Kobe Bryant Wants the Lakers to Adopt a Different Style of Play

by January 22, 2013

It’s obvious to everyone that Mike D’Antoni’s offensive system hasn’t worked (and likely can’t work) with the Los Angeles Lakers; in fact, it has been an unmitigated disaster. This is obvious to everyone but D’Antoni, it seems. Kobe Bryant admitted to the media after yet another humiliating loss last night that changes in the system — wholesale ones, perhaps — are needed if this team is to climb out of its current hole. (After telling the world that he’d lost faith in his coach’s system, Bryant then proceeded to workout and play some Beethoven on a hotel piano. Naturally.) Per the AP and Yahoo! Sports: “Very, very tough, very, very frustrating, trying to keep my cool,’ Bryant said. ‘It is embarrassing. It is not even embarrassing. I am a big history guy. Playing here in this arena with these incredible fans, you’re in the house of MJ, Pippen, PJ (Phil Jackson) built, to put this kind of brand of basketball on the floor is just not acceptable.’ Bryant even mentioned ditching D’Antoni’s up-tempo style in favor of posting up more. ‘We’re going to have to look at some things,’ he said. ‘We’re going to have to change something. Probably going to have to post the ball a lot more, slow the game down a lot more. That’s just my intuition, but that’s my gut right now. I have to take a look at the film again, but we’re definitely going to have to change something.’ […] On the issue of coach Mike D’Antoni stripping Gasol of his starting job, Bryant responded with a long, telling silence and smirk when pressed on whether he believed Gasol’s benching made these Lakers a better basketball team. On the issue of Howard’s belief that the ball simply doesn’t go through him enough on offense, Bryant rejected the premise. […] Bryant wouldn’t come right out and declare D’Antoni’s system a failure, but he did speak to a need for the coach to find ways to flex everyone’s strengths. D’Antoni has a long, stubborn history of forcing talent to fit into his system, and right now that is clearly playing a part in the unravelling of this season. ‘We need to go back to basics,’ Bryant said. ‘We need to put guys in positions to do what they do best. We need to strip it down. Steve is best in pick-and-roll. Pau is best in the post. I’m best from the free-throw line extended down. Let’s go back to basics. We’ve got to evaluate what’s going on. Management is looking at it. The players are looking at it. I’m looking at myself. I’m shooting a low percentage right now, and I’ve got to look at that. It’s on me to make shots, but I’m having to make tough shots, getting the ball 30 feet from the basket and [expletive] like that. Originally, teams would have to play our pick-and-roll coverage, which left me open on the back side quite a bit. But they’ve made adjustments, and they’ve decided to stay home on Kobe no matter what. So I’m trying to space the floor. I’m trying to do my job the best I can. I try to create opportunities. But most of them are trying to take the ball to the basket with four or five seconds left on the [shot] clock, trying to manufacture tough shots. Listen, no one is more critical of their game, of how they’re playing, than I am. And right now, I’ve got to shoot at a higher percentage, have to play better.'”