It’s no secret the Lakers have an abundance of small forward types: Lamar Odom, Vlad Radmanovic, Luke Walton, Trevor Ariza, even, in some cases Kobe Bryant.
So far this season, it’s Walton drawing the short straw in terms of playing time at 3 minutes, 47 seconds a game.
Is that going to be a problem down the line?
“We have a problem here because we almost have an abundance of talent particularly at one position,” Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. “We’re searching to find playing time for players. That’s a concern for me personally, but it’s nice as a coach to have that when the talent is at a level in which you can just take the subtleties of people’s game and apply them to a situation on the floor.”
Walton is not playing as much, mostly because Odom has been moved from the starting 5 to the second unit. Both are offensive facilitators. Walton has always been a Phil Jackson favorite because of his basketball IQ and passing ability. Odom, though, is a better low-post scorer and rebounder, which is more of what the second unit needs with Farmar playing the point and initiating the offense.
Jackson said that he generally would keep nine or 10 players in the rotation for a normal game. If you’re counting, that means: Bryant, Radmanovic, Odom, Ariza, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum, Derek Fisher, Jordan Farmar and Sasha Vujacic. No. 10 would probably be Walton or Chris Mihm, depending on how the game is going. No. 12 would be Josh Powell.
“We feel like this year we’re the Big 12,” Fisher said. “And any person that steps on the court at any time can get the job done so there’s no concern about whether the starting unit does this or whether the bench unit is going to do that.”
So far the Lakers starters are scoring 66.2 points a game. The bench is averaging 40.6 points game.