Below is the seventh in a series previewing the storylines surrounding each player on the Lakers’ roster for the 2013-14 season. This post focuses on Lakers backup point guard Jordan Farmar.
1. Will Farmar become the primary backup point guard? Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni may have always felt Steve Blake would make the perfect player in his system for his play-making abilities. But Farmar has such qualities too, ranging from his aggressiveness, quickness, driving abilities and outside shooting. It’s highly plausible Farmar, 28, could surpass Blake, 34, on the depth chart or at at least eat minutes away from him for reasons beyond any possible injuries.
My hunch is that D’Antoni will plan to have an open mind in training camp with the intent to give them an equal share of minutes. But if one significantly outshines the other, that player will have a more prominent bench role. Neither Farmar nor Blake should feel worried, however, about not having a role. D’Antoni said he’s planning to have an 11-player rotation, and it’s possible both Blake and Farmar will play at shooting guard as well.
2. Farmar should enjoy the Lakers more this time around. Despite being a key bench piece in the Lakers securing back-to-back championships in 2009 and 2010, Farmar sounded very eager afterwards as a free agent to leave Los Angeles. The Taft and UCLA standout lived here his whole life. Farmar wanted to start. And he believed Phil Jackson’s triangle offense restricted his play-making abilities. After two-year stint with the Nets and an overseas gig in Turkey, Farmar sounds ready to be back in Los Angeles.
One, he’s married and has two daughters, including a new born. Second, his talents cater more to D’Antoni’s system than Jackson’s. Third, Farmar has gained added perspective from his other stints that makes him appreciate more what the Lakers can offer. With that mindset, it’s easy to predict that Farmar will adjust here pretty easily.
3. Will Farmar have more of a team mindset in his second stint with the Lakers? One of the reasons why Farmar didn’t like Jackson’s system involved his preference for making cuts based off of reads. D’Antoni actively encourages his players to shoot. But will this just tap into Farmar’s previous tendency to force the issue and create on his own? D’Antoni might promote it. Yet, Farmar will have to handle that freedom carefully since it could stunt the Lakers to take considering it might stunt the Lakers’ ball movement and lead to bad shots.
4. Farmar will be needed on defense. He spent most of his time with the Turkish basketball club, Anadolu Efes, sharpening his defense. The Lakers lack that strength for many reasons, including the departures of Dwight Howard and Metta World Peace and the team’s aging roster. So this would mark a perfect opportunity both to help Steve Nash’s defensive deficiencies and to elevate his role. It’s likely not enough to stop Russell Westbrook, Tony Parker or Chris Paul. No one can stop them, really. But Farmar’s presence could at least shave off a few baskets the Lakers otherwise would’ve conceded.
5. Farmar might play some shooting guard. For however long Kobe Bryant remains out of the lineup because of a torn left Achilles tendon, it’s likely that Farmar will play at his spot. It remains to be seen whether he would start there. But regardless, he’s bound to share some minutes at that position with Steve Blake. Should Farmar have a trusty outside shot, he’ll likely have a big role beyond backing up Nash.
Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org