Lakers News: Scrutinized Second Unit Still in Limbo

David DanielsSenior Writer IOctober 14, 2012

FRESNO, CA - OCTOBER 07:  Antawn Jamison #4 of the Los Angeles Lakers controls the ball against the Golden State Warriors at Save Mart Center At Fresno State on October 7, 2012 in Fresno, California.   NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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The best starting lineup doesn’t win the NBA title.

The best eight- or nine-man rotation does. And while it’s no news that the Los Angeles Lakers boast the most talented starting five in the league, their bench is still nothing to write home about.

Through three preseason games, LA’s projected second unit has failed to impress.

Antawn Jamison, who was signed as an offensive spark, is averaging just 5.3 points per game while shooting 33 percent from the field. Jodie Meeks, another free agent acquisition that was supposed to be significant, has only played major minutes in one game—and in it he went 1-for-7.

At point guard, Steve Blake has scored just two in 24 minutes of play. Chris Duhon, who’s competing with Blake to back up Steve Nash, has scored zero in 18.

On the wing, Devin Ebanks and Chris Douglas-Roberts have shown flashes of scoring ability, defense and athleticism, but not nearly consistently enough.

It’s no wonder that, according to Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register, Mike Brown said prior to the Lakers’ game on Saturday, “None of the backup spots are set.”

Now, struggles in a few exhibition games seem like nothing to worry about. After all, LA has names on its bench. Those names—Jamison, Meeks—likely just have yet to shake off the rust.

But the Lakers may not be content with waiting for their bench to come around.

Mark Stein of ESPN reported that Blake and Duhon are on the trade block. He also mentioned that the likes of Derek Fisher, Kenyon Martin, Gilbert Arenas, Leandro Barbosa, Josh Howard, Mehmet Okur, Mickael Pietrus and Michael Redd were still free agents—the majority who’ve already been recently linked to LA.

Stein also tweeted that Jose Calderon isn’t a possible addition, at least according to the floor general’s agent:

For those asking about Calderon-to-Lakers Twitter talk today, Calderon's agent Mark Bartelstein says: "There's absolutely nothing to it."

— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) October 14, 2012

With none of the backup spots set, it’ll be interesting to see if Mitch Kupchak helps Brown make his rotational decisions easier or not in the coming weeks.


David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.