The 2012-13 campaign for the Los Angeles Lakers was a bizarre one to say the least. It began with the team acquiring both Steve Nash and Dwight Howard to play along side Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol. Mike Brown hired on Eddie Jordan to employ the Princeton Offense, and the team had a less than torrid start to the season as they finished the preseason without a win, and started the regular season 1-4.
At the end of that five game stretch, Brown was fired and Mike D’Antoni was brought on, in place of Phil Jackson, to lead this team. However, Steve Nash was hurt at the time of D’Antoni’s hiring and the roster was full of aging veterans who weren’t exactly equipped to run his Seven Seconds or Less offense.
D’Antoni sat down with ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith to talk about last season and discussed some of the mistakes he made.
“We tried to spread the floor more than probably what we could. We tried to get Pau out on the wings more than what was good for the team. We tried to run, probably too much, we had to find a rhythm that we could run at. Think that was the biggest things — how do we want to play, what style do we want to play.
“The biggest reason why it took longer than what I hoped is because Nash was out the whole time. I kept thinking, when Nash is back, this will all fall into place.”
Obviously, things didn’t fall into place. The Lakers picked things up a bit in the second half of the season, but a plethora of injuries had them limping into the playoffs, and saw them get bounced in the first round by the San Antonio Spurs.
This year, the roster is a bit more geared toward his style, and some of the new additions to the team will be able to push the pace a little more than the Lakers did last season. Nick Young and Jordan Farmar should be able to push the pace, and should either Wes Johnson or Marcus Landy make the team, they’ll be able to help with spreading the floor.
Returning role players in Jordan Hill and Jodie Meeks can also play crucial roles for D’Antoni this year. Hill was excellent on the glass, especially on the offensive end and Meeks recorded his lowest eFG% since his second year in the league, it’s not likely that he shoots as low as 35 percent from three again (still 12 percentage points above the league average). Steve Blake should also play a vital role as he’s proven that he can run the offense effectively with both the first and second units.
This year will be interesting, to say the least. The expectations for this season are no where near what they were last year, but the roster is more suited to run D’Antoni’s run-and-gun style. A full training camp will surely help his cause as well.