The chaos in Los Angeles continues post-trade deadline. On Sunday February 23 the Lakers fell to the Brooklyn Nets 108-102, shortly after they snapped their franchise record 8 game home losing streak on Friday against the Boston Celtics.
With the recent departure of Steve Blake to the Warriors and the acquisition of 2nd year player Kent Bazemore and 3rd year player MarShon Brooks, the rotation for the Lakers is once again being experimented with by head coach Mike D’Antoni, and it has already begun to mess with the locker room chemistry. According to Lakers writer Dave McMenamin (@mcten on Twitter), many of the Lakers are having difficulties adjusting to the new adjustments to the rotation. Among the players to receive a DNP this last game against Brooklyn were Ryan Kelly and Robert Sacre, who have both been racking up significant minutes over the last two months.
After the game, McMenamin reported that some Lakers voiced their opinions about teammates losing playing time, and it is easy to see where they are coming from. Through all the injuries, the end of the Lakers bench has been doing its best to try and hold things together. Ryan Kelly for example went from not playing at all to starting and providing the Lakers with quality minutes, and now it seems as though he is back to not playing once again. If significant roster adjustments continue to happen, the Lakers’ team chemistry may be at risk of taking a turn for the worst.
In D’Antoni’s defense, he has to tweak the rotation by experimenting with Bazemore and Brooks in the lineup. The two have not had much time to play in Golden State, and this is their chance to showcase their talents and make improvements to their game. Although the two are only on the books until the end of the season, they are in the same boat with the rest of the Lakers in a sense that they are all auditioning for future roster spots (assuming the Lakers front office wants to keep them and assuming the players will want to stay to play for D’Antoni). As a result, some players’ playing time, such as Kendall Marshall (who did not see the floor in the 4th quarter against Brooklyn), Ryan Kelly, Robert Sacre, and Chris Kaman will have to be readjusted. Honestly, with the way things have been constantly changing for the Lakers, it seems as though any Laker could possibly see a reduction in minutes in an effort to integrate Brooks and Bazemore effectively into the rotation.