A super-entertaining article posted on the L.A. Times web site last night by writer Mike Bresnahan describes a Lakers team meeting held before yesterday’s shootaround in Memphis, where the “guys went at each other a little bit.”
The picture he paints sums up the Lakers circus – it’s pretty much exactly how you would envision it to be:
Kobe Bryant acknowledged in front of teammates that he could be difficult to play with, and wondered aloud whether that was an issue for Howard. Howard’s response was unclear, though he did not engage Bryant in nearly as vocal a manner as Bryant engaged him.
“He didn’t go back at Kobe,” said the person with knowledge of the meeting.
After Wednesday’s game, Bryant wasn’t sure whether his message got through to Howard.
“I don’t know,” he said curtly.
Does he hope it got through?
“No,” he said sarcastically.
It may not be Dwight’s style, but it probably would have been better for everyone if he went right back at Kobe and said what’s really on his mind instead of reeling off passive aggressive comments to the media. At the very least it could have created some sort of open dialogue, right?
Then later in the article:
D’Antoni started the team meeting by saying he was tired of reading newspaper stories about players questioning his offense and wanting more touches. Bryant said after the loss in Chicago that the team need to slow down the pace and employ more post-ups.
D’Antoni also told the team to start worrying less about offense, and more about defense. The Lakers were fifth in scoring (102.6 points a game) but 26th in defense (101.4 points a game) before Wednesday.
Then he asked the players to speak up.
Steve Nash, in his first season with the Lakers, said he didn’t care how the Lakers played, whether it was via pick-and-roll or fastbreak or whatever. He just wanted everybody to be comfortable in the system. It was seen as a sacrifice by Nash, who played four seasons under D’Antoni’s run-and-gun offense in Phoenix and won two MVP awards.
Howard, while talking with reporters after the meeting, tried to hit reset on the Lakers’ season, which reached its midpoint Monday.
“I think this will be the start of a new season for us,” he said.
Read Bresnahan’s full article here.
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