LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 02: Chris Paul #3 of the Los Angeles Clippers drives against Steve Blake #5 of the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on November 2, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. The Clippers won 105-95. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Steve Nash is out for at least a week and perhaps a month with a non-displaced fracture in his left leg.
Mike Brown is expected to start Steve Blake in Nash’s absence, but the Lakers have not exactly flourished with Blake playing the point. To put it bluntly, Steve Blake is not a starter.
Against the Clippers, Chris Paul liked his chances against Blake on both ends of the court. Paul repeatedly swiped at Blake, forcing the Laker point guard to quickly get rid of the ball.
Defensively, Paul gambled off the 9th year point guard out of Maryland, and CP3 was hardly punished. Paul showed little respect for Blake’s offensive skill set, and Blake’s 8 points and 2 assists in 39 minutes against the Clippers had Laker fans nervous for a prolonged stretch without Steve Nash.
On the defensive end, Blake is a solid positional guard, but he is hardly a presence in terms of consistently forcing steals or pressuring the ball out of a premier point guard’s hands.
Blake is serviceable and can hit the occasional three. Outside of that, the injury to Nash just magnifies the Lakers’ lack cover at the point if Steve Nash ends up injured for an elongated spell.
After all the talk of upgrading the point guard position for the past couple years, the Lakers’ longest lingering issue remains the lack of a play-making point guard.
That said, Steve Nash can be that player, and he was brought over to play that role. Though, his meager four assists per game weren’t exactly what anyone expected from a two-time MVP who averaged 10.9 assists a game over the past eight seasons with far lesser teams.
I’m hardly giving up on Nash. I still think he’ll be dishing out double digit assist games once he figures out how to take advantage of this system. Ultimately, he’s the right man for this season. Well, he’s the only starting point guard on this roster, and his injury only underlines that fact.
However, a 38 year-old point guard is hardly a long-term fix for the position that has more time and influence over the ball than any other. The Lakers may have dodged a bullet with Nash not being on the shelf longer, but this scare should serve as a reminder that the Lakers still need a proper long-term fix at the position.
Chris Paul, consider this a standing offer.