Lakers, Nash Search For Right Workload

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EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – He reached back with the left hand and gently punched the ice pack strapped to his back, underneath the grey T-shirt, in a quick adjustment. Not a bad reminder of things out of sight either.

Steve Nash is back and saying he is healthy. Forever feeling like the overlooked kid from British Columbia who got a lone scholarship offer from Santa Clara, the future Hall of Famer with two MVPs, eight All-Star appearances and the respect of the basketball world wants to prove he is still a factor at point guard. But, the reminders.

He nudged the ice with his left hand a few more times in the 10 minutes spent standing and talking after a Lakers practice early in training camp. Treatments are common for other players, so Nash turning himself into a shrimp cocktail is nothing unusual, except that other players are not 39 years old, coming off a season with 32 games missed to a fractured left leg and a strained right hamstring, and facing the possibility of a backcourt without Kobe Bryant for at least the start of 2013-14. To nurse along, Nash won’t do both workouts during two-a-days, just as Pau Gasol will be limited.

And there is the actual schedule as the real punch of a statement: coach Mike D’Antoni is planning to decrease Nash’s workload in the regular season, either by rationing minutes compared to the past or by occasionally completely holding Nash out of games and leaving the point-guard duties to Steve Blake and Jordan Farmar.

“I don’t know if it’s him missing games every once in a while instead of minutes so much,” D’Antoni said. “We’ll have to figure that out. But you can’t expect him to play 35 minutes, 82 games. We’ll start from there and we’ll see where we go…. In certain games he’ll play more, certain games less, and maybe games he takes a break. We’ll see.”

Both numbers – 35 minutes, 82 games – are unrealistic in 2013-14. Nash did 50 games and 32.5 minutes last season, his first as a Laker, and the concession to age is probably somewhere in between. Certainly they hope for more than the 50 at the compromise of less than 32.5. Getting 65-70 appearances at a strong level of play would be a very nice contribution from someone who will turn 40 just before the All-Star break, even if that comes at 25-30 minutes per and no back-to-backs.

Early indications are that the decisions will be fluid, depending on the situation. The schedule will be an obvious impact, depending whether the Lakers are playing four games in five nights or two in five. So will the games themselves – if Nash goes 32 and 35 minutes in close finishes Wednesday and Friday, the need to hold him back Sunday will increase. And, obviously, whether his body is feeling good or laboring will have a large role in how it plays out.

“I feel good,” Nash said. “Just working the kinks out. This time of the year I need to play and get reps, but obviously to find that balance between overdoing it as well.”

Or not overdoing it.

“I feel good, but obviously coming out of last year, what I had to train and work on all summer was the back,” he said. “The nerve from my back to my hamstring, it was really a trouble spot for me. But so far it feels great.”

His actual play is much less of an issue. While the 6.7 assists per game last season was his lowest output since 1999-2000, though playing without the ball in his hands more than before in the Mike Brown system was an obvious factor, Nash finished fifth in the league in three-point percentage and also shot 49.7 percent overall, a very good showing for a guard. He was typically superb from the line, converting 92.2 percent of the attempts to move in front of Mark Price on the career list.

22 Comments

  1. Lakers are not the same but Kobe is still good at his age

  2. bullsfannnn says:

    The fact that he is 40 and still playing basketball. The lakers need to add since YOUTH to the team. Honestly ths lakers are in for a rough season

  3. jditty22 says:

    Lakers won’t make the playoffs this year and it doesn’t look good next year. They will offer Lebron $200 million to sign as a show of desparation, he is the only player that can save this franchise because he’s the only player that doesn’t need much talent around him to get to a Championship. (See: Cleveland Cavs) Who else in the NBA can do that? I think they will get some free agents if Kobe retires…..nobody wants to play with him.

  4. LBJ_Bob_Squarepants says:

    CF Shaq
    PF Kemp
    SF McGrady
    SG Jordan
    PG Dumars

  5. LBJ_Bob_Squarepants says:

    It goes: Eminem, Jada, Redman, Nas, Tupac, Andre 3000, Kurupt, Biggie and Jay-Z (Listen to them on youtube acapella)

  6. okc2014 says:

    So does Nash have to pay out even less child support now?

  7. Will Jones says:

    the lakers are going to suprise a lot of people this year and they will put the load on kobe just like they always do and he will preform just like he did in 2009-2010

  8. qq says:

    he made the allstar team at 38 years of age, why not 40?:D

  9. Andrew says:

    I really hopeful you can get a ring around your finger before you retired one of the top 50 best NBA players of all time.

  10. Tim NBA Fan says:

    Nash didn’t play off the ball because of Mike Brown. D’Antoni wasn’t really responsible for it either. Nash was getting trapped too frequently, so Kobe took it upon himself to take the primary handling role. The team improved greatly from it. Nash played hurt in all but the first couple of games last season. Maybe now that he’s healthy, he’ll be able to play more on the ball. But he might not. Jason Kidd turned into an off-ball player towards the end too.

  11. Kome the Black dumba says:

    I pity Nash, such an amazing player. Now he’ll go down with Kobe. How sad.

  12. Max says:

    Now what did I say that caused my comment to be taken out? Not one thing, unless it was referring to a player age being used as an excuse?

  13. Gillsy says:

    I like that he is going to decrease Nash’s workload which is a good idea due to his age for the regular season. This will keep him fresh for his fishing trip at the end of the season LOL

  14. Bob says:

    Still waiting on the Kupchak miracle This team needs some depth and more scoring

    • joe says:

      What miracle??? They already have 13~14 player on their roster and only veteran’s minimum to offer. Pretty much this season (unless the guys really step up ) is done for.

      And im a lakers fan but we have to realize somethings aren’t just possible lol

      • they might be tanking this season…Kobe will not rush to return to make sure he gets healthy…Lakers might not even reach the playoffs or clicnch the 8th spot..they’ll be getting lottery picks…and then they’ll get 2 superstars to add to Kobe, Gasol And Nash…so its the 3 of them plus 2 superstars plus a lottery pick in 2014…pretty genius if you ask me

      • LBJKIN6JAMES says:

        @ Joe, thank you for having common sense. And coming from a Laker fan it means so much more.

        @ Don’t ever CLICK MY NAME!!!! YOU Have been warned ….Nash will be 40 in February, There is no guarantee Kobe will ever step foot on the court again.. & I don’t know what 2 superstars and lottery picks your talking about, but keep dreaming…
        Its funny that every other Laker fan has accepted the fact the Lakers are done except you LOL. Keep dreaming…
        the Lakers will not make the playoffs, they Lakers will not get any lottery picks to bail them out of the hole they’re in, & no other “2 superstars” are coming to save Kobe & the Lakers.. D12 left because Kobe told him he wanted to play another 2-3 years LOL.. no other “2superstars” will want to join a sinking ship with a horrible coach and a Old man ballhog still chasing MJ’s legacy and trying to get a 6th ring.
        The Lakers need to do what is best for the franchise and completely re-build from scratch (like the Celtics did with KG and Pierce)
        … dream on buddy boy, dream on!

      • R-Dawg says:

        Well said!