Around The World (Wide Web): The Bench, Injuries, Nash

Ryan Cole —  November 26, 2012

From Mike Bresnahan, LA Times: Chris Duhon walked toward the Lakers’ bench during a timeout, saw a group of reporters sitting nearby and yelled at them. “Second unit!” he said, accompanying it with a wink during a solid in-game run by the Lakers’ reserves. Yes, he has read about it too. The Lakers’ backups have been anything but supportive, so inept that the starters have racked up huge minutes four weeks into the season. It’s generally unwise to count two games as a trend, but the bench wasn’t half bad over the holiday weekend. Antawn Jamison emerged for the first time this season, averaging 17.5 points and 11 rebounds against Memphis and Dallas. Jodie Meeks scored 12 points against Dallas. In a side note, third-string point guard Darius Morris has played well enough to carve out future playing time for himself when Steve Nash and Steve Blake return. Jamison, however, is the key.

From Kevin Ding, OC Register: Pau Gasol said after the Lakers’ victory Saturday night that he has tendinitis in both knees that has been “pretty bothersome.” Gasol has been wearing bands over both knees during games for a while in an attempt to control the swelling and pain. He said: “It’s something that has been lingering. So far, I’m dealing with it.” Knee pain certainly is an issue for Gasol in meeting the lofty demands of Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni to run the floor and bring energy, although Gasol managed to do exactly those things in the victory in Dallas. Gasol is coming off minimal offseason rest as the anchor of the Spanish national team that won the silver medal in the London Olympics. He said the knees didn’t bother him then, but they are now. Kobe Bryant noted after the loss in Sacramento on Wednesday that Gasol looked slow, and he had another poor game Friday in Memphis.

 From Ben R, Silver Screen & Roll: We have discussed at length the past few weeks about the necessity of a coach being able to sell his system to his players, one of the more important delineations of the differences between Phil Jackson and Mike Brown, as well as Brown and Mike D’Antoni. That many of the Lakers’ ancillary players appear to be flourishing is testament to this facet. For the first time in more than year, however, we have the benefit of a coach in D’Antoni actually adept at not only the aforementioned skill, but of making the proper adjustments to adapt his system to his players, as we went from two straight games of awful production from the Lakers’ frontcourt to a very respectable output against Dallas. This is only D’Antoni’s fourth game on the job and he has disproven, at least at the moment, that he is wedded to the specific kind of system he ran with Steve Nash in Phoenix. Ultimately, coaches put their players in positions to succeed through ideal personnel groupings, using them in the correct spots on offense, and managing their minutes. As the common refrain goes, you build your system to complement your players, not the other way around. This was Brown’s error and the fact that D’Antoni was capable of making the necessary changes might strike one as a simple change, but it is an important one. The end result has been that essentially everyone, from the starters to the bench, are being involved in the flow of the offense and the highly egalitarian scoring distribution against Dallas is what you want to see from an offense supposed to rely on the ball constantly moving to the open man.

From Mark Medina, LA Daily News:  There’s no one more eager for Steve Nash’s return than Kobe Bryant. The reasons are obvious. “I won’t have to bring the ball up as much. I like facilitating, but I like to score a lot more,” Bryant said. “When he comes back, he’ll make my life a lot easier.” It remains unclear when that will happen. The Lakers plan to re-evaluate Nash’s fractured left leg sometime today. Nash has yet to perform any running exercises. The guard also recently expressed doubts he’d play when the Lakers (7-7) host the Indiana Pacers (6-8) on Tuesday at Staples Center. It’s possible Bryant could find some relief since Steve Blake might play against Indiana after a lower abdominal strain kept him out for the past seven games. Bryant has shared ball-handling duties with starting point guard Darius Morris and reserve Chris Duhon. Bryant, who’s averaging a league-leading 26.9 points per game, still appears eager to score. But he’s also had at least five assists in eight of the Lakers’ 14 games. In the Lakers’ 115-89 victory Saturday over the Dallas Mavericks, Bryant took zero field-goal attempts in the first quarter in hopes of involving others early. Metta World Peace responded with 16 points.

 From Ramona Shelburne, ESPN Los Angeles: Steve Nash stands a shade over 6-foot-3 when his latest hairdo is freshly combed, dresses well, has a wicked sense of humor and is one of the more socially conscious athletes in professional sports. One day he will be a Hall of Famer. For as long as he plays, he’ll be one of the best point guards in the game. But to hear the Los Angeles Lakers, particularly coach Mike D’Antoni, talk about him of late, he’s become more mythic superhero than man. “In Phoenix, we couldn’t win without him,” D’Antoni said reverentially. “Not even a game.” On Saturday evening, the Lakers won their seventh game without Nash, a 115-89 blowout of the Dallas Mavericks that stopped the bleeding after two straight buzz-killing road losses this week. But there was no celebration in the Lakers’ locker room. Relief, maybe. A few smiles, sure. But it’s become clear to all involved that we really won’t know anything about these Lakers — D’Antoni’s Lakers — until Nash, who has been out since Oct. 31 with a fractured leg, is ready to run ’em again.


Ryan Cole


to Around The World (Wide Web): The Bench, Injuries, Nash

  1. This is absolutely a good sign from Chris Duhon it shows he is aware the reserves have under performed and pride was taken in a bench break it.hopefully our other 2nd stringers feel the same wearing a laker uniform.


  2. Jamison has only done twice what he should do every game.Score.Rebound! Rebound again! Score some more!i won’t be excited until he shows in as many games as he’s vanished that’s his heart is set on doing didn’t come here for three shots and four points per game.we know what you can do it.


  3. Morris has shown feasible potential.if we don’t develop a young fit 6″5 point guard that plays defense and could with with training practice comfort and confidence become a solid contributor and have 10 times the chance of slowing down Westbrook and other athletic point guards that run us over constantly..I’m convinced our management is taking bribes from every team with a star point guard in the N.B.A.


  4. If you were Coach D’Antoni, how would you wrestle with the injury problem of tendinitis? Rest and use him on the 2nd unit as post up Center than a uptempo one or no use of him at all. As such, Hill has to replace Pau in the starting line up. Will the Coach go with that strategy? What else can you do, put Jamison in place of Pau?

    I think our new Coach should pace his players based on their capabilities at this time. Don’t force the issue of running game if they’re not suit to it. This is like preparing your formula car for the Indy in 2013, you take one step at a time and improve the car until it becomes in a tip top condition. If you keep on forcing to race that it cannot perform, then you are inviting disaster and accumulating losses as well. What I’m saying, work out with Pau and Hill until they fit the D’Antoni system. They are your players to keep and nothing will work out if FO keeps on changing every time it plays on the road. This is a Championship team on paper, a good Coach can turn this theory into reality.


  5. What our Minutes should look like when everybody’s healthy:

    PG: Nash (28 min), Morris (14 min), (Duhon 6 min)
    SG Kobe (33 min), Meeks (15 min)
    SF Ron (30 min), Jamison (8 mins), Ebanks (10 mins)
    PF: Pau (19 min), Jamison (15 min), Hill (14 Min)
    C: Dwight (34 min), Pau (14 min)

    That’ll put:
    Nash (28)
    Kobe (33)
    Ron (30)
    Pau (33)
    Dwight (34)

    All would be getting decent rest and being paired with the right guys around them. Dwight and Ja-mo should spend the majority of Antawn’s time together and Pau teamed with Hill will let Pau work the post for almost half his time out there and be teamed with a gritty tough defender and rebounder. Kobe and Morris are solid together and you’d love having Nash passing to Meeks and Ron for a lot of the time he’s out there. I think its paramount to have 2 of the big 4 out there at all times with all 4 starting and closing games in most instances. Kobe and Pau are great together and I’m still salivating waiting for Dwight and Nash to run P&R to me those are your main star pairings. MDA has done better with rotations but starters are still logging too many minutes when realistically only Dwight should be getting heavy minutes but we have to protect his back. Also I think Steve Blake should be out of the rotation. Morris and Duhon held their own and in my eyes, earned some minutes. Blake constantly disappoints.


  6. I won’t break down minutes but i see you put some thought to that.i feel we have the best shot another banner with Morris and hill starting.Morris playing the first 4 to 6 minutes depending on his performance what this gives us is a scoring hustling rebounding defense first unit.the ball finds kobe regaurdless.teach Morris to find Howard early in the clock..a wide open metta,kobe or hill close to the basket.charge this unit with getting an early lead by playing hard nose defense.they are all capable of that.


  7. In comes Nash Pau Meeks Jamison Clark.Nash can make jamison and Pau both beasts.spread the floor making space for Pau at center.yes.he’s still good.Pau just needs to play closer to the basket.we will love it.tell Meeks if he doesn’t have a shot..pass.don’t dribble.have Clark focus on offensive and defensive rebounding even if he doesn’t score a point.but between Nash Pau Jamison and Meeks we have more than enough fire power, dare i say it? In the second unit! if nash enters 4 minutes in he plays with the first and second unit for those hell bent on seeing him with Kobe and Dwight.Dwight and Pau are both beasts again because they don’t share post plays or rebounds.Grand prize?second unit that can rival the clippers first unit that can compete with okc.


  8. Edwin

    Clearly the Pau with current injury will not allow this team to get much better. I say start Jamison and rest Pau now. Games of 8 points and giving up 18 hurts. Rather see a health, rested Pau then a guy with minus 23 games.

    Lakers can win without him now but of course need him 100% by playoffs.


  9. Mindframe wouldn’t you rather see the Gasol/Hill combo and the Howard/Jamison combo instead of the inverse?