Below are five ways Jordan Farmar’s approximate four-week absence because of a strained left hamstring affects the Lakers:
1. The Lakers lose an emerging bench player. For the past five games, Farmar had averaged 14.6 points on 58.3 percent shooting and five assists. But those statistics don’t do enough justice in the impact Farmar had on the Lakers’ bench. He played a large part in finding open guys, most notably to Nick Young and Xavier Henry.
Farmar also took over games. In the Lakers’ win Wednesday against Brooklyn, Farmar opened the second quarter making three consecutive three-pointers. Two weeks ago in a win against Golden State, Farmar and Young closed out the third quarter with a 10-0 run. Regardless of whether he scored or passed, Farmar’s aggressiveness and playmaking heavily influenced how the Lakers’ bench functioned.
2. The Lakers won’t make any moves…yet. The Lakers may have a depleting backcourt considering the ongoing injuries both to Kobe Bryant (torn left Achilles tendon) and Steve Nash (back) as well as Steve Blake recently suffering a hyperextended right elbow. But the Lakers are going to take a wait-and-see approach before considering to add any players to their roster. Beginning Tuesday, the Lakers have three full days to see how Bryant, Nash and Blake all fare in practice leading into the team’s game Friday against the Sacramento Kings at Sleep Train Arena.
3. This adds greater urgency for Bryant and Nash to return. But this is hardly ideal considering the Lakers wanted to remain patient with both players’ recoveries considering the dicey and unpredictable nature of their injuries. It’d be ideal for both Bryant and Nash to return to the lineup together both for depth reasons and so they’d work in their natural positions. But as talented as Bryant and Nash are, their return won’t completely solve this problem. Both likely will look rusty in their first game and will want to take a conservative approach in their play.
4. Steve Blake could fill an even bigger role. It’s hard to ask much more from Blake, who has averaged 10 points on 42.9 percent from three-point range and 7.7 assists. OK, so his shooting could be better than his 40.6 clip from the field or his 2.22 turnovers per game. But Blake has performed masterfully as both a starting shooting guard and point guard through 18 games. Considering the uncertainty of Nash’s return, Blake may have to play even beyond the 31.1 minutes per game that he’s averaged. He has looked in great condition. But considering his elbow injury and his age (32), there could be a fine line in giving him even more responsibility.
5. The Lakers may become innovative with their point guard spot
With Farmar lasting a mere 56 seconds and Blake somewhat limited because of his elbow injury in a loss Sunday to Portland, Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni was pretty creative on assigning point guard duties. They gave those duties to Xavier Henry and Jodie Meeks, two players with subpar ball handling skills that still combined for 47 points. But their inexperience at the position showed, making consecutive turnovers in the final two minutes.
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