Schedule, Injuries, Choices, Will Likely Skew Lakers’ Start

The Lakers’ season begins with tomorrow night’s home opener against the Clippers, and that is followed by a day trip to NoCal to play the Warriors Wednesday. After a day off, they return home for a Friday match against San Antonio. So, in the first four days of the season, they play what are if not the Western Conference’s three best teams, certainly three of the four, and they do so without Kobe Bryant and with an ailing Steve Nash. The hope is, of course, that within a couple of months Kobe will return to full time duty with little if any after effects of his Achilles tear, but the reality, as I have repeatedly said, is that the Nash situation will continue for the entire season, and for the rest of his career, if it goes beyond this season. Leg, ankle and neck problems have him likely limited to what will be his regular stint of not much more than 15 minutes tomorrow, and chances are nil that he will play at all on Wednesday. The question is after only two days off, will he have even another 15 minutes in him for Friday?

As I’ve repeatedly said, I really like the additions to the Lakers, and think that the experts that discount them, only looking forward to a complete makeover the following year, are dead wrong. But, for the team to succeed this season, they need to keep Kobe off the

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court until he is fully recovered, and they need to learn how to play without Nash, who can not be counted on at all. With Jordan Farmar and Steve Blake, that have the potential to still be outstanding at point guard. I am much more worried about the Kobe replacement situation.

I am no fan of Nick Young, and while he is apparently penciled in as the small forward, he is likely to be the guy getting the ball most of the time when it would have been Kobe: BIG MISTAKE. Young is a streak

shooter who knows nothing about the concept of either PASSING or playing DEFENSE. When he is on a streak, he will put points in, perhaps making up to some extent for his other deficiencies. But, when he is on a bad streak, which will be most of the time, he is a

total loss, and will be a major detriment to the team. Wesley Johnson is the guy who should be the starter and get the pt at small forward. Shawne Williams should be the backup there as well. In Kobe’s stead, the likely starter is Steve Blake, and that is a mistake. Blake is a decent back-up point guard, and another streak shooter. He figures to also play limited minutes, especially at the two spot, with Jodie Meeks probably getting as much time there as Blake.

Kobe Bryant Wall Graphic

But, the guy with the talent and who has put it on display during the preseason, is Xavier Henry. He needs to be the shooting guard, and he should be allowed to develop into that outside threat you want with the ball in crunch time.

The Lakers went out and acquired a load of untapped talent during the off season. It will only result in a repeat of last year’s disaster if these new, young, talented guys are stuck on the bench, and the team is allowed to sink under the weight of the wrong players getting the ball.

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