Like many Lleyton Hewitt fans, I watch some of current matches and cringe as he helplessly falls short of balls he could have moonwalked to 5-10 years ago, but it's not our place to tell him to retire.
The constant example people use, and is in this article, is Andy Roddick who bowed out at 29 because he realised he couldn't win Grand Slams anymore. And that's great, I respect Roddick deeply. But Lleyton Hewitt isn't still here because he thinks he can win every Grand Slam (though he plays like he does, and that's brilliant). He's playing tennis because he still loves the game, and knows that when he retires he won't be able to do this anymore. Who are we to tell him to stop? Because we expect him to rediscover some lost form from years ago? Whether or not he can still make the Top 32 when healthy is irrelevant to this point, his playing career shouldn't be dictated by whether or not he's meeting our expectations of him. Let him decide when he doesn't love tennis.
And adding on to your point, I'd much rather watch a game with a player like Lleyton who pumps himself and the crowd up with "C'mons!" than those players who try to pretend like the crowd isn't there during their match. Being at the Open is so much more fun when you're watching someone who engages the crowd, I believe. I couldn't imagine calling Lleyton's on-court actions anything but entertaining.
I wholeheartedly agree with you on the point that D'Antoni was never the right man for the job. But firing him now would essentially be throwing in the towel for the season, and serve a huge blow to the galvanising the Lakers' unit . If we were playing 'replace the coach' though, you'd be hard pressed to find the right fit. Phil Jackson nor Jerry Sloan are touching this mess, and I don't think Dunleavy or Van Gundy are good enough.
The issues for the Lakers are beyond the coach, their execution has been horrible. No one seemed to really realise that Gasol and Howard are both only effective in the post, and the injuries haven't helped. Nash looks absolutely lost without his standard usage rate, mainly to the detriment of his scoring. I read a great piece on SB's Lakers Nation blog which was a renewed call for D'Antoni to appoint Nate McMillan (ex Blazers coach, 2012 Team USA assistant with MDA) as defensive co-ordinator. I think that move would be brilliant.
This season's mess falls on the shoulders of Jim Buss and Jim Buss only. No one should critique Mitch Kupchak for acquiring Steve Nash or Dwight Howard. God forbid, how much worse off would we be with Kobe Bryant, Ramon Sessions and Pau Gasol running the floor while Andrew Bynum watches on?
There's a lot to fix, maybe an insurmountable amount, but I don't believe it's going to come by axing another head coach.