Steve Nash Injury: How Will Lakers Compensate Without Star Point Guard?
If Sunday night's trouncing of Detroit is any indication, the Lakers won't need to compensate much for Steve Nash's absence. Per Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times, Nash could miss up to four weeks with his leg injury.
Steve Nash could miss up to four weeks with the small fracture in his left leg, a Lakers source said. #BadLakerNews
—Mike Bresnahan (@Mike_Bresnahan) November 5, 2012
This would be highly concerning if Nash had been meshing with the Lakers from the start. Though the experiment is barely underway, Nash's presence has been far from a bright spot in the early going.
Again, I would caution against jumping to wild conclusions after only 25 minutes of the two-time MVP, but it seemed like the Princeton offense phased out his pick-and-roll game in favor of more touches for others.
You can't really miss what you never had, and the Lakers haven't truly had Nash—yet.
But hey, here's a plan:
Perhaps it was just Detroit's defense (and this is a big "perhaps"), but Dwight Howard looks like he's back. Spinal surgery is a tricky beast, so it is conceivable that Howard will feel ill effects in another game, but he was simply brilliant against the Pistons.
Dwight did not need Nash's assistance to get the ball. He simply walled off his man and took entry passes from Steve Blake, Kobe Bryant and others. Brown's offense generated considerable ball movement around the horn, making such passes easy for any Laker on the floor.
The challenge for L.A. will be cinching up its defense, a project that Nash wasn't really involved in. Based on Howard's most recent play, that cinch could be a cinch.
But the Lakers aren't out of the woods. If Dwight loses half a step, it's bad news. This is a terrible surrounding defensive roster—Metta World Peace excluded. Their defensive efficacy is all predicated on Howard compensating for others.
Without Nash, the plan going forward will be what it's been in the past. Remember, the Lakers played a lot of basketball with Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum manning the middle. This team is used to leaning on a large, dominant frontcourt. Kobe has operated as something of a point guard, and he'll be happy to take extra shots in Nash's absence.
Jodie Meeks will see more minutes (it's odd that he's seeing so few as it stands), as will Steve Blake. These aren't all-world performers, but they are effective stop-gap guards.
The real problem might arise when Nash comes back, and has to hash out his role overlap with Bryant. Figuring out how to run an offense through three stars is easier than figuring out how to run it through four—even if the eventual rewards for the latter exceed that of the former.
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