at it, I’ve always been terrible at it, but sometimes by some miracle they go in. So I try not to over think it. I mean, what am I gonna do? Shoot so many of them that I get good? Nah, I’m gonna go play Xbox.
What he said: On his team’s performance so far this year, “We have to stop the bleeding – somehow. We can’t let this kill our spirits too much. This is tough on all of us right now. We want to win. We’re sick of losing. We all understand that situations like this don’t last forever.”
What he meant: Nothing I say makes any sense at this point. I’m just saying random things that won’t get me in trouble. The truth is, I don’t really care at this point. If we don’t win I’m just going to either leave or get a new coach next year. I want to go play Xbox.