The Los Angeles Lakers point guard news just went from bad to worse. On Monday, the Lakers announced that Steve Blake would miss another 6-8 weeks with his abdominal strain. The Lakers and Blake opted for surgery, and the 32 year-old is set to go under the knife on Wednesday.
Coming on the heels of news that Steve Nash expects to be out another 10-14 days, the Lakers have been dealt a major blow with news of Blake's surgery.
Coach Mike D’Antoni will have to make do with his tandem of Darius Morris and Chris Duhon until Nash gets back. Morris remained the starter at last check, but that hardly means the youngster is D'Antoni's preferred guard at the moment. D’Antoni has slowly shifted minutes away from Morris in favor of Duhon over the past week.
Morris’ production has also taken a sharp decline with the Los Angeles native scoring only 6 points over the last three games on 2-14 shooting and only dishing out 6 assists to 3 turnovers. D’Antoni may continue to start Morris, but Duhon has been the coach’s choice to finish games.
Duhon was hardly inspirational in Sunday’s loss to Orlando, but he is more experienced at running D’Antoni’s system. Duhon played under D’Antoni in New York, so it should come as no surprise that the coach slowly gravitated toward a player he was already familiar with.
Duhon is not necessarily a better scorer than Morris, as he has only scored 8 points over the past three games—only 2 more points than Morris. However, “C-Du” has 14 assists over that same stretch and only 2 turnovers—a significantly better assist-to-turnover ratio than Morris. He is also shooting a better percentage than Morris over the past three games, but 3-11 is certainly not worth praising.
D’Antoni may well continue to start Morris because the kid has shown that he can work well with the first unit in the past. When the game is on the line, however, Duhon is D’Antoni’s preferred choice.
Once Nash comes back, expect Morris to grab a seat and Duhon should continue on as Nash’s backup. For D’Antoni and the Lakers, Nash cannot get back soon enough.