Mike D’Antoni Says Lakers are Mentally Weak & Championship Hopes are Laughable
Mike D’Antoni had some things to get off his chest, after the Lakers loss to the Wizards.
“This is a good team that just for whatever reason can’t collectively mentally get stimulated to [play hard] every time,” D’Antoni said after the Lakers wasted an 18-point first-half lead. “I told them today, we put our hands in [the huddle], and you guys have probably seen it, we say, ‘Championship,’ and go out [on the floor]. That’s laughable. Championship? You got to be kidding me. Nobody understands the importance of every possession offensively and defensively. Every time they got to come out with some kind of determination to be a good basketball team, and [until] then, we’re just, we’re fooling ourselves. Right now, that’s what we’re doing. We’re just making a ‘sham-mockery’ out of it.”
“There’s no explanation for it,” D’Antoni said. “I can’t explain it, but every time we get up 16 [points], it’s like, ‘Well, we’re really good and we don’t have to play hard,’ and we start messing with the game. You start messing with not moving the ball. You start messing with, ‘I’m just going to go one-on-one every time.’ You start messing with the basketball gods, and they get you.
“That ball will roll around and go in for [the opponent] and it will roll around and go out for us because we’re messing with the game. If we don’t change that, obviously we won’t make the playoffs, but if we do, we’ll get blown out in the playoffs. You can’t be a fairly good team or even a good team without passing the basketball, without understanding what we’re doing defensively and honing in and doing it. You can’t do it. You can’t do it. It’s impossible.”
“You would think sooner or later they’d get the message, but no,” D’Antoni said. “As soon as we get a little bit, like a 16-point lead or, ‘Oh, we’re ahead one game of Utah; now it’s a breeze. Everybody says we’re in the playoffs, we’re one game ahead!’
“You can’t mess with a game as you can’t mess with a season as you can’t mess with a schedule. You got to go out, you got to beat Phoenix, you got to beat Atlanta, you got to beat these teams. You got to come ready to play. We don’t all the time, and we might come ready, but by halftime it might be gone. Or we might come out at halftime and be OK, and then the fourth quarter it’s gone. Somewhere somebody is going to have to say, ‘Enough is enough and let’s play.’ Every possession. But no. We don’t. We don’t.”
D’Antoni didn’t stop there, but you get the point. The Lakers are who they are at this point, they will play well for stretches, but they aren’t consistently are very good team.
They are an average team, that honestly should be a lot better.
They might limp into the playoffs, but at this point, they aren’t a threat to beat any of the top teams in the West. Just look at their record against playoff bound teams, it isn’t very good.
D’Antoni should take a little bit of the blame himself, considering as the coach he has to get the team prepared every night, while managing different personalities.
He hasn’t done a good job at that.
I think if they team stays intact, next year they will be a lot better, but there is no guarantee that happens right Dwight?