On Wednesday night, Nick Young was upset that none of his teammates had his back against the Phoenix Suns.
On Thursday, the Los Angeles Lakers were thankful no one left the bench or rushed into the skirmish because the NBA suspended Young for one game. If the Lakers had lost another player or two, they may not have had enough bodies to suit up against the Boston Celtics on Friday.
With the Lakers already thin due to injuries, Young’s suspension hits at a particularly difficult time. The Lakers are on the second game of a marathon seven-game road trip, and LA has lost six games in a row. Young’s suspension thins out a back court that was already without Steve Nash, Steve Blake, Kobe Bryant, Xavier Henry and Jordan Farmar.
No coincidence, the Lakers announced the signing of Manny Harris to the team on Thursday. Harris was signed to a 10-day contract after leading the NBA D-League with 30.6 points per game. After the Lakers cut Shawne Williams, LA had an open roster spot for this type of occasion.
For the Lakers, Harris is the second D-League call-up of the season. After Kendall Marshall was brought in to provide emergency relief at point guard, Harris appears to be an emergency option at shooting guard.
With Young suspended, Jodie Meeks was the only available shooting guard on the roster for Friday’s game in Boston. With Meeks moonlighting as the backup point guard, the Lakers truthfully only had two guards available to play in Boston prior to the Harris signing.
Harris is a scorer, and the former University of Michigan Spartan lays claim to two of the top five scoring performances in the D-League this season. With a 10-day contract, the Lakers will have five games to evaluate Harris before making a decision on his future with the team: at Boston; at Toronto; at Chicago; at Miami; and at Orlando.
Considering the thin back court, Harris should be thrown into the deep end from the get-go. Even if he swims, he is not expected to be able to save the Lakers from drowning the season.