So much for Smush Parker’s “breakout” game against the Detroit Pistons. That was what Parker was saying before Friday’s game, at least, in an attempt to pysch himself up against his former team.
Parker finished with five points on 2 of 7 shooting with three turnovers and two assists. He sat for the entire fourth quarter and final 15 1-2 minutes of the game. What makes it especially disappointing is that Parker had every motivation in the world Friday.
The Lakers looked to Parker to knock down open 3-pointers in the first quarter and break open the Pistons’ zone. He made 1 of 4. Parker missed another shot when he saw an opening to attack, drove the lane, and tossed up an out-of-control layup with his right hand from the left side of the basket.
His biggest lowlight came in throwing a wild pass on the fast break that sailed out of bounds with 34 seconds left in the quarter. Lakers coach Phil Jackson, still using a cane away from the basketball court, fell out of his chair trying to yell for Jordan Farmar to replace Parker.
Which brings us to Farmar. He finished with nine points and five assists against no turnovers in 22 minutes and played the entire fourth quarter. When the Lakers were showing no life in the second quarter, Farmar stepped up and hit a couple of shots. The Lakers outscored Detroit 45-39 with Farmar on the court, in a game they lost 97-83.
So far this season, Parker is averaging 8.1 points on 36.4 percent shooting. He nearly shot the Lakers out of Tuesday’s win against Minnesota before hitting a big 3-pointer late. What’s worrysome is that Parker clearly has a hard time pulling out of slumps, as was the case in the Lakers’ first-round playoff series against Phoenix.
I have no idea if Jackson would consider making a switch to Farmar so early in the season. But the Lakers do play Memphis on Sunday, and Farmar has four games worth of summer-league experience against the Grizzlies.
Until then, Jackson might go back to calling Parker by his given name (William) or his alternate nickname (Smash), which the coach did a couple of times last season.