Monday , Aug , 19 , 2013 Elijah Abramson

Mike D’Antoni quietly bashes Dwight Howard

Mike D'Antoni thinks that Dwight Howard held the Lakers back in 2013.

HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: D'Antoni backhandedly bashes Dwight Howard but the Lakers have bigger problems to worry about.

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Mike D’Antoni finally voiced his criticism of the three-time Defensive Player of the Year. Without specifying any names, D’Antoni told Mike Breshnahan of the Los Angeles Times that "if something is sapping [our] energy — distractions, injuries, not feeling good about the team — then you're not going to put your heart and soul into it and it comes out on the defensive end."

While this is far from directly calling out Howard, it’s clear that those “distractions” and “not feeling good about the team” comments could have certainly applied to the superstar center.

In the 2013-14 season, the Lakers will benefit from having a fully healthy Pau Gasol and Steve Nash. But with Kobe Bryant’s return still very much a question mark, the success of the purple and gold is up in the air. The Lakers will go as Kobe goes.

Because of that, there’s little doubt that it will be a difficult season for LA. But is that necessarily a bad thing? As Bill Simmons wrote in a piece on how he’d fix the Lakers, the Lakers would probably benefit most greatly in the long term by tanking this year. Two main hindrances to that: 1) Laker fans might revolt, and 2) Kobe is doing everything in his power to win that sixth ring. In all likelihood, LA will end up as the eighth seed (or lower) in a very deep Western conference—just outside of a lottery pick.

It really is in their best interest to tank this year and end up with a chance at Jabari Parker or Andrew Wiggins in the 2014 NBA Draft.

Even if they did, Kobe’s ability to translate individual greatness into team success is questionable, but isn’t it worth a try? Nash, Kobe, and Gasol are not young guys. In a league built around athletic scorers and versatile players, they could vie for a title in 2014-15 if they improve their player personnel.

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Image credit: Wenn

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