Thoughts on Jordan Farmar’s Torn Hamstring

Darius Soriano —  December 2, 2013

The Lakers announced today that Jordan Farmar will miss at least 4 weeks with a torn hamstring. The reserve point guard commented after the game that he’d experienced tightness in the muscle the last few days and knew he had a problem when he pulled up lame in the 2nd quarter. Well, Farmar’s problem is now the Lakers’ as the point guard is on the shelf and the team is left scrambling for answers.

Before we explore those, however, it’s important to note that losing Farmar is quite the blow to the Lakers. As I mentioned on twitter the other night, Farmar has been one of the Lakers’ better performers recently, putting up some staggeringly good shooting numbers while being a catalyst for some of their best performing lineups. On the season, Farmar is posting a very good PER of 17.8 (good for 2nd on the team) and, after a negative blip in his production a couple of weeks ago, has probably been the team’s best and most consistent performer offensively.

Farmar has also had a very good impact on the defensive side of the ball, holding opposing PG’s to a PER of 8.2 when he’s on the floor. Not to mention, as a team the Lakers boast a defensive efficiency of 96.7 when Farmar is in the game versus a 106.6 when he’s on the bench. This net defensive rating of 9.9 is the best of any of the team’s main rotation players and speaks to the fact that when he is on the floor, the Lakers simply perform better.

Of course these stats don’t tell the entire story, but they do pretty much verify what our eyes tell us. One of the major keys to the Lakers’ success this season is that their bench consistently outperforms their opponents’ on a nightly basis. Farmar may not be the flashiest player on that unit and may not have the name recognition around the league as an important player, but he is the driver behind its success. A big night from Nick Young or a highlight drive and dunk from Xavier Henry may get the air time, but it is Farmar’s ability to score from all over the floor combined with an improved ability to set up his teammates for easy shots that sustain the offense when he’s on the floor. Add that to his improved (at least since his last stint with the Lakers) defense and it’s not a stretch to say the team just lost one of its best players.

Strictly speaking from a statistical and production standpoint, replacing Farmar is near impossible. Scanning the roster, however, makes doing so even harder. You see, besides Steve Blake and Steve Nash, Farmar is the only other true point guard on the roster. In the 2nd half against the Blazers, the Lakers went on a run using a backcourt of Jodie Meeks and Xavier Henry to good success, but down the stretch both made questionable plays against a dialed in defense who forced them to initiate and execute the offense. Moving forward, those two may be able to provide spot minutes as ball handlers, but neither are an actual solution as a point guard for any extended period of time, and especially not for 4 weeks.

If there is any good news to be had at this point it is that both Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant are likely to test their injuries this week in practice, potentially even returning to the lineup soon if things go well. The Lakers don’t play again until this Friday and that should give both the Lakers’ graybeards a good streak of practices to really see if they’re ready to lace up their sneakers and see some game action. Historically, both Kobe and Nash thrive with the ball in their hands and both have proven more than capable of steering an offense in a positive direction. Whether or not they are still able to do so coming off their respective injuries is another question that can’t be answered right now, but, at least in Nash’s case, it’s easy to have doubts. (In terms of Kobe, I have neither doubts nor expectations. What I have is a curiosity to see what he can do. As, I think, does everyone else.)

The flip-side to the potential returns of Kobe and Nash is that the team seems to be in a position where they now desperately need production from them sooner rather than later. For me, at least, the hope was that both could be eased back into the lineup in a way where they were only asked to provide what they were capable of. Now, however, there is more of an impetus for them to perform to a standard that that they may not be capable of reaching right away. Farmar provided a buffer between hoped for production and actual production. With him out, those two potentially return to a lineup in which the need for them just went up. That’s not exactly the best formula considering all the question marks both face. And that’s if they even come back soon — which still isn’t exactly a guarantee.

In summary, what was already a difficult season with real obstacles to overcome just got harder with Farmar going down with injury. How much more this team can take of having their best players on the sideline is not clear, but it looks like we are about to find out.

*Statistical support for this post from NBA.com and 82games.com

Darius Soriano

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32 responses to Thoughts on Jordan Farmar’s Torn Hamstring

  1. Since the Chris Paul trade “called-off”, Lakers seem to hit the downward spiral on their luck with point guards. If we had CP3, we wouldn’t have lost Dwight. We got Steve Nash, but he is really at the end of his career. Just when you think Lakers got a gift with Farmar returning to LA, then this injury bad luck hits again. When will this point guard nightmare end? Can Mitch find another Van Excel at 37th pick?

  2. 5d2, Lakers had a young Ramon Sessions, preferred an old Steve Nash.

    Hoops Hype top 10 list of available free agent pg’s: http://hoopshype.com/free_agency/point_guards.htm. Slim pickings. Two are former Lakers. :-(

  3. these things happen in a season. they’re part of what makes absolute predictions impossible.

  4. I would go to the scrapyard and give out some non-guaranteed contracts to the likes of Shannon Brown and/or Kendall Marshall, both of whom have been waived by the Wizards on the Okafor/Gortat exchange.

    I’m hoping Nash finds his health this week and plays like crazy. I may be daydreaming though. As for Kobe, he needs more time to get his body into game shape. He’s quite “round” last I saw him.

  5. Jordan was really playing well. And as someone who has played with Kobe before, he may be able to help the newcomers adapt to the nuances of playing with the Mamba. Farm won’t be in awe of Kobe. A huge loss for The Show. Excellent points, Darius.

  6. The good news is that the Jazz defeated the Rockets.
    Wishing Farmar a speedy, & healthy, recovery!

  7. Big City, you are right. Maybe time to give Darius Morris another look. In today’s NBA, a sharp shooting point guard is so vital for team’s successs, unless, you happen to get Lebron.

  8. we’ll likely see something resembling last year’s office, w/ kobe facilitating and nash playing off-ball. dantoni will likely use blake to play point for the 2nd unit.

    if that’s the case, there’ll be an even more glaring speed difference (on offense AND defense) between the starters and bench. not saying that fast is necessarily better than slow (depends on conrol in either scenario), but the starters will definitely be more deliberate about setting things up (you can take the player out of the triangle, but you can’t take the triangle out of the player).

  9. Robert,
    That’s the billion dollar question. And as always it depends. How many great players are available in what time span to the lakers. A team needs three top level players at least. As I’ve said now that the Lakers have signed Kobe to basically more than a max deal it seems to me they are on at least a three year plan of stalking up lottery pics before even really attempting to sign a top level max free agent and/ or trading for one.

  10. Signing Darius Morris is a no-brainer. Has been on our team as recently as last year, knows the coach and players, was a project of Kobe. 6’5″ and can handle the ball. Go get him.

  11. Kobe dunking in practice….

  12. Farmar Injury: Very unfortunate, and MD had the team playing very well (yes I said it). However on the bright side, the KB minutes had to come from somewhere, so there are now less minutes that need to be taken from others.
    Aaron: I was hoping you were going to give me a light at the end of the tunnel that I had not yet seen. However instead – you are saying that we will bide time for 2 1/2 years and then hope to strike with accumulated lottery picks. Of course if we have a borderline playoff team, that doesn’t help our odds in the lottery.
    5d2: “Since the Chris Paul trade “called-off”, Lakers seem to hit the downward spiral ” I know I truncated the last part of your sentence. I did that so someone could see that his long term vision is right on target.
    Kobe Return: I am not getting these fear monger comments that everything will be destroyed. What will be destroyed? So without Kobe we are tied for 8th place and if he upsets things we might drop to 10th? Think about that for a second.

  13. Robert’s dead on – kobe/Nash’s return either make this team a lot better and a legit playoff team – or they hasten the demise to the lottery and a quicker turn around. Either way the Lkaers won’t stay in mediocrity

  14. So without Kobe we are tied for 8th place and if he upsets things we might drop to 10th? Think about that for a second.

    Robert, I agree with you here. It’s not like the Lakers are in a tight race for 1st in the Pacific Division. With that said we know the Lakers aren’t really playing for this year. And I still expect them to miss the playoffs. The West is so crazy that after 20 games there are SEVEN teams that are all but assured a playoff spot and another five who can beat any given team on any night. (Our Lakers are part of the second group.)

    I’m looking more at development of our minimum salary guys. Every top level team has a group of cheap role players who help put their teams over the top. All of our role players won’t pan out. But there may be a couple of gems sitting on the Lakers bench right now. I’d rather see those guys ball out even if they lose. It does more for their development. And make no mistake, the Lakers are in pure development mode right now.

    Plus, with Kobe I am more concerned about him knowing his limits and not having relapse. That will be the real issue to watch.

  15. T.Rogers-relapse is impossible. the tendon is as strong or stronger than before. injuries to other body parts is the bugaboo to avoid, since the natural tendency to protect the part that was injured can put stress in other places….

    if you remember, Kobe has been talking about being sure that he is moving with the proper gait. the reason for this is to avoid the chain of injuries that are possible from overcompensating for the original injury.

  16. This injury hurts the Lakers, yes, but more to the point it hurts a young man that turned down a 5 million contract to return to the Lakers. To his credit he honed his skills and matured while overseas. For the most part, Farmar excelled as the Lakers pg and has been a stabilizing force for the bench, so in this regards the Lakers will miss his production on the team. I have an affinity for Farmar as he was drafted by the Lakers and it doesn’t hurt that he’s a UCLA alum.

    In the game that he came up gimpy, he sat on the bench in street clothes and tried to give the players pointers down the stretch. Now that’s a Laker.

  17. Darius Morris would be good pick up. Surprised he was cut by Philly a few days after being their leading scorer in a game. Was there more to his waiving than a roster spot?

  18. as per MDA saying – Lakers have no plans to get another pg immediately – will use blake and kobe to facilitate, and mda even gave props to Henry for his play last night. Nash is being very cautious though feeling good so guess they’ll try and go another week and see where he is before they pull the trigger on another pickup

  19. Since Henry’s first breakout game in preseason, I thought he was a perfect candidate to improve his ball handling skills to become a combo guard, and thereby increase his opportunity to better his position with the Lakers. It won’t happen overnight but it’s a skill that he should explore improving this off season. Most players are a bit myopic when they suddenly have to play guard, they think score, score, score, and in the last game Henry was no different.

    If the decision to add a pg becomes necessary, the idea of infusing the team with another non-Lakers retread is appealing: I’d like to see Seth Curry in a Lakers uniform.

  20. Tra,
    Thanks for the link to the KDing article, it´s very, very good (when isn´t Ding very good? ;) .
    This in particular stood out for me:

    Consider that Pau Gasol is extra excited for Bryant to play because it’s palpable just how much this group wants Bryant to succeed.
    “The way everybody looks up to him,” Gasol said, “will translate into energy and communication and cohesiveness.”

    The Mamba is one of a kind. As I´ve said in ñthe past, thank the basketball universe he´s in our beloved Purple&Gold.

  21. If Jordan was experiencing tightness,maybe he should have sat out until it was lose,even missing a game or two. Whoever is signed should be on a short term contract,with Morris being the #1 target because of his experience with the coach and team.

  22. Sad about Farmar.

    What about Steve “DNP” Nash? Will the Phoenecian ever actually play again for the Lakers? If he will, we need to worry about getting a working big, more than another guard. That is what stands between us and another Sweet Victory Parade!!

    GOOOOoooOOOOOOO LAKERS !!!

  23. Off Lakers:

    Two pg’s that messed around and had a triple double: Oladipo (ORL) 26, 10, 10 and Carter-Williams (PHI) 27, 12, 10.

    So many young pg’s on the rise, which ones will be standing 10 years from now?

  24. Sucks to hear this about Farmar. Still, hoping that Nash is the answer is a vain dream; the guy’s done, and even if he does get minutes his defense is so awful anymore that it will create problems on that side of the floor.

  25. I would welcome seeing if curry could do anything – we missed out on Marc to get Pau but if there could be a similar value in seth compared to steph its worth a shot — especially in MDAs system

  26. I agree with those who are saying we should sign Seth Curry. He obviously isn’t as good as his brother, but may be worth a look.

    http://www.nba.com/dleague/playerfile/seth_curry/index.html

    His 3pt% is a bit lower than expected, but if he can bring the ball upcourt, play the pick and roll and knock them down when he’s open, I’m all for it. To my understanding, he’s not under cotnract with GSW or is he?

    I’m also on board with bringing Darius Morris in. We need some help on D at the PG position, and I think he may be able to provide just that.

  27. Farmar is my favorite Laker. I always liked him. Athletic and clutch

  28. I’d prefer us to get Kendall Marshall and Shannon Brown. Seth Curry isn’t bad but we only have one roster spot and the role to fill is only temporary.

  29. Kendall was a bust but who knows. Shannon is under contract, if I’m not mistaken. Plus, Shannon cannot play point, which is our current (and temporary) need…

    Seth or Morris could fill in temporarily, imo.

  30. Things could be worse. Last year Duhon and Morris were are starting PG by seasons end.

    I am ok with Blake and some new guy named Kobe. Hope he’s good!