With the Lakers’ roster essentially set for next season, we can begin looking at the roster, breaking down each position and taking a look at the expected depth chart, minute distribution, and production level.
Any discussion regarding the point guard position on the Lakers will, unfortunately, center around Steve Nash and his health. However, this summer brought lots of change, with Jeremy Lin coming in via trade and the Lakers finding a diamond in the rough late in the draft with Jordan Clarkson.
Jordan Farmar left during free agency, joining the hallway rivals in the Clippers, unwilling to wait on the Lakers, who themselves were waiting on Carmelo Anthony‘s decision. A victim of the salary cap, Kendall Marshall joined him on the list of departures, waived after the Lakers claimed Carlos Boozer off waivers.
What we’re left with is a lot of indecisiveness. Both Nash and Lin have deals expiring next summer. Clarkson, while dazzling in the Summer League, is still totally unproven.
For his last season, Nash is going to give the Lakers a headache for one more year. Most likely, like last season, Nash will start games to get a barometer of his expected level of play. However, the uneasy feeling I have is that Nash will be at the level he was last year, leaving the Lakers with a liability instead of an asset.
Lin, despite his unwarranted reputation, will be an upgrade over anything the Lakers had last year. He’s better than Nash at 30% (which is what he was at best last year), and better than a fully healthy Steve Blake, Farmar, or Marshall. He’s gotten a bad rep for reasons I don’t understand, but is an average defender at worst and an above average offensive player at worst. Along with Kobe Bryant, this back court may have the highest basketball IQ of any backcourt in the league.
At just 25 years old, Lin still has tons of room to grow. Under Nash and Bryant, expect him to really blossom. The majority of the minutes will go to Lin, who will certainly start on nights Nash doesn’t play and may even get the starting nod over Nash depending on his level of play.
The wildcard is Clarkson. In the Summer League, Clarkson was all over the court offensively, getting to the rim while also scoring from mid-range and deep. While he certainly needs to work on taking care of the ball and creating for others, his ability to score is always going to make him desirable, especially this early into his career.
In the end, here are the expected per game stats for the Lakers point guards also in order of the depth chart, assuming full health:
Steve Nash – 15 minutes, 5.5 points, 5.0 assists
Jeremy Lin – 30 minutes, 15.0 points, 5.5 assists
Jordan Clarkson – 10 minutes, 6.0 points, 2.0 assists