We’ve exhausted the storyline of how little Mike D’Antoni actually had the chance to run his system due to a plethora of factors in 2012-13.
But with an entire offseason of planning, a full training camp and some added shooters, 2013-14 should be a different story.
Among the most important shots in D’Antoni’s system is the corner three pointer, as the corners provide the necessary width to open up space in the middle of the floor for screen/roll and other sets. As such, a guard and a forward are instructed to get to those spots at almost all times once the half court line is breached.
The five Lakers most likely to be standing in the corners next season are: Jodie Meeks, Nick Young, Jordan Farmar, Wesley Johnson and Steve Blake. Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash will be there from time to time, but they often have the ball in their hands, more likely to be setting up corner attempts.
Last season, Meeks didn’t shoot the ball as well from the corners as one might expect due to his pretty stroke and quick release. He shot 34.48 percent from the left corner and 41.86 percent from the right corner.
JODIE MEEKS: 2012-13
Young, meanwhile, was no better, hitting 18.42 percent from the left side and 32.26 from the right.
NICK YOUNG: 2012-13 (in Philadelphia)
New player development coach Larry Lewis told me that he’s already been watching tape of how players like Joe Johnson and Raja Bell used to get their shots in D’Antoni’s system, so that he can share it with Young, Meeks and Co. Bell drained 47.15 percent on the left and 44.9 percent on the right in 2005-06, while Johnson connected on 49.47 and 53.85 percent, respectively, in 2004-05:
JOE JOHNSON: 2005-06 (Phoenix)
Wesley Johnson wasn’t great from the corners last season (32.14 percent left, 34.78 percent right), and while Blake was off from the left (32.43 percent), he was red hot from the right, draining 15 of 24 attempts (62.5 percent).
Farmar had a very small sample size in his last NBA season (2011-12), but was terrific from the corners, hitting 53.85 percent from the left and 45.45 percent from the right, rivaling Joe Johnson’s success rate (though JJ did take 175 more shots than Farmar’s 24).
For more D’Antoni comps, you can look at Steve Novak in 2011-12 (46.15 left, 50.0 right), but the perception has long been that shooters have some had their best numbers operating his system. That’s certainly the case for Johnson, who’s never replicated his corner numbers since that 2004-05 campaign, albeit in part because he’s done more ball-handling and less spotting up.
L.A.’s prospective corner shooters will have to show that they can splash the nets while Nash, Bryant and Pau Gasol create shots, but the opportunities will certainly be there.