Lakers Say No Rush On Nash, Team’s Depth Will Be Tested In His Absence

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – A small fracture to his left leg will force us to admire more of Steve Nash‘s colorful wardrobe than is necessary. But with the Los Angeles Lakers announcing that there will be no rush on Nash’s return (which makes their timetable of him missing for a week seem a bit sketchy), we’ll spend the next few games familiarizing ourselves with Steve Blake and Darius Morris.

With those two backups playing the bulk of the minutes at point guard, the Lakers’ already questionable depth will be tested ever more. For a team that doesn’t need any more hurdles to clear to start the season, this might be the one that gives us the best gauge of their championship timber.

Surviving the preseason with both Dwight Howard (recovering from back surgery) and Kobe Bryant (nursing a sore foot) at less than full strength is one thing. But an extended period without Nash in the lineup at all … that’s the one injury hiccup the Lakers weren’t exactly prepared for.

Mike Bresnahan of The Los Angeles Times told us yesterday on The Beat on NBA TV that Nash could very well be out for a month. A MONTH!

“You obviously hope he’s back as soon as possible,” Lakers coach Mike Brown told reporters Sunday before the Lakers trounced the Detroit Pistons Sunday. “But the one thing you don’t want to do, you don’t want to compromise his long-term health for him coming back quicker than he should. So, (trainer) Gary Vitti and the staff are on top of it. We’ll just wait and play it out from there.”

We knew it would take them a while to get it together. But spending the next four weeks without Nash in the mix as they try and perfect their Princeton offense (and doing so seemingly against the wishes of anyone that knows anything about the Lakers’ personnel) is a challenge they didn’t need.

While Blake and Morris do their best to fill in for Nash, the Lakers will have to tend to their other bench issues that have plagued them in the opening stage of this season.

The two guys they brought in to transform their bench from a weakness to a strength haven’t done that yet. Both Antawn Jamison and Jodie Meeks have had uneven starts, putting even more pressure on the starters.

More from Mark Medina of The Times:

Little has gone as planned for the Lakers or their top two new reserves, who have struggled to make much of an impact in the season’s early going.

Jamison and Meeks were supposed to bolster a bench that ranked last in the NBA last season in points scored.

Perhaps the best reflection of their play is that the Lakers now rank No. 29 in the league in bench scoring with 18.8 points per game, ahead of only Portland.

Hey, it’s progress, though not exactly the kind the Lakers had envisioned. Their reserves have been outscored, 148-75, by their counterparts.

Jamison has averaged 4.3 points and 4.3 rebounds in 16.8 minutes per game, far off his career averages of 19.5 points and 7.8 rebounds. The 15-year veteran wasn’t expected to replicate the production from earlier in his career when he was a mainstay in the starting lineup, but the Lakers certainly would like him to boost his scoring output closer to double figures.

“You know, I’ve been hearing it. ‘You gotta be aggressive. You gotta be aggressive,’” Jamison said after scoring six points Sunday during the Lakers’ 108-79 victory over the Detroit Pistons, “but I’m just going to stay within the flow of the offense.”

So the coaching staff has been pushing him to be more assertive?

“It’s my kids, my mom,” Jamison said. “Nah, the coaches, they know what they want me to do. Coach has tried to get me on the box a little bit more in the past game or two. It’s going to take time.”

When the Lakers’ marketing crew was cooking up slogans for this season, we’re sure they didn’t have “It’s going to take time” on the conference room’s white board. But time is the only ally they have right now.

Nash needs time to heal, his backups need time to get more comfortable, the other reserves need more time to gel. In short, the Lakers need all the time they can get …

50 Comments

  1. Boka says:

    Driver Mike Brown is not for car “Lakers”-Managment have to mike qwick change mayby for Coach Mc Milan or Kurt Rumbis….

  2. Give it time says:

    The Lakers may have started slow but it is definitely going to speed up as they play the next few games. So what if they don’t beat the bulls record of 82 victories. Come playoff time they are going to be invincible. There is too much experience and talent on this team for things to not contend and win another championship. Once everyone understands their role and they play to their strengths, they will be very very hard to beat!!!

  3. Big Al says:

    I knew from the start that getting Nash wasn’t a good idea. He doesn’t know defenae and inevitably injury-prone. And when he’s back, there could be conflict on who commands the ball. The Lakers have long been Kobe’s team so he won’t just relinquish it to anyone.

    There’s also the issue with the second unit. They’ve let go of Barnes, perhaps the only useful bench player they had. It only added insult to injury after we Lost Lamar in ezchange for pretty much nothing. Jordan Hill is in-and-out, with alleged felonies to boot.

    The ideal thing that could have been done was get a good, injury-free point guard, send Derek Fisher to the bench, and ship Blake elsewhere. Obviously, this wasn’t what they did, but all is not over yet. Management has to play with the bench. Trading them isn’t a gamble at all. We could get equally useless players or people with potential, so there’s no way we can lose.

    Finally, The Answer is the answer. Allen Iverson is desperate to return to the NBA, and when the Lakers lost Shannon Brown, Kobe did not have a proper backup for the two. A.I. can certainly play behind his former rival, indeed a more acceptable bench role. It shouldn’t hurt his ego that much as he need not play second fiddle to a guard that isn’t as good as he was during his prime. He isn’t expensive, but is certainly worth the money even today.

  4. Ruvien says:

    well.. what if.. PAU will come off the bench..then let JAMISON join 1st 5…

  5. Van says:

    Get D’Antoni, the guy who makes the worst players look good (as long as he has Nash or Lin or any other talented point guard).

  6. laker fan no more says:

    im a lakers fan but i feel badly hey mann heat winnn -_- whyy because they are unbeated knicks win they and thats was a selled gamee yup lakers big 4 is like a big 3 nashh is playing badly super badd gasol is more soft than bosh and look boshh 40 points vs gasolll the soft mannn woooww lebronn when i see the game they called the best in the world many times my gossh vs metta wade hitting jumpers is like kobe and yeahh bosh vs howard hard match gasol vs battier defense for miami is difficult ofense easyy james and metta oh my gosh for stop lebron mike brow calls metta hey elbow lebron jaja kobe match is hard wade point guard chalmers or ray allen wow easy for chalmers or allen and bench accept that miami have better bench than lakers thats why i no more lakers fan i am a heat fan now

  7. jan_279 says:

    Guys, don’t press the panic button just yet. Remember back in 2010 when the Heat barely won more than they lost when the season was just starting? They were just trying to figure out things first. I’m sure the Lakers are going through the same phase, trying to build team chemistry in a team loaded with talented players. Not always do you get a team like the 2007-2008 Celtics that will click immediately after making huge changes in the roster. Guys, I think it’s too early to judge this Lakers team, right now we should just wait and see what’ll happen to this them.

  8. ranime says:

    It’s not everything in coach…players and coaches are one team, so they need to step together and try to become very good team. Coaches are good, players are good so 1+1=2

  9. Spurs says:

    The Lakers need to stay healthy and gel as a team before there are any talks of getting a ring. Antawn and Meeks and the rest of the bench have ton rove their worth. Will LA make the playoffs? No doubt, but how far can they go? Sure, they have great talent, and I’m sure by playoff time they’ll be in the top 4 seeds (we’ll see exactly how good Lob City and Memphis is) but if nagging injuries occur, there’s only so much you can do. Dwight’s back, Kobe’s knees, Gasol’s knees, Nash’s leg/back, that’s a lot to worry about. An honest guess about the playoffs for the West: San Antonio vs. OKC in the conference finals. Yes, OKC lost Harden, who was the difference maker in that big 3 and just got another scorer in K-Mart instead of another playmaker, but they’re still a well-oiled machine and they’ll go deep into the playoffs. I see LA winning a lot of games, but in the end, too little depth, too much nagging injuries to get to the WCF. Spurs have the real edge here, having their core players AND their bench intact, and the deepest team in the league besides the Heat. The Spurs have one thing a lot of teams don’t, chemistry. Not to mention great young players like Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard, DeJuan Blair, etc.

  10. DJM says:

    lakers need more bench players the west is too strong

  11. DJM says:

    fire mike brown LBJ left him that says somthing

  12. Devon says:

    for all you people out their talking about the lakers dont kno what your taling about kobe 34 years old and hes still doin things he did 5 years ago and for nash he old bt thats what i do agree on the offense they run is stupid if u look at nash with amare stodimare he made him… they perfected the pick and roll so mike brown should start doin it more and dwight howard is comming off major back surgery when he healthy name a player in the leauge who can stop him? bt the main reason when you look at the lakers is their defense if u look where an old slow team and cant stop any1 thats y we got dwight how to shut down the hole…so once nash and dwight and healthy and our bench start to do somthing watch out L.A WORLD CHAMPS

  13. John Doe says:

    I wonder – why not let Steve Blake/Darius Morris/Chris Duhon start and get Nash in from the Bench. That would make the bench instantly good – and the starters would still work out fine with Howard, Gasol and Bryant.

    But maybe there is too much ego involved…

    • Arun says:

      I was also thinking the same. But in a different way.

      Lakers Starting 5:

      Nash, KB24, Metta, Pau, DH12

      Nash Metta and Pau out at 4 min mark in Q1. Subs Blake, EBanks, Hill.

      At around 2 min mark Kobe, DH12 out. Subs – Meeks, Jamison.

      Now we have Blake, Meeks, Ebanks, Jamison, Hill together for about max 1 min – 2 mins.

      Start of Q2:
      Blake, Meeks, Metta, Jamison, Pau.

      Around 8 min mark in Q2, let Nash, check in for Blake and Ebanks for Metta

      Group: Nash, Meeks, Ebanks, Jamison, Pau. This is a perfect 2nd unit mix because now Nash can play his kind of game surrounded by shooters (expect Ebanks who can be a cutter and a mid range guy).

      Around 5 min mark DH12, KB12 and Metta checks in

      Group: Nash, KObe, Metta, Pau, DH12. (Play through big men).

      Around Q2 2 min mark Subs happen again : Blake in for Nash Hill in for Pau and they play the 2mins together.

      I think this will make out 2nd unit a little better offensively. Defense if something individual has to pick themselves.

    • Lakers Fan says:

      AGREE.

      btw…why didn’t the Lakers sign for Jamal Crawford? He’s even cheaper than Steve Nash and much younger…

    • John says:

      Yeah Nash has a huge ego. lol

  14. Just be says:

    what’s up with the lakers team? do everyone has some kind of injury? is no wonder they’ve slightly been unsuccessful.

  15. TTKIN says:

    If you want to call 0-8 “surviving the preseason”, then ya I guess they did haha

    • TTKIN says:

      Jamison and Meeks are both specialized outside shooters. Just cuz theyve been missing their shots doesnt mean thatll keep up. Remember the 2011 Finals wen Dallas couldnt hit anything, then game 4 rolled around and they couldnt figure out how to miss a shot? Just wait.

  16. bunbury says:

    I said it before the season started and I will say it again. The lakers should’ve kept sessions and use the odom clause on someone else (instead of nash). you can’t compare, sessions is what 24-25 to nash 39. come on!

    • Arun says:

      I see many people out here under estimating Nash because he is 39. C’mon. Nash is still Nash. What was he last year 38? and how was his productivity? Only downside with Nash is his defense. All he needs is a little bit help defense and we have DH12 for that.

      Lakers will kill Heat if they meet in Fianls because we got what we call the twin towers. Not the last year twin tower. This is different because DH12 is whole another beast defensively.

      C’mon guys, Heat may be quicker with LBJ and Wade However, we still have size which matters a lot espicially against heat which lacks size big time.

  17. rico says:

    lakers should bring back fisher to retire a laker and bring him off the bench, sign m. redd, q-rich,and d. west to and waive there current bench player except blake, hill, and ebanks.

  18. Ibrahim says:

    Lakers need to fire MIKE BROWN. Never has the Princeton strategy won an NCAA. He is not a good coach he’s just a lucky man that had good players to coach. They should have kept brian shaw.. Lakers will not win till they fire brown. 0-8 pre season and 0-3 for first games in season hope they come to their senses and bring the zen master back

  19. Pimpilimpi says:

    Why having a Nash in team if he is not allowed to be Nash?
    Dude is one of all time best PG and now Mike teaches him how to run team with 3 All Stars ?!?!
    With Lopez, Hill and who knows who else he had 10+ APG, LET HIM PLAY MIKE !

    Or should Mitch bring back secret weapon, Mr. Jackson :)

  20. Patrickmarc says:

    The group is good,
    I am sure they can be super good, we will see later, may be soon,
    they need to keep confidence, until they get the right organisation.

  21. Vash says:

    Give Meeks more minutes. I’m sure that they’ll fill themselves in no time. As far as I can see, Mike Brown’s playing the starters at least 32 minutes per game.

  22. Lakers Fan says:

    btw..i forgot…

    Heat also has Jones and Mike Miller. A bunch of permimeter shooters!

    We got Antawn Jamison and Meeks for the Lakers…who will only play with the offensive flow..don’t want to be aggressive..

    • Trevor says:

      Dont for get about jordan Hill and how is ray allen faster or stronger then anyone thats why the lakers have metta to gaurd any of them and dont forget dwight howard will slow LBJ down at the rim.

      • Lakers Fan says:

        If you open your mind and think bigger, generally speaking, the Heat has younger, stronger, and faster players. Metta is getting old and he’s slow. Did you see him get smoked by Jamal Crawford? DH can slow just LBJ or DW but not both. Ray Allen is not fast but you can count on him for clutch shot, almost better than 2012 Kobe. you got Mike Miller, Jones, and Battier, and even Chalmers can knock down perimeter shots. Meeks and Metta need to spend a few extra hour, aside from regular practice, to practice knocking down 3s if the Lakers want to win. Steve blake can also join Meeks and Metta..

      • K.I.N.G says:

        we’ll have to watch and see. it will be an epic game! but you know Heat have the edge and thats because of the BENCH

  23. Lakers Fan says:

    Lakers vs. Heat
    Big 4 vs. Big 4

    Lakers: DH, Gasol, Kobe, Nash
    Heat: Bosh, LBJ, DW, Ray Allen

    Heat Big 4 are younger, stronger,and quicker. Plus Heat has a DEEP Bench with Battier, Haslem, Howard,

    I think the Heat will also take this year even though I’m a Lakers Fan

    • TTKIN says:

      Just remember that Miami has NO ONE who can play inside. They like having Lebron at the 4…I laugh at anyone who thinks Lebron can shut down Pau. And on top of that, who in a Miami uniform will be able to stop Dwight? If the game slows down a lot like the LAkershow managed to do against OKC for a majority of last year’s playoffs, Miami wont automatically win. theyll have to earn it.

      • Lakers Fan says:

        the Heat doesnt need anyone to stop DH. They can play like the USA olympic team and knock down a bunch of 3s. USA didnt really have a center, especially when Chandler was in foul trouble..But USA still mangage to beat most teams by at least 20 pts.

        Gasol need to be the Beast he was in the Olympics. He relies on other talents/help too much.

  24. KBB says:

    you guys are scrubs, you don’t know what you are talking about. Kobe Bryant is still the Black Mamba. Howard’s been winning by himself for years. Steve Nash Has been doing the same. Pau Gasol is just an added bonus. and Metta is just that crazy guy that you need. Give them some time to gel. Then it will be game over for opposing ball clubs.

    • Scott The Magician says:

      all true, your facts and the fact that these guys are scrubs..BUT i do wanna see The Answer back
      hate how his career ended and hes still sick

  25. kid says:

    Gasol is CONFUSING the team and players. I dont understand why Mike Brown gives more time on Gasol on the floor, it should be Howard in order to familliarize everything. They should waive Gasol and take Odom back and they should pick a point guard that can penetrate like D. Will, Nash is wearing out and poor Blake is not a player – he always slowing down the play. This team needs fast transition like OKC in their off. and a slasher point guard . If they still doing a set play they never win. Take Iverson instead.

    • 25bars2life says:

      First, why would they just waive Gasol and get nothing for him? Second, Odom is a Clipper through trade, meaning he can’t be traded again until January and I don’t think Odom wants a trade. Third, Dwight Howard has been receiving less minutes than Gasol because Howard has been in foul trouble and the game against the Pistons allowed him to play less minutes and let their bench do some of the work. You also have to remember Dwight is coming back from a major back surgery, you can’t push him too hard. Fourth, the lakers are an old team so they play with more of a half court offense compared to a young team like OKC who can constantly run the floor in transition.

    • Mytownl;a says:

      You dont make any sense at all… The only person Gasol is confusing is YOU! Howard has been in foul trouble, which is why Gasol has been getting more pt than him, idiot. And they cant just “take Odom back” you fool. You are truly confused with this whole thing arent you? And exactly how is Steve Blake NOT a player??? He deserves a whole lot more credit than ppl give him. And iverson…. Really… Thats your solution? smh your ignorance is beyond obvious, i suggest that you follow some other sport, kuz it seems as if Basketball might be a little too confusing for you

    • cris says:

      Wow you’re the confused one.You need to follow cricket or something.

    • Marvin says:

      Buy back Shannon Brown , they need some point guard like him who can move his LEGS

  26. FlipStar says:

    It’s a bit sad that the Lakers season has started as such, but no need to despair. Around December, they will have gelled and will be a supreme force to reckon with

  27. Eric says:

    Personally, I don’t think they need to change anything, It’s still too early in the season. I mean yeah, there 1-11, including preseason, but they are learning a new offence, which Kobe as repeatedley said he supports, and they have been plagued by injuries. Their last game, against Detroit, has shown that their offence can work, they just need time to get used to it. Now, the problem is time, Nash is out, so he is going to need even more time, and thats not a good thing, because he’s at the end of his career. Kobe has said he’s planning on retiring in the next 3 years, so they need to start clicking now.

  28. RR says:

    The Lakers has a nag of destroying careers of players.. for example Glen Rice, Mitch Richmond, Gary Payton, and now Jamison and Nash. They should only stick atleast two superstars this team whatever offense they are using. Triangle or the Princeton but for me personally change the Coach!!!

    • Mytownl;a says:

      Ummmm…. The Gloves career was never destroyed moron

    • Scott The Magician says:

      Those guys were all washed up anyways…….looking for a rang…idiot

    • MG says:

      Didnt Rice and Richmond win titles with LA?

    • TTKIN says:

      Richmond was already washed up and the reason the Lakers were even able to get Glen Rice (who at the time was barely at the end of his prime), is because he was injured to the point he almost couldnt play. U cant destroy a career if it was basically over already.

  29. E-SY says:

    Maybe when the rebuild within the next 5 years they can try to become champs once again…