The Los Angeles Lakers have yet another new starting lineup. For the ninth game of the regular season, Mike D’Antoni will roll out his sixth different starting lineup. At Lakers’ morning shootaround, D’Antoni confirmed the anticipated switch with Jodie Meeks coming in for injured Steve Nash, but the coach said he was “tinkering” with his lineup.
“I’m going to look at Jordan Hill and see if we can start off with his energy,” D’Antoni responded when asked what he meant by “tinkering” with the front court. “I hate to lose him off the bench.”
The change to the lineup provides Hill his first start of the season. Kaman will return to a bench role, but the change is meant to energize the Lakers’ front court. Considering Hill was the last man in an 11-man rotation for the first handful of games this season, Hill’s ascendancy to the starting lineup highlights the constant change in roles and lack of identity in this Lakers’ team.
“We have to find a way to start games with the energy,” D’Antoni tried to explain his decision to start Hill.
Meeks starting is not unexpected, as the 26-year-old started both games Nash previously missed. Also, Meeks leads the team with 12.8 points per game. This is probably a good time to take a step back and acknowledge that no Lakers player is averaging even 13 points per game. These are hard times in Laker Land.
After Tuesday night, D’Antoni will have started Shawne Williams, Kaman, and Hill at power forward. There has been talk about Wesley Johnson possibly stepping into the role as well. If the Lakers win on Tuesday, don't expect any changes. However, a loss and a quick back-to-back in Denver may force the "Tinkerman" to roll out his seventh starting lineup come Wednesday night.
First, though, it is the Lakers hosting the Pelicans at Staples Center on Tuesday night.