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Lakers Reserves Whose Playing Time Must Be Adjusted by D'Antoni

Tyson AgbayaniCorrespondent IJanuary 28, 2013

Lakers Reserves Whose Playing Time Must Be Adjusted by D'Antoni

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    The Los Angeles Lakers have been inconsistent all year, and the fact that the squad doesn't know who will be coming off the bench in games is no doubt playing into this inconsistency.

    While coach Mike D'Antoni is still trying to figure out the best combination of players to bring off the bench, the clock is ticking away as the Lakers are trying desperately to make it into the postseason.

    If the Lakers do want a spot in the playoffs this season, D'Antoni must figure out the bench rotation and must do so quickly.    

    Here are some Lakers reserves who should get more or less playing time under D'Antoni.   

More Minutes: Jodie Meeks

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    Although a streaky shooter and even sometimes a bit out of control on the court, Jodie Meeks is a player the Lakers need off the bench.  

    Meeks was brought to L.A. this offseason as essentially the fix to the Lakers' woes from downtown and a legitimate backup to Kobe Bryant.

    While that may have been the scheme when the Lakers first brought him in, his minutes seem to tell otherwise.  

    In the last 10 games, Meeks has averaged 6.8 minutes a game and has all but completely fallen out of the rotation.

    D'Antoni must work Meeks back into the rotation, simply because he is too valuable to leave on the bench. In meaningful minutes this season, Meeks has shown the ability to not only score the ball but also defend it as well.

    Meeks is a player whose motor is always running and D'Antoni must capitalize on that. With consistent minutes off the bench, Meeks could be that energy guy that the Lakers have been looking for all along.

Fewer Minutes: Chris Duhon

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    With news that Steve Blake will be returning this Tuesday against the New Orleans Hornets, Chris Duhon's run at the backup point guard position might soon be coming to an end.

    While Duhon has done a decent job behind Steve Nash, the Lakers need much more out of their reserve guards, and Blake may be able to provide that.

    Although Blake himself hasn't performed up to Lakers fans' standards since joining the team in 2010, this may be a chance for him to finally prove himself under D'Antoni's system.  

    Blake's decision-making and shooting, if he can find his stroke, is something the Lakers and D'Antoni could definitely benefit from.  

    Though Blake's defense could be an issue, D'Antoni should and probably will give him the backup duties over Duhon. Look for D'Antoni to slowly limit Duhon's minutes (20.7) and go with the Steves at the point guard position.

More Minutes: Antawn Jamison

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    Like Jodie Meeks, Antawn Jamison has also had his fair share of limited minutes in Los Angeles.

    Under the impression that he'd be playing a key role as a reserve with the Lakers, Jamison signed with Los Angeles this past July, trading in starter minutes for a chance to play for a ring.

    Midway through the season, it's safe to say that things haven't gone according to plan as Jamison is currently averaging a career-low 19.9 minutes per game.

    While Jamison may have expected a drop off in minutes this season, he couldn't have predicted what happened last month when he benched for six games in a row.

    Jamison deserves to have a role off the bench as he can stretch the floor and also grab his fair share of rebounds. At the age of 36 years old, Jamison can still impact games in a big way, and his 33-point explosion in November is proof to that.  

    While Jamison seems to have made it off the bench for the time being, inconsistency has been the story of the season. Only time will tell if D'Antoni decides to keep Jamison in the rotation, let's just hope this time he does.

No Change: Earl Clark

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    Although Earl Clark is now starting and technically not a reserve, let's face it: Pau Gasol still owns that power forward position whether he comes off the bench or not.

    Since emerging onto the scene after Jordan Hill's season-ending injury, Clark has become a fan favorite and a key defensive piece in the Lakers defense.  

    Clark has also shown his ability to score and his tenacity on the boards. In his last 11 games, Clark is averaging 10.6 points and 8.9 rebounds in 29.8 minutes. Clark has made up for Hill's absence and is statistically having a bigger impact on the floor than Hill did.

    Clark has continued to thrive on the court since being inserted into the rotation and their is really no one that can challenge him for minutes. If Clark continues to deliver, D'Antoni and the Lakers should continue to ride him as the season progresses.

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