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Los Angeles Lakers’ general manager Mitch Kupchak thinks most of the Lakers’ issues deal with the player’s efforts. Although, the players don’t control lineup changes, player minutes, or strategic plays.
According to NBC Southern California, Kupchak said in an interview, “It's the coach's job to adjust and to make changes. Sometimes a player is just not going to fit. Sometimes a coach has to make changes and compromise in the way he's done things and I think that's what Mike is going through right now is just the process."
The general manager seems to think that D’Antoni takes less blame than the players. It’s hard to believe that’s the case when the head coach is using a fast paced offensive for an older team. It’s also hard to believe that he gets less blame when the coach decides which player starts and who plays together.
D’Antoni has benched forward Pau Gasol earlier in the season and has now moved him to the second unit. These changes only hinder the Lakers, not help them.
ESPN reports that Kupchak also said, "I'm a little bit concerned about our effort. I'd like to see better effort on the court. When the ball is not bouncing your way, when shots aren't going in, you just can't seem to get a break, the one thing you can control on the court is your effort and loose balls and running the floor, defending, offensive rebounding. I think back to the Miami game and I have that vision of LeBron (James) diving on that ball at midcourt. That's effort. It's natural when things get tough to hesitate and be unsure, lose confidence. That's one thing that we can't let happen. We have to maintain our confidence and our effort more than anything has to be at an all-time (high) to get through this period."
Blame constantly gets placed on players for defensive efforts, as players from all-star Kobe Bryant to Ron Artest have missed defensive assignments and let players get away with scoring stretches due to miscommunication, lackadaisical playing style and simply not being quick enough.
Offensively though, the Lakers aren’t using their big men together which is their major advantage. They have Dwight Howard and Gasol on the same team, which presents a major height advantage, and the coach doesn’t want them in at the same time, nor will he have plays for the ball to rotate into the post. This just takes your competitive advantage away and forces you to rely on your guards. This is the coach’s fault.