NBA Draft: NBA TV analyst Grant Hill assesses Lakers’ draft needs

In this Jan. 13, 2014, file photo, Kansas center Joel Embiid (21) drives past Iowa State forward Georges Niang during an NCAA college basketball game in Ames, Iowa. Embiid didn't pick up a basketball until a few years ago, when a friend informed him that very few 7-footers succeed in soccer. A couple months later, Embiid was lured to a basketball camp in the Cameroon capital of Yaounde run by Timberwolves forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, one of just two players from Cameroon to have played in the NBA. (Charlie Neibergall/The Associated Press File)

In this Jan. 13, 2014, file photo, Kansas center Joel Embiid (21) drives past Iowa State forward Georges Niang during an NCAA college basketball game in Ames, Iowa. Embiid didn’t pick up a basketball until a few years ago, when a friend informed him that very few 7-footers succeed in soccer. A couple months later, Embiid was lured to a basketball camp in the Cameroon capital of Yaounde run by Timberwolves forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, one of just two players from Cameroon to have played in the NBA. (Charlie Neibergall/The Associated Press File)

Below is a recent interview with NBA TV analyst Grant Hill, who provided one of many expert voices surrounding who the Lakers should pick with the seventh pick of the 2014 NBA Draft on Thursday.

When you look at who might be available in the seventh slot, who would best help the Lakers?


Hill:
“Seven is a tough spot. Obviously you don’t know what’s going to happen with Joel Embiid and the situation there with him having surgery due to a stress fracture. Seven is tough because you don’t know for sure. You can model things out. But typically things never go according to plan. The Lakers, I think it depends on what ultimately their goal and objective is. Are they trying to retool quickly and make one last run at it when Kobe Bryant is there or are they preparing for the future? I think depending on what they’re trying to do depends on how they’re trying to approach it. I’m sure they’re still trying to game plan. They haven’t decided who’s going to coach their team. But in reality, they can get a good player. At seven, you can get a player who is a rotation player and a player that can have an impact and be a part of the future. Exactly who that is, I can’t tell you. I don’t know. They have a lot of needs.

What’s going to happen with Steve Nash? Is Nash going to play and is he going to be healthy? What are they going to re-sign Pau Gasol? There’s a lot of decisions that need to be made for this franchise. They can say, ‘We want to fill a need or just find the best available player we can get at seven.’ There’s a lot of factors that I think are involved with the Lakers.

One of the possibilities entails the Lakers trying to upgrade at point guard, getting someone such as Dante Exum and Marcus Smart if they’re available, so they could have Nash play a mentorship role off the bench partly because of his back. Playing with Steve, how do you think that idea would play out?


Hill:
“If those two guys are there at seven, you have to entertain the possibility of drafting them and having a guy like Nash. He helped Goran Dragic [in Phoenix]. Having played with both of those guys in Goran’s first year, Steve was still playing and playing at a high level. He was able to learn from watching and listening. Steve may not be able to go out and play like he could play back in 2007 and 2008. But his intellect and understanding of the game and him being there as a mentor would be huge.

It’s maybe even more powerful when he’s playing. When he’s playing, he’s competing. Those guys are different players than Steve in terms of style. Marcus is more of a power point guard and has good size and strength and good toughness. Dante, from what I’ve seen, is more of a taller guard and more athletic. But they’re both very talented and very skilled. You can’t help but learn from having a Steve Nash around. That could be a good strategy for the Lakers.”
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Steve Nash reports feeling “great right now” but unsure how he will hold up next season

Steve Nash talks about the disappointing season and his future following his Lakers exit interview at their training facility in El Segundo, CA on Thursday, April 17, 2014. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze)

Steve Nash talks about the disappointing season and his future following his Lakers exit interview at their training facility in El Segundo, CA on Thursday, April 17, 2014. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze)

Two months has passed ever since the most frustrating season of Steve Nash’s 18-year career ended. Three more months await for the 40-year-old point guard to heal the persistent nerve damage in his back and hamstrings that kept him out last season for all but 15 games.

So how has his health held up thus far?

“I feel great right now. I’ve been able to be pretty much go without limitations as far as my training,” Nash said on Monday. “I’m obviously not trying to overdo it so I can allow that nerve to settle down perhaps and be less irritating. It has worked so far, but I would hate to say this is where it will be like once I join the rigors of an NBA schedule.”
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Nick Young still laughing over Steve Nash’s outfit at 90′s-themed party

To ease his mind surrounding the uncertainty he will face on the free agent market, Lakers forward Nick Young has adopted a few habits this offseason that fulfills the “Swaggy P” persona.

OK, so he maintains he has worked out consistently in the gym to keep both his game and conditioning sharp. But Young has also relaxed, going on a recent vacation to Cabo, Mexico and planning a trip this weekend to London. As he posted on his Instagram account last month, Young also attended a 90′s themed party for his 29th birthday.

Here, you can see Young wearing cutoff shorts, Jordan Farmar wearing clothing promoting MTV, Robert Sacre dressing normally and Steve Nash wearing a ridiculous suit featuring cutup pants, a half-knotted tie and a jacket without a dress shirt.

“I was shocked what Steve Nash wore,” Young said with a chuckle. “I was impressed. That’s why I like hanging out with Nash. He’s real cool.”

So how did this idea come up?

“It was Jordan’s house party; I just crashed it,” Young said. “I turned his party into my party.”


RELATED:


Nick Young wants multi-year deal with Lakers; willing to take hometown discount


NBA Draft: Julius Randle eases concerns about foot, impresses Lakers in workout


Kobe Bryant says he’s “100 percent” healthy

Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

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Good chance of Steve Blake, Steve Nash and Jordan Farmar playing against Minnesota

The Lakers have a good chance of getting back three familiar faces on the court in guards Steve Blake, Jordan Farmar and Steve Nash when Los Angeles takes on Minnesota tomorrow.

“I think they are all ready to go, “said Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni after practice on Monday. “We’ll see how everybody wakes up, but there is a possibility that all three could play.”

Both Blake and Farmar said they felt good after practice, but would not give a definitive answer when asked if they would be playing tomorrow.

“We’ll see,” said Blake, whose right elbow was wrapped in ice when he addressed reporters. “I felt pretty good today in practice and I’ll see how I feel when I am when I wake up and go from there.”

“I’m not sure about tomorrow, we’ll see,” said Farmar. “I’m available if they allow me too, but I don’t know how they will work it out. Everyone is coming back at the same time so they are just trying to balance things out.”

All three guards returned to practice earlier in the week.

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Kendall Marshall says he’s not thinking about what will happen when others return

Kendall Marshall has done a good job at point guard since the Lakers signed him out of the D-League in December. He’s averaging 10.5 points and 9.3 assists in 17 games – 13 as the starter.

But with the news Monday that three other point guards – Steve Nash, Steve Blake and Jordan Farmar – are close to returning from their respective injuries, one has to wonder what will happen to Marshall when they do.

Marshall on Monday insisted he is not thinking about it.

“Not at all, not at all,” he said after practice. “The only thing I’m focused on is the next game and trying to win that game. There are way too many variables in this league to try to
predict the future, so I just try to take it one day at a time.”

Marshall, out of North Carolina, is shooting 44.4 percent from the field overall, 47.9 percent (34 of 71) from 3-point range.

Marshall and the rest of the Lakers tonight play host to the Indiana Pacers, who at 34-9 have the league’s best record.

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Steve Nash looks good in practice, but when will he actually play in a game?

When the doors to the Lakers’ practice facility opened Thursday afternoon and reporters were granted access to the gym, they were treated to the sight of Steve Nash working his magic with the basketball in his hands during the team’s scrimmage.

Nash ran away from Darius Morris’ defensive pressure and darted into the paint before passing to an open Metta World Peace for a jump shot that hit nothing but net. A few moments later, Nash set up Jodie Meeks for a 3-pointer that also was good.

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Pau Gasol might play against the Bobcats; Steve Nash might return for Christmas

Pau Gasol and Steve Nash practiced with their Lakers teammates Monday, with Gasol saying he might play Tuesday night against the Charlotte Bobcats and Nash saying he might be ready to play on Christmas Day against the New York Knicks.

Gasol said the tendinitis in his knee wasn’t as painful as it was and as if to show off his newfound health he ran a series of post-practice sprints before shooting a number of free throws. He said a decision about his participation will be made just before the tip.

“I’m happy with the practice and how I felt,” Gasol said. “We don’t want to make the decision quite yet. So, we’ll see how tomorrow in the morning how I feel. … It (a two-week layoff) helped, not just the rest but the work we did to strengthen the knees.

“I can move around much better.”

Nash ran without pain in his fractured left leg during what could only be described as a light practice, devoid of any contact. The Lakers went through a number of drills, but didn’t scrimmage as they prepared for Tuesday’s game against the Bobcats.

“We’ll see,” Nash said. “Hopefully, I can play by Christmas. We’ll see how it responds this week. Today we didn’t do anything 5-on-5 or with any contact, so it was just running and cutting. We’ll see how the rest of the week goes.”

 

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Reviews for the Lakers’ Broadway performance range from bad to worse

Madison Square Garden isn’t really on Broadway, it’s a block over on 7th Avenue, but, hey, you get the idea. The Lakers played the Knicks on Thursday, on the figurative stage at the World’s Most Famous Arena, and got thumped. Then they got hammered in the court of public opinion. Here’s a sampling from TNT’s commentators.

Steve Kerr on the Lakers’ lack of confidence: “The Lakers have no offensive confidence, no rhythm. When you don’t play with a precision offense, you end up with poor spacing defensively. Maybe when the Lakers come back with (Pau) Gasol and (Steve) Nash and their offense improves, maybe their defense can improve as well.”

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Steve Blake to undergo abdominal surgery

The hits keep coming for the Lakers, who announced Monday that backup point guard Steve Blake will undergo abdominal surgery Wednesday and will be sidelined from between six to eight weeks. Blake hasn’t played since Nov. 12, and might not be back until early February.

“It’s a big concern for me,” Kobe Bryant said of the prospect of losing Blake for up to two months. “Steve and I have always played extremely well together. He’s a clutch shooter and a tough competitor. That’s one of the things I like about him, is his toughness.

“We’re going to miss him a lot. I’m not sure he’s going to be out, but it could be a while.”

Blake sat out his 10th game because of the injury on Sunday night, when the Lakers lost to the Orlando Magic and fell to 8-9 overall. He played seven games this season, averaging 5.1 points, 2.4 rebounds and 3.4 assists in 26 minutes.

Meanwhile, starting point guard Steve Nash continued his slow recovery and rehabilitation from a fractured lower leg, performing a series of post-practice drills Monday. He can’t run yet and said Sunday he’s not expecting to play on the Lakers’ three-game trip, which begins Tuesday in Houston.

Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said he might consider starting veteran Chris Duhon at point guard in place of Darius Morris, a second-year player who played only 19 games in the NBA before this season. Duhon played almost 30 minutes Sunday against the Magic.

“A lot,” D’Antoni said when asked how much he was relying on Nash to help the team turn around its lackluster play, which includes a 3-4 mark since he was hired to replace Mike Brown. “I wouldn’t be here if I hadn’t coached him before. He’s done pretty well when we’ve been together.”

Of making a switch at point guard while Nash continues his recovery, D’Antoni said, “There’s a chance. We’ll see. We’ll talk about it tomorrow. That’s nothing against Darius. He’s learning. He’s got to get better. But I could (start Duhon against the Rockets).”

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