About the only thing the Lakers achieved in seven seconds or less last season was making their coach regret saying his team should "easily" average 110-115 points per game when he took the job. "Yeah well I was on drugs back then" Mike D'Antoni said Monday with a chuckle referring to the pain medication he was taking while recovering from knee surgery. "My knee was hurting. Vicodin was killing me." The Lakers didn't exactly die a slow death on the court in a season that fell far short of expectations averaging 102.2 points (sixth in the NBA) and 96.8 possessions per game (fourth). But they also didn't resemble the shot-clock-defying offenses D'Antoni ran in Phoenix that generated the seven-seconds-or-less mantra. Which kind of pace does D'Antoni envision the Lakers running this season? "It won't be crazy" he said "but we want to push it and get a nice pace. We want to get some easy buckets before the defense sets up so we'll be up in the top five probably in pace but it won't be breakneck speed." Playing at a faster tempo seems to be more of an option this season because the team got younger and more athletic with the additions of Nick Young Jordan Farmar and Wesley Johnson. "I think we have to utilize our wings their speed and athleticism" forward Pau Gasol said "but not too much faster than we did last year because I think we still have to play at somewhat of a controlled pace and a pace that everybody's comfortable with." Can he cut it? Ryan Kelly has gone from the Final Four to the final four. The rookie from Duke who won a national championship as a freshman is one of five Lakers with either partially guaranteed or nonguaranteed contracts vying for as many as four remaining roster spots. The others are Xavier Henry Elias Harris Shawne Williams and Marcus Landry. Kelly made his preseason debut during the Lakers' trip to China looking somewhat shaky as expected for someone who had not played since April after having surgery on his right foot.
Mike D'Antoni lowers expectations for Lakers' pace
Los Angeles Times | Oct 22