The International Blogtable: Dwight and D'Antoni


Every week, the International Blogtable brings together some of the best basketball minds from around the world, posing a burning question to writers and editors from the NBA's fleet of international web destinations. It's a BIG world, after all.
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Can Dwight Howard and Mike D’Antoni coexist? If yes, how?
Pawel Weszka
Editor, NBA Africa

They can -- and probably will have to. After the disappointing 2012-13 campaign, the Lakers’ frustrations must be going from the bench players to the front office. D’Antoni will have to find a way of trusting Howard more and building around him, while also gaining respect of the star player and helping him mature. In the end, though, they both will need Kobe to lead the team -- instead of picking a side. It’s not about Howard or D’Antoni after all, but about bringing this fragmented Lakers team back to winning ways. Neither D’Antoni nor Howard can do it alone.
Hanson Guan
Editor, NBA China

There's no room for a traditional center under Mike D'Antoni's system. Even if the Lakers had made their way into the playoffs, it wouldn't have helped solve the problem between D'Antoni and Dwight Howard. It's inevitable that they've had trouble working together, while the relationship between Dwight and Kobe Bryant hasn't been what it was thought to be. Dwight's personality and playing style mean he shouldn't play under D'Antoni.
Philipp Dornhegge

They did for almost a year, so obviously they can -- somehow. I'm not at all convinced though that theirs would be a fruitful relationship going forward, though. Howard seems to think the same and appears to be seriously considering leaving L.A. And he has several solid options: his hometown (Hawks), and up-and-coming team with a great coach and teacher of low-post moves (Rockets) and a western powerhouse with the perfect complementary frontcourt player, a top four coach and a fun owner (Mavericks). They're all in a better place than the Lakers right now, and Howard certainly knows it.
Eduardo Schell
Editor, NBA España

Two ways of building a team: you sign the appropriate players according to the coach' playing style or you sign the appropiate coach according to the already existing players. So it was quite astonishing when the Lakers signed D'Antoni, having two big dominant guys like Pau and Dwight on the roster. At the end, D'Antoni changed his style somewhat with the Lakers' backs to the wall, and for sure DH can play with MD with a healthy Nash as point guard but I doubt the Lakers can really take advantage of PG+DH if MD stays true to his original basketball playing style
Stefanos Triantafyllos
Editor, NBA Greece

We have to be fair with Dwight Howard. It was a tough season for him, as he struggled after his back surgery. I think that he was never at the level he was playing in his years in Orlando. So, we must not rush to conclusion. After all, it's not his fault that the Lakes lacked good chemistry and offensive balance. Now it's the time to figure out if they want to support their guy in the middle, by adding the right pieces around him: slashers than can feed him in the lane or forwards capable of stretching the floor. As to whether he can work with coach D' Antoni? When it comes to winning, everybody has to make a step back for the team's good. So if the Lakers want to return to the league's elite they have to have a healthy Kobe, less talking and more playing. Coaches coach and players play. D' Antoni and Howard have proven than they can do their job right.
Karan Madhok
Blogger, NBA India

An improbable task, but definitely not impossible. The tension-riddled relationship of Larry Brown and Allen Iverson managed to co-exist and enjoy a successful run. Phil Jackson returned to coach the Lakers and win two more rings even after writing some scandalous words about Kobe Bryant in his 2004 book ‘The Last Season’. Coaches and players have little feuds all the time, and many survive through it. So yes, Howard and D’Antoni can certainly co-exist, but it will take a change in philosophy on both ends. D’Antoni will have to make adjustments to fit his system around his players (instead of the other way around), think defense-first, and thus give Howard a bigger role in the team. Howard will have to toughen up and follow the evolution of Bryant in becoming a more consummate professional, supporting his coaches and players publicly until the very end.
Aldo Avinante

Yes. Remember they only have one season under their belts. The Lakers' supposed failures were magnified because of their personnel. Dwight looked dominant in the home stretch of the regular season and even though the Lakers looked like they failed miserably under D'Antoni, what truly did them in was their injuries. All of their key players sustained nagging injuries at some point of the season. More than anything else, their chemistry was really shaky because of their frequent lineup changes. Not everything could be worked out in one season -- another full training camp plus bereft of injuries could be the key.