Well, when it rains, it pours for the Lakers. Steve Nash has been hurt. Jordan Farmar is out for a few more weeks with a torn hamstring. That left Steve Blake as the only legitimate healthy point guard for the Lakers.
Let’s make that zero. Here’s the official Lakers Twitter account.
Injury Update. Steve Blake has a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. He is expected to be out a minimum of 6 weeks.
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) December 12, 2013
Steve Blake has been one of the positives for the Lakers this year, carrying over his play from late last season when he basically carried the Lakers in the last week of the regular season. He’s easily having a career-high thus far with 7.7 assists per game to go with his 9.8 points per game and a career-best 3.3 rebounds per. While he’s not shooting well from the field overall (.398), he is shooting a tidy .400 from behind the arc.
Blake has been playing with a sore elbow since he hurt it against Sacramento in November 24th. He had unknowingly been playing with that torn ligament; we all thought him playing through a hurt elbow wasn’t such a huge deal at the time. But now that it’s known, he probably won’t be playing until late January at the earliest.
It’s a big blow for the Lakers because now they don’t have any true point guards; we still don’t know when Steve Nash is coming back. I assume Kobe Bryant will be starting at the 1. Xavier Henry will continue to play back-up point guard. But the Lakers will probably look into signing (or trading for?) a PG.
This is not ideal for the Lakers. Get well soon, Steve Blake.
Craig W. says
Can this really be happening?
Ok fans, let’s stop all our bickering and pull together. The club really needs us now.
We will need to sign somebody to at least a 10 day contract. I doubt Mitch had this in mind when he released Harris, but here it is.
The injury bug strikes the Lakers point guards again with Steve Blake out at least 6 weeks. Will be interesting to see the rotations and how the Lakers look without a true PG and who will play the position.
Get well Steve Blake.
This team can compete if Mike D would just get the rotations right:
Until Farmar is back, we should start:
And then play lineups like:
When Farmar comes back, it will look even better:
Meeks/Xavier (depending on matchup)
With Williams and Jordan Hill off the bench as the bigs and Swaggy P/Meeks/Xavier off the bench on the wings
The important thing is to have Wes at the 4 as much as possible (we NEED his rebounding, defending, and he can make the three pointer as well, which is a must in Mike D’s system) and include Xavier as much as possible in the lineup as well
With Swaggy as the scoring punch off the bench.
I think Kobe and Blake in the backcourt is just too unathletic.. Kobe needs to be paired with Xavier/Meeks and Farmar (when he gets back)
Hrmm. This sucks. I claim that this is what the starting line-up should look like until Farmar returns. Another tough break for this team…
Guys we should look at signing as interim help
I think both Seth and Kendall should get the look to see if they could be Arenas type wildcards who just need to be put in the right situation
Or hey try and trade for Austin Rivers
Wow what a huge loss! Steve Blake was playing some great ball and with the injuries to Nash and Farmar this hurts. I actually thought we had too many point guards at the start of the season, now we gotta go get somebody off the street. I think all the Laker hate is starting to catch up to us.
It feels as if it was just a matter of time before SB succumbed to injury. It seems that during his entire tenure with us, he has been plagued by 1 injury. After another injury. After another. Timing couldn’t be worse, considering that Farmar is still weeks away from returning, Nash is closer to retirement than playing and for the fact that SB was having a solid season, as Rey mentioned. The FO has to see who’s available on the free agent market or snatch someone up from the D-League because there’s no way that this team can have any success without a PG on the roster. With all due respect to Kobe, X and Meeks, none of them – for different reasons – are capable of running the offense successfully in my opinion.
lil pau says
My understanding is that 10 day contracts are not a viable option until January. If this is true, then the Lakers are going to roll with who they have, for better or (probably) worse.
This sucks. Playing PG for the Lakers this season is like playing drums for Spinal Tap.
The funny thing is that in the short term this actually might, maybe, possibly help a little. Now Kobe will go back to playing the point like he did last year during some of this team’s best stretches of ball. That means Xavier and Meeks will get all the minutes that they can take.
Now Kobe will go back to playing the point like he did last year during some of this team’s best stretches of ball.
Unfortunately, the Kobe that we see now – admittedly overweight, out of rhythm with not only himself, but also his teammates and only 2 games in after being off for 8 months – is not the Kobe from last season.
Well this sucks…there goes our offense and we have no defense…play offs are a dream right now…we shall see how this goes I have to be honest I’m expecting bad results
Forget about rain, this is hail / heavy snow / hurricane weather! OTOH are there any top flight point guards NOT affected by injury in the past two years? there’s something to be said for the players that just stay healthy, goodness
Really bad news, i believe the team should stay put and just go fwd with what we have. Well Kobe playing pg should help him get back in shape faster. Cant say i like our season prospects going foward but we will see.
Craig W. says
If we actually manage to make the playoffs this season even the hardened pessimists would have to admit we did pretty well. Here’s hoping Kobe can play to his distributing strengths and we will have young legs next to him, allowing for a semblance of defense on the perimeter. Again, we need Jordan Hill in at the end of games, if only to rebound and take up some space in the paint.
Craig W: Yes we would be doing very well, because the odds are against us. All along I have said we were going to finish in the 7-13 range. There is no way we can compete with the teams at the top and there is no way we drop to the Sac and Utah level. ESPN picked us 12th and that is where we are. This alleged early season over performance was wishful thinking. We were never breaking out of the 7-13 range up or down. Obviously if we finish near the top of that range that is good. That said- other teams are playing well. Specifically Denver (they have our coach), and also Dallas does not yet look like they are done. We would need to beat either one of those two or GS to get into the playoffs, and that is already under the given that Phoenix falls off and they may not. Playoffs are unlikely – but still a stretch goal. If that synopsis makes me a pessimist, then I am indeed a pessimist. I am consistent with what I was saying pre-season. And my pre-season predictions, nobody else’s pre-season predictions, nor the Laker performance is worth crowing about.
I hate to be a naysayer, but the last thing the Lakers need is for Kobe’s usage rate to return to the level it was last year when he got injured. If the Lakers are reticent to pick up a young pg like Seth Curry then maybe they should look at bringing back Sasha Vujacic. I’d rather see Seth over say a Darius Morris. Who cares if Darius knows the offense, that would only matter if the Lakers were in the playoff hunt or actually contending for a spot. Neither of which hold true for the Lakers at this juncture. Seth could be a player for the future, if the Lakers are intent upon playing this style next year why not take a chance on a player that is primed for that offensive scheme?
Kobe will not destroy his legacy with the Lakers by putting a black mark on his final years with the team by garnering the reputation as the player that disrupted the offense. Had injury not derailed Kobe’s basketball abilities and ego, one might have a case to make that claim. Has anyone not taken notice of his news conferences, where he deferred the perimeter to players like X, Young, Meeks and Blake? When has Kobe ever done that in his 17 year career with the Lakers? Give the guy some credit, sheesh! Devoid the injury, he would have finished his career with minimum tapering of his on court play.
Lakers, spend the money and get a point guard, or bring Nash back and play him until either Farmar or Blake return.
T. Rogers says
None of that makes you a pessimist. You are just trying to be realistic about the team’s prospects. I respect that. Unfortunately for the Lakers (if you are in the no tanking camp) the West is loaded. No one saw Portland coming. The Northwest Division will most likely put 3 teams in the playoffs (OKC, POR, MIN). The Southwest has another 2 (SAS, HOU), and Pacific has 2 more (LAC, GSW). And then there are the bubble teams that will be in striking distance like DEN, DAL, PHX, MEM, and our guys.
Several things would have to break in the Lakers’ favor for them to slip in the back door. It is a shame the conferences are so imbalanced.
Sorry to double post, I added this at the end of my last comment but it didn’t go through.
Maybe it’s time for the Lakers to change the training staff because Blake hurt his elbow in November but was allowed to continue playing. Had he been taken out-of-service then and allowed to heal, that preventative measure might have saved him from missing six weeks. Gary Vitti is a Laker legend, but it might be time to look into transitioning to a younger trainer.
If they don’t want to try and break someone new into system why not sign Morris?
Players pulling together to compensate for Blake, Nash, & Farmar absence may help Kobe integrate with the team. Team may return to the scrappy refuse 2 lose style they adopted pre-Kobe.
This is actually good for Kobe’s development in the system. He is now the only semi-legit playmaker/pg. As everyone may have noticed, the pick and role and 3-point shooting game disappeared when Kobe came back, and the give-me the-ball-in-the-post-started again! This will force Kobe out of the post to run D’Antoni’s system which is “run when you can and pick and role, when you can’t.” I actually was enjoying the unselfish play. Can Kobe run the system like blake and farmar? I highly doubt it. Nevertheless, without blake, he gets to show us how good (or bad) he is at that position. I expect a lot of assists but a ton of turnovers too! Kobe often tries to cheat and forces passes when he shouldn’t and has always been a high-turnover player anyway.
I don’t see the Lakers winning for the next 8 games, ie 10 game losing streak counting the last 2, unless they squeeze one out in Charlotte, but I doubt it. This is going to make Kobe look bad, but rather undeservedly. I think if Kobe had not come back already, without Blake and Farmar (especially Blake), they would lose the next 8 anyway. The Toronto and Phoenix games were lost due to “the Kobe effect”, but not the next 8. The problem, however, is that, on surface, the net effect is going to look like: you replaced Blake and Farmar with Kobe, and the team got much worse!
Unfair to Kobe, as he is not himself yet, and even without the injury, never will be the 28 yo Kobe anyway.
On the bright side, looks like we are going to get a lot more ping pong balls!
Okay. This is a challenge, for sure. But it’s not insurmountable. A few basics. The Lakers’ opponents will pressure the ball. That means that the Lakers must advance the ball with the pass, not the dribble. You’ll probably see two guys in the back court helping each other to bring the ball up with one at the half-court line to accept a pass. Very do-able.
Also, last year, Kobe played facilitator very well. In fact, it was right around the time that he did that that the Lakers started to go on something of a run.
I also expect to see Pau passing more out of the post–high and low.
As several commenters have noted, this could actually be a good thing. This turn of events could force the Lakers into being more of a passing / motion team. There’ll be no watching Kobe. Everyone will have to move. And the ball will have to fly around the perimeter.
Now, if they do all of that, they should be OK. All that’s left is for them to play defense (and play Jordan Hill in the last 6 minutes).
So…I think it’s far too early to be apocalyptic. The end is not near. Let’s see how they respond. Let’s see if they pull together.
Warren Wee Lim says
I agree with kenoak that the lineup will be:
What I dunno is what the 2nd unit will look like. Players want more time? Here we go. Hoping to see Ryan Kelly become our stretch-4 beside Hill.
Warren Wee Lim says
This is the kind of wrench we needed to find ourselves. Others have called me delusional but i believe in advesrity bringing out the best in people. You just got to have the right guys.
This sucks. Playing PG for the Lakers this season is like playing drums for Spinal Tap.
LOL, good one
If we´re gonna get scrappier, as Treylake optimitically hopes (& Warren has just reflected), mind you I´m all for it, then getting scrappier on defensive side of the ball, specifically in the painted area, would be a great place to start.
Though I admit I´m pushing the bounds of my own optimism on this one.
Let J.Hill close out games, dagnabit!
What I see as significant over the next three-four weeks, since, as I have said, this year only matters in terms of how or if it impacts future years:
1. Can Kobe stay on the floor and play well, without killing the D? There is no evidence that he can be anything but a liability on D at this point. And, of course, will his body hold up?
2. How good is Xavier Henry? It would be very, very, rare for a guy with a statistical profile as brutal as his was for three years running, even conceding that he is a 22-year-old former lottery pick, to suddenly emerge as a good player. But with ALL of the Lakers’ PGs out, and playing in MDA’s system, he has an opportunity that guys in the position he was in rarely get. He made the team–now he can make himself some money and start a career. Is he up to it?
3. What are they going to do with Steve Nash and Chris Kaman? Can they work a trade to send Pau out? There is no reason to have any old guys other than KB and maybe Blake on this team.
And, again: predictions are overrated, and just something to have fun with. As Robert suggests, whether the Lakers finish 6th or 13th is not a referendum on anybody’s basketball knowledge.
Isn’t Wes Johnson the perfect stretch 4? He’s more athletic than Williams,can guard guys like Blake Griffin in the post,and can shoot the 3 and handle the rock..
MDA did try Wes at the 4. How it works depends on matchups. If he’s in a small ball 4 role, that’s OK. But he’s too small to guard bigger 4s like ZBo, KLove, Dirk, etc.
Craig W. says
Isn’t that an argument for changing your lineup, depending on your opponent? I know many fans are attached to John Wooden’s and Phil Jackson’s (oh, and MDA also) philosophy of forcing your opponent to adjust to your lineup, but if you have inferior – or less developed – talent, then you can’t really force a change on your opponent. It would seem that is the position this current edition of the Laker’s is in. We may just have to live with some instability in our starting lineup to maximize mismatches with our opponents. It is these mismatches that will determine how we play in the beginning – and perhaps ending – of games this year. No, that isn’t a great way to win a playoff series, but we are trying to get to the playoffs and then evaluate how we will move forward.
I think this way of thinking will enable us to evaluate all our players to determine, not only their strengths, but how they will fit into our future.
pat oslon says
SMH….Oh boy; here we go again!…. SMH
Craig W. says
I just watched Portland take out Houston and boy are the Blazers a very good and deep team. They also played some pretty gritty defense. If you look at the stats Dwight Howard had a great game – he dominated Robin Lopez. However, if you watched the game Portland let Lopez handle Howard one-on-one and lived with Howard’s scoring. What that did was take the rest of the team out of any kind of fast break basketball and it even seemed to destroy their rhythm on 3pt shots. This is the type of planning Houston is going to have to live with if they reach the playoffs. This is where Howard could actually hurt the club. He will look great individually, but the club will not be the better for it.
It also illustrates the strength of Portland’s coaching. This is a complete team and can even win when their shooting hampers them, i.e. in the 1st half their defense kept them in it.
Warren Wee Lim says
Pau and Kobe are slow, they also command the offense to pass through them. Therefore they need to be paired wirh players that provide spacing, athleticism and defense. Those 3 are ideally Farmar, Wes and Hill, unsurprisingly those 3 are our best remaining players.
Jodie compliments Kobe because he cam knock the 3-ball. Wesley also does because he gives athleticism and fastbreak opportunities and occasional 3-ball. Since Pau wants to be at center, he should be paired by Shawne Williams’ ability to knock down corner threes and be a little more athletic.
Bench can go with Hill as small-ball C. Im hoping Ryan Kelly gets some burn as his stretch four.
Excellent analysis of the Rockets-Blazers game.
With a little over a quarter of the season complete, I’m still finding it hard to believe that the Trail Blazers are sitting atop the WC and have the 2nd best record in the Association. While it’s still early – meaning that the standings are bound to shift – I must admit that, as it currently stands, I was way off in regards to my preseason prediction for these Blazers. I had them fighting for that final playoff spot out West (along with the Mavs). Credit needs to be given to Coach Stotts.
Night in and night out, LaMarcus Aldridge is making it clear that he’s 1 of the top 3 PF’s in the league. He’s also staking claim as a MVP candidate this season. It’s good to see his game evolving year after year and if not for the fact that he plays in a small market, more individuals would be up on and in tune with ‘Big L.A.’
Rusty Shackleford says
I like it Kobe. Way to respectfully not back down to your elders.
I love the site and everything you guys do….was wondering if you could modify the commenting system to where you can give a thumbs up/down and reply directly to certain peoples comments? Not the facebook system ESPN is using but other sites I think Laker Nation uses it.
I agree 100%. Class response by Bryant.
While many other teams add players they may or may not need the Lakers do what?
They lost 3 point guards! Clips lose one SF and the day few days sign Jackson. Lakers have NONE and are asking a guy coming off a career ending type injury to cover the position?
Really has the ownership become so cheap they would rob the fans of any chance to compete? There are 15 possible point guards out there listed on other sites, all inexpensive with NBA backgrounds.
I guess the next week will tell us loyal fans if Jimmy wants to win or the Kobe signing was to keep fans interest while the real plan is indeed tanking this season.
Can’t imagine Jerry B and Jerry W ever allowing that!
Portland did take away the 3 and let Howard do this thing, but saying that is an example Howard “hurting the club” is a long reach, unless you think Howard needed to go off for 50. Portland was able to do that because Matthews and Batum are pretty tough matchups for Harden and Parsons–who went 14/36. Also, it is quite likely that Asik will be traded for a better 4 than Terrence Jones long before the playoffs, so Houston in April will probably look different than Houston in December, so it’s too early to be counting playoff chickens. Howard was the only Houston starter with a positive +/-, and Jones was at -26. And, it was one game. No matter what kind of adjustments Stotts makes, Houston is not going to go 5/20 that often.
Asik didn’t play at all, and that might have been a mistake by Coach Herman Munster, given how badly they were torched by Aldridge.
Renato Afonso says
I don’t see the reason for having the thumbs up and down. The thumbs up and down is one of those things I really dislike on comments. Sometimes certain people always get thumbs up or down because it’s “their” comment regardless of what they actually wrote in said comment.
Baylor Sailor says
The Lakers should be looking at Pierre Jackson out of Baylor and the D-League. Kid is instant offense and a great passer. Definitely a little taste of showtime.
Interesting enough article
might lead to some changes
Not really surprised by Portland. I thought they stole Lopez in the offseason and he has really stabilized their defense/frontline. Aldridge/Lopez/Batum are all young and long. Plus Lillard is a really nice PG. They are solid. Whether they can play at this pace for the entire season is another story.
As for our Lakers, someone on another thread lamented that we will never know what the FO was thinking about in terms of expectations for this season and their rationale for the Kobe extension. That would make a great book.
I wonder if there is a line in the sand where they acknowledge this is a lost season. While Phoenix and New Orleans may come back to the pack I think Sacramento could come together enough to pass us by. We’re currently tied for 12th with 25% of the season gone. Not sure we can really move up much.
Let’s get real… this is where this team is going… Time to get Pau to Memphis(play with his bro) and move on… Fish moved on… but will always be a Laker…
D’antoni needs to maybe get Darius Morris back…
If Kobe is going to start at PG… how many minutes are you giving him?
The only good from this is getting Xavier more development game time… and Meeks should be able to get his minutes back…
Reports that Kobe is guarding Westbrook tonight? Is that wise?
No, not in my opinion. I would put Meeks on Westbrook and tell him to play off him and try to get him to shoot Js as much as possible, put Johnson on Durantula, and put Kobe on Thabo Sefolosha. Kobe might be OK on Jackson.
Warren Wee Lim says
Kobe is guarding the offensively-challenged Thabo Sefolosha.
Pau Gasol looks like he has rung his bell. Will forever be a favorite of mine no matter what team he plays for.
Portland added a center and went from the worst bench in the NBA to a pretty good bench. I picked them to finish 6th in the West in the little pick’em thing I do every year with a buddy, so I undersold them, it appears.
Wow – this echos Shaun’s post above.
Pau is looking to blame everything on everyone else except himself in taking responsibility for his play this year. He’s the sole post player on this team and could have the ball as much as he wants – wherever he wants via pnr’s/pick n pops/postups yet he is just unwilling to make the effort repeatedly to take it strong to the hole or really fight to establish position. Ugh – just can’t stand the passive aggressive whining of his. it’s not like he’d be putting up allstar numbers if D”antoni or PJ or whoever just made the offense revolve around him – he’s been horrible offensively and a mess defensively. Just come out and ask to be traded if you really don’t want to be there. I understand wanting his contract to just expire and come off the books, but Given his production or lack thereof, maybe this is the year for Lakers to just cut bait and unload him for some younger guys/a bunch of smaller contracts that are a bit easier to parcel off or develop. The rest of this team is working hard – don’t let this guy become a cancer and take away from what is at least a somewhat feel-good team seeing the Lakers work thru all the adversity this year. Regardless how everyone on this board feels about certain players/the coach etc… at least this team as a whole has made you want to root for and have some pride in them.
Coach Herman Munster…. cracked me up!! Thanks rr!!
Pay just called MDA “all over the place.” Hilarious.
Yeah, I think Buss needs to trade Pau:
“It’s also a nice excuse not to play hard,” D’Antoni said. “That’s a classic, ‘I don’t know what I’m supposed to do.’ Well, you don’t have trouble getting up to the paystub line. You know what you need to do to get your check. You know what to do. They will. They’ll figure it out.”
“That’s one thing. They don’t want to do it that way. I understand that. That’s when you have to accept it or not. But there’s no reason not to play hard.”
Based on 2 reports on Team Stream from Laker reporters Kobe is on Westbrook . Guess we will see tonight.
Kenny T says
I read the article linked above concerning Pau and really was dumbfounded by this quote attributed to the Spaniard:
“The fact that I’m not getting the ball in the post affects directly my aggressiveness,” he said. “When I’m not getting the ball where I want to, where I’m most effective, where I can bang guys and utilize my skill, that affects my aggressiveness and overall intensity….
“Bang guys?” Really, Pau? Pau hasn’t hit or banged anyone on the court in recent memory. When is the last time he gave a good, hard, clean and unapologetic hard foul? Pau is as soft as cotton candy and everybody in the league knows it. From the refs who ignore his verbal flops, to the point guards who regularly run up his chest on their way to the hoop, everybody in the league knows it.
Pau doesn’t “bang” anyone on offense or defense. Hasn’t for a long time. It’s never been his forte. What I see from Pau Gasol is one excuse after another for his declining play.
as per espn…. According to Synergy Sports, the Lakers are averaging an NBA-low 0.67 points per possession on post-up plays this year, prompting D’Antoni to tell the Times re Gasol, “I can’t lie to him… Our numbers tell us the worst thing we do is post up.”
When asked if talking about being uncomfortable sometimes perpetuates that reality, D’Antoni said, “Absolutely. It’s also a nice excuse to not play hard. That’s a classic, ‘Well I don’t know what I’m supposed to do.’
“Well, you don’t have trouble getting up to the pay stub line. They know what to do there to get the check. So, obviously you know what to do. They will.”
Lol – love the jab about the paystub. Pau is showing very little as to why/how he is deserving of it right now. MDA is right – no matter what you can always play hard. At least that makes you attractive to other teams if you really want out.
bottom line..Kobe and Pau dont fit D.A.’s system…period….
I have been good lately, and no – this is not all MDs fault – not even close.
That said – every time I read stuff like what Pau is saying, and then all the stuff being written about “Kobe’s fit”, it take me back to last November.
I was told that MD “Was a better fit for our roster”. I was told this by Mitch, by Jimbo, and by some of you : )
So Dwight did not fit (clearly), AJ did not fit, Metta did not fit, Pau does not fit for 2 years running, and now Kobe does not fit.
So when we said “better fit” – better than what?
Lol – love the jab about the paystub.
Disagree. Leaders who are sarcastic in public about their employees tend to create more issues than they solve. Phil could sort of get away with it because he was Phil, but I recall Metta getting mad at Phil in 2011 and asking him to knock it off. And, personally, I think Pau is just old and his legs are gone, more than he is dogging it. If MDA thinks he is dogging it, I think you take that up behind a closed door.
Pau is not a sarcastic guy, but MDA might need to be reminded that the only ring he has is the four letters in his Pringles nickname.
As to the fit issue, that element of the decision was IMO simply based on the fact that they had traded for Nash. Nash, not the whole roster, was the better fit with D’Antoni.
Kenny T says
Really disappointing news about Steve Blake. The tandem of Farmar and Blake gave the Lakers a chance to win every game because they ran MD’A’s offense and got everyone involved. And their 3 point shooting kept defenses honest.
Now with neither point guard available, Kobe will have to assume more responsibility on the court . Not a good thing with him so recently returned from injury and trying to shake off the rust. Tough times in Lakerland, for sure.
In theory, Dwight actually DID fit–the numbers show clearly that he is better in PnR than on post-ups. How people deal with that information tends to depend on their opinions of D’Antoni and Howard.
rr: So I will buy that DH “should” have fit. But he did not.
And the other 4? : )
Your Nash statement is probably accurate. Geez – the Nash deal is looking better all the time : )
Well, I backed both the Nash deal and the MDA hire at the time, so I am just trying to keep the record clear.
I do not back Lakers or Laker employees mocking Pau (or any Laker) in the media, whether it’s Phil, Kobe, or MDA doing it.
I don’t think that the “other 4”, even though 2 of them are Pau and Kobe, are that big of deal, really. One major supposed value in hiring MDA was getting the Nash/Howard synergy going, making Howard want to stay–remember Nash and Howard being on the cover of the SI NBA Preview?
I think the idea was that Howard would click with Nash, stay, and then Pau would get traded. Didn’t happen, and we have already had the who-is-to-blame discussion about that many times around here.