Pau Gasol #16 and point guards Steve Nash #10, and Steve Blake #5 of the Los Angeles Lakers all missed Sunday's loss to the Philadelphia 76ers
In Sunday’s pregame press conference, Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni was asked why Kendall Marshall was not playing. Marshall was signed as an emergency backup point guard on Dec. 20, but he had barely seen any playing time.
“He’s not as good as (Xavier Henry),” D’Antoni said about Marshall. “I don’t know him. I’ve seen him play maybe two minutes. I don’t think we’re at the point, 'ah, let’s experiment maybe it’ll go good.’"
“We’re not going to lose games because I’m over here experimenting.”
After Xavier Henry’s sprained his knee, D’Antoni called Marshall’s name, and the experiment began. Marshall finished with eight points, three assists and two rebounds in 17 minutes. He shot 2-3 from long range, and the team was plus-13 points with him on the court. He actually finished with the best plus/minus on the team.
“Kendall (Marshall) played well tonight,” D’Antoni said after the game. “It was good to see. We’ll need him, obviously.”
“I should have told you just if he hangs around a little bit, one of our point guards will go down,” D’Antoni dropped in circling back to his pregame comments.
With the Lakers forced to rely on a player who was in the NBA Development League less than two weeks earlier, these are sad times for the purple and gold.
How did it come to this? Ignoring last year’s point guard curse when Steve Nash and Steve Blake were out for significant periods of time, this year’s Lakers point guards curse is even scarier.
Well, Nash never fully recovered from a nerve issue that has been affecting his neck, back and hamstring. He continues to work hard in training, but he is still a few weeks away from being reevaluated. Nash last played on Nov. 10, so he will have missed a minimum of two months even if he is cleared to play again.
Steve Blake somehow gave himself a baseball injury in his right elbow. Blake played through the injury for a bit until scans showed exactly what was wrong. Blake last played on Dec. 10, and he was expected to miss six weeks. Currently, Blake continues to do court work shooting with his left hand. His left handed floaters and bank shots look pretty good these days, but his right arm is stabilized by a Terminator-looking contraption.
After eight months of rehab, Kobe Bryant returned from an Achilles injury on Dec. 8. Two games after returning, he took over full point guard duties once Blake went down injured. Four games later, a scan revealed Bryant had suffered a fracture in his knee. Bryant’s recovery timeline calls for another month off the court.
At the time Bryant went down with his injury, Xavier Henry was the only healthy guard capable of playing the point guard position. Henry was a shooting guard, but Jordan Farmar was recovering from a torn hamstring, so Henry stepped in.
After three weeks on the sidelines, Farmar’s returned on Christmas day. Two games and one quarter later, Henry suffered a knee injury on Sunday.
Now, the Lakers are relying on a 22-year-old second-year point guard who was so poor in his rookie season that he ended up in the NBA’s Development League. Even scarier, if Marshall or Farmar get injured, the Lakers’ options are, well, non-existent.
Whether or not the Lakers’ point guards are actually cursed, it sure feels like it.