Steve Nash #10 of the Los Angeles Lakers celebrates after his teammate Steve Blake hit a game-winning three point shot as Jeremy Lin #7 of the Houston Rockets reacts during the game at Toyota Center on November 7, 2013 in Houston, Texas. Nash and Blake are expected to return on Tuesday in Minnesota barring any setbacks.
“I think they’re all ready to go,” Los Angeles Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni started his press conference following Monday’s practice.
D’Antoni was referring to Steve Blake, Steve Nash and Jordan Farmar, none of whom have seen any game action in 2014.
“There’s a possibility all three could play,” D’Antoni did his best to hold back on fully committing, but the mood of the coach was optimistic that all three long-term injured point guards would be dressed to play on Tuesday night.
If Nash does return on Tuesday in Minnesota, D’Antoni conceded that the 39-year-old would sit out Wednesday’s game in Cleveland. Nash took off playing back-to-back games earlier in the season in an attempt to prolong his season and avoid injury. Clearly, that step was not enough, but that commitment to preservation should continue as long as Nash is healthy enough to play.
Kendall Marshall, who had been playing point guard, now finds himself in an awkward spot. He’s played well as a starter, but suddenly, he would is possibly third or forth on the depth chart. D’Antoni said Marshall should continue playing despite all the point guards coming back, but he was unsure of exactly how everything would play out. The coach conceded that Marshall's minutes would drop significantly.
One possible scenario D’Antoni touched on involved Blake playing more shooting guard than point guard, which was common early in the season. Memorably, Blake hit the game winning shot in Houston early this season, and Nash was the point guard on the court during that last-second play. It worked early in the season, so it will likley be attempted again at this junction.
However, Jodie Meeks has been a standout performer at shooting guard this season, and so, juggling line-ups may not be as simple as one would expect. Meeks may even find himself at small forward, as D'Antoni tries to re-incorporate the injured trio.
With Pau Gasol injured and not travelling with the team, D’Antoni was not in the mood to reveal his starter at center. “Either Robert (Sacre) or Kaman or Jordan Hill,” D'Antoni said when asked who would start.
“Chris (Kaman) will play, and (I’m) looking forward to seeing him play,” D’Antoni went on to say.
Kaman recently had an MRI on his knee, but that MRI came back negative, but Kaman expects to play and is hopeful for a start.
“I actually tweaked it a few days ago in practice, and it just wasn’t feeling right,” Kaman said on Tuesday when asked about the knee. “It’s been bugging me a little bit, but it’s nothing I can’t play with right now at the stage I’m at.”
“I’m just happy there was no tear or anything in there, and structurally, it’s sound,” Kaman added.
It may have taken longer than everyone expected, but the Lakers will probably have all their point guards back, and Kaman should play on Tuesday. For fans, Tuesday's Lakers' team may be nearly unrecognizable.