One day after getting the news that Kobe Bryant would be sidelined for the foreseeable future, the Los Angeles Lakers met at morning shootaround. Friday night, the Minnesota Timberwolves were coming to town, and the Lakers had to work out lineups and count available bodies.
Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said Xavier Henry would start at point guard and take Bryant’s spot. However, the remaining four starters would be unchanged. As such, the Lakers will start Henry, Jodie Meeks, Wesley Johnson, Jordan Hill and Pau Gasol on Friday night.
“That’s a good question,” D’Antoni smiled and responded when asked who Henry’s backup would be. “We don’t know yet. We’re going to do it by committee.”
One option for the Lakers is new signing Kendall Marshall.
Marshall’s signing was leaked on Thursday evening, but the Lakers officially announced the signing at Friday’s shootaround. Marshall met with the Los Angeles media for the first time and stated he was unsure if he would be asked to play on Friday night.
“No question,” Marshall responded when asked if was ready to play if called upon. “I’m trying to get more familiar with [Mike D’Antoni’s offense]. Obviously, in Phoenix they still had a piece of what he was doing.”
Marshall said he was familiar with some of his new Lakers teammates, too.
“I played with Wes Johnson in Phoenix. I’ve known Xavier (Henry) since we were 14, playing AAU and stuff. I’ve been playing against Ryan Kelly in college for the past couple years. I worked out with (Robert) Sacre pre-draft. I grew up watching Steve Blake being that he was at Maryland.”
D’Antoni did not rule out playing Marshall on Friday night, but he said the Lakers would likely play backup point guard by committee.
“What [Marshall will] bring is good ball-handling -- smarts,” D’Antoni said. “He’s a very heady basketball player. He’s improved his shot.”
“Well, if he walks up and shoots free throws with a torn Achilles, you figure he can play on a broken leg.” – Lakers Coach Mike D’Antoni