Even after two wins in a row, including a big win over the Oklahoma City Thunder, there’s no denying that the L.A. Lakers are still a big mess. Eventually they’re going to figure out that Dwight Howard is one of the big reasons why.
During the Lakers’ game against the Thunder, ESPN broadcaster Jeff Van Gundy went on one of his classic rants (video below), calling out Howard’s attitude. Van Gundy seems to think Howard won’t be happy unless he’s the go-to guy on a championship team with no hassle from the coaching staff or any of his teammates. Obviously those are unrealistic aspirations because Howard has shown that he really only thrives when he’s not the main focal point of defensive attention.
I’ve seen a lot of speculation over the last couple weeks that the Lakers would get rid of Howard unless things started improving quickly. They know they need to unclog the post and they can’t get rid of Pau Gasol because Dwight is a free agent at the end of the year and could bolt. Then where would the Lakers be?
Speaking of Gasol, Van Gundy also called him out during his lecture to the Lakers. He says Gasol needs to learn to be more like San Antonio Spurs' Manu Ginobili at the 1:45 point in video below. If the team needs him to come off the bench, he needs to accept that role and be happy with it. No complaints.
No matter how the playing time and touches get divided, Van Gundy was right about one thing for sure. The Lakers need to stop whining, especially to the media. A team will never thrive when they’re constantly calling out teammates and coaches and subsequently apologizing for their comments.
Sitting tied for 10th in the Western Conference, the Lakers obviously need to do something drastic if they want to make the playoffs and have a shot at going anywhere. It starts with Howard and Gasol, but everyone needs a major attitude adjustment.
Maybe Jeff Van Gundy should coach the team.