What the Los Angeles Lakers look like on the floor once training camp starts September 28th, and the regular season on October 29th vs the Clippers is anyone’s guess. Like the ongoing experiment with the Philadelphia Eagles we are familiar with the parties involved, but prior to the season we still have no idea what it’s going to look like when it does. With an older, torn Achilles Kobe Bryant out of the lineup, even the most die-hard Lakers fans aren’t too optimistic about it.
In the Lakers drama of aging, injured players a long-time, but increasingly more central, character is Lakers trainer Gary Vitti. When asked about the condition of Steve Nash on Monday, the Lakers trainer suggested to the Los Aneeles Daily News that the 39 year old Canadian Point Guard,
might be a guy that would be better off reducing his minutes.
Vitti’s medical expertise has given him plenty of quantifiable data which concludes the sublimely obvious: older players don’t require, nor improve from added playing time. Their aging bodies do not generally respond too well.
Vitti went on to explain what he meant
Because he wasn’t himself last year, let’s see what he’s like in camp. We’re not going to beat the guy up.
Yes, we get it, aging players do not respond well to increased minutes, so why is Vitti harping on it? For our benefit? I’m not a doctor, but I’m pretty sure that when older players play too many minutes they. . .OHHH, I get it. That was slick Gary.
Gary Vitti is a cagey veteran, and this is straight out of the Phil Jackson in the playoffs playbook. Coming to the media to get a point across? That is a sly, veteran move for Vitti. So listen up to whom it may concern: Hint, Mike D’Antoni.
Vitti has enough credibility to tell Mike D’Antoni this advice straight up, but look at the tale of the tape. D’Antoni (with little other options mind you) played Kobe and his other aging stars an absurd amount of minutes last season–something Phil Jackson was never characterized to do, or needed to. Throughout the whole season this trend continued. Kobe averaged just under 39 minutes per game, Pau averaged 34 along with Metta, and 33 for Nash. To be a little fair to Mike D’Antoni it’s the same amount Mike Brown played Kobe, but more than 5 minutes per game more then Phil.
Gary Vitti went to the media, even if he only asnwered the question, to give Mike DAntoni the answer: don’t play Steve Nash and other aging dudes so much. They can’t take it. D’Antoni might not be able to keep his job, but this is a certain way to lose it in a hurry.