Once again, Jordan Farmar is out with a strained groin. This is the third time this has happened this season.
This year simply hasn’t been the Lakers’ year. Eleven (!) different Lakers have been out due to injury. We don’t need to discuss what kinds of injuries they are. They are all bad.
We have a Hall-of-Fame backcourt. I can’t even remember if they saw playing time together at the same time. Every player is pushing themselves to stay on the floor. Every player, seems to be pushing too hard. What happens when players play before they’re 100%? They aggravate injuries. They add new ones.
Still, you have to hand it to the Laker team. Xavier Henry gave us a few highlights. Nick Young became the Laker isolation king, and even made a few defensive plays to win games. Kendall Marshall puts up shocking numbers from being an NBDL pick up. Almost every player on the Laker roster has developed their game in some way. Some more than most, namely Jodie Meeks, Jordan Farmar, and Xavier Henry. Meeks got his driver’s license and attacks the rim off-the-bounce. Farmar became a more consistent shooter behind the arc. Henry gained confidence in his drives, but progressed his mid-range game.
With seventeen games to go, the Laker team is playing for pride. Character development will shine through from what is left of the roster. Every one still has something to prove to themselves and the team.
Ironically, Mike D’Antoni’s style of play is supposed to save players from injuries. More running and less contact from the opposition should do that. Admittedly, the 1980′s Laker teams were healthy teams. If they missed games, it was because they were pushed too hard in practice. Mike D’Antoni doesn’t do that to his teams. The Phoenix Suns of the 2000′s were competitive because their starting line up was always available for over 40 minutes a game.
Instead, Kobe Bryant gave out his ACL trying to make the playoffs last year.
David Robinson played six games for the Spurs in 1997. Sean Elliott didn’t even play half a season. That team ended up a 20-win team. Their roster overall hasn’t missed as many games as this Laker team has, and yet, this team has more wins.
If there is something to look forward to, it’s a similar scenario with the Spurs of that year. There is no obvious tanking from this Laker team. There have been too many injuries. The Lakers just need to choose the right guy in the draft, have the face of the team be a true leader, and get everyone healthy for another run. While there are some similarities between both teams, chances are, the Lakers aren’t going to find Duncan-like impact from the get go.
2015 can’t come fast enough.