The Lakers just can't seem to find a break at point guard. According to Royce Young of CBSSports.com, second-stringer Steve Blake is out for tonight's game against the San Antonio Spurs and will be day-to-day with an abdominal strain. In his place, the point guard duties will be shared by veteran Chris Duhon and second-year man Darius Morris.
This is a small, yet badly timed blow to the Lakers' backcourt. On top of Blake's injury, veteran point man Steve Nash is recovering from a non-displaced fracture in his left leg and is expected to be out for a couple more weeks.
Needless to say, the reserves are really going to have to pick up the slack in the regulars' absences.
However, Lakers fans should not fear as Duhon is more than capable of handling a starting job. Keep in mind, the former Duke Blue Devil has plenty of experience as a starter, having started 310 of his 563 career games.
More importantly, while Duhon's starting experience is all well and good, this is going to be Morris' time to shine. He needs to take advantage of this extended playing time to show just why he is the Lakers' point guard of the future.
That said, the biggest mistake either man can make is to try to do too much with their extended minutes. Duhon must remember that he is not on the team to score points or shoot lights-out, nor to play pesky defense. All that he and Morris have to do with Blake and Nash out is get the ball to the scorers.
Still, Morris should use this time as a learning experience and not just as someone getting the ball to the Lakers' established stars. If he is their point guard of the future, he needs to show at least some semblance of leadership.
This means running the occasional pick-and-roll and creating plays by driving hard to the basket before suddenly dishing off passes. The absolute worst thing he can do is act passively like former Lakers point man Derek Fisher and just dump the ball off to Bryant after crossing half court.
Besides that, when push comes to shove, all that Duhon and Morris need to do in the absence of the regulars is to let the veterans run the show. Bryant and Gasol have won two rings together and Howard is more than capable of playing a good center.
Thus, so long as the Lakers' coaching staff has faith in Duhon and Morris running the point and the two guards trust their veteran teammates to bring home the victory, Los Angeles should have no problem continuing to do well without their top point guards.
Once they return and D'Antoni makes his coaching debut Friday in Phoenix, this Lakers team will finally start exhibiting the greatness it was put together to achieve.
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