The Los Angeles Lakers practiced Monday afternoon before hopping on a plane to Dallas to embark on a three game road-trip. After giving up a 21-point lead last night and beating the Atlanta Hawks by just two points, Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni is looking for consistency over the next three games on the road.
With an 11-man rotation, however, that consistency becomes hard to find:
It is what it is…until you separate yourself from the pack,” D’Antoni said at the Lakers practice facility. “It’s not simple. If it was simple with 11 guys, then everybody would have 11.”
D’Antoni also said he understands the frustrations amongst the players and addresses them on a daily basis. As D’Antoni said, it’s natural for players to want more minutes. Yesterday, Lakers back-up center Chris Kaman voiced his desire to play more minutes alongside Pau Gasol.
It is frustrating when you play 13, 12, 18 (mins), I want it to be consistent. But at the same time I’m willing to be patient.”
Does Gasol feel the same way about playing alongside Kaman? After today’s practice, Pau also said that he’d like Kaman to see more time on the floor, but understands the unfortunate setback Kaman had as he was out for almost a week and a half at the end of the preseason with stomach issues. Gasol even guessed that Kaman would probably be starting alongside him if Kaman hadn’t been sidelined with gastroenteritis.
Kaman, though, isn’t the only big man Gasol would like to see share more time on the floor. Pau also mentioned that he’d like to see Jordan Hill get more minutes and acknowledged that although Hill may not fit perfectly in D’Antoni’s system, his energy and effort outweighs some of those issues. Pau does feel that the team is most effective when they are “bigger and stronger.”
Jordan Hill – the minutes he’s been out there, I think he’s had a huge impact and helped us win the Clipper game and helped us win last night so, even thought he might not be perfect for the system and the spacing, his energy and effort makes up for a lot of things.”
Only so many minutes can go around, 48 to be exact. Though D’Antoni doesn’t have a timetable, the sooner he can figure out set line-ups, the more effective this Laker team will be.
VIDEO: Check Out What Mike D’Antoni Had To Say About The Rotation: