Utah Jazz vs. Los Angeles Lakers: Biggest Keys for LA in Final Preseason Tuneup

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Utah Jazz vs. Los Angeles Lakers: Biggest Keys for LA in Final Preseason Tuneup
(Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

The biggest story for the Los Angeles Lakers is Kobe Bryant's rehab, but we won't be seeing any more of that in the Lakers' final preseason game on Friday night against the Utah Jazz. However, the Lakers do need to see more of their point guard picture play out.

Steve Nash has been limited to a mere 3.5 points and 3.5 assists in 16.7 minutes per game in the preseason. Stats may not be a huge concern for the two-time MVP, but his play has been a concern for his teammates.

"Steve hasn't been able to complete a practice yet, so that's the bigger issue," Pau Gasol said of Nash, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles.

With Nash limited, Jordan Farmar has filled in well. Going forward, the Lakers will need to determine exactly what roles Farmar and Steve Blake will play with and without Nash in the mix. With Nash likely out on Friday, it would be a good time to see how Farmar and Blake can run the offense.

Farmar seems to be the fill-in point guard, while Blake has the ability to play off the ball. He could find himself playing some shooting guard until No. 24 returns.

"I think it would be fun to play some shooting guard with [Nash]," Blake said, via Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times. "We can both handle the ball and create shots for each other at times. I don't mind playing off the ball at all."

Blake and Farmar have been solid in the preseason, but the Lakers want to move forward with a healthy Nash. This last game should be used to see who can best run Mike D'Antoni's offense if Nash is limited or unable to go.

The Lakers will also need to solidify their bench. Nick Young, Xavier Henry and Wesley Johnson are all vying for minutes at small forward. Young and Henry are likely the favorites to get more run, but another solid performance could earn Johnson a larger piece of the pie.

"I thought Wesley was outstanding," D'Antoni said, via Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times.  "He can get a lot better. I think he's just scratching the surface."

Johnson provides the Lakers with some athleticism and defensive toughness.

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Mainly, D'Antoni and the Lakers need to figure out which combinations work best on the floor. Can Blake and Nash partner together? Can Farmar lead the second unit? Who will be the secondary scorer to Pau Gasol—Meeks or Young?

There are a lot of questions right now, and the answers may not reveal themselves against the Jazz. Figuring out the point guard situation, Nash's health and the best scoring threats off the bench will help the Lakers keep their heads above water until Kobe returns.

And isn't that the goal?

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