One would think that a team with one of the best point guards in the NBA would only need that point guard to be their distributor and playmaker. However, the Los Angeles Lakers have proven logic wrong a number of times this season and their point guard situation just continues that pattern.
Kobe Bryant told the Los Angeles Times, that he and Steve Nash are, “We’re just flipping roles, man,” Bryant said. “It’s pretty insane when you look at it.”
In addition to disregarding Mike D’Antoni’s offensive system, the Lakers have minimized Nash’s role as their point guard, replacing him with Bryant who feeds Dwight Howard and Earl Clark the ball and optimizes the team’s abilities.
On Tuesday night, Howard had 24 points. Pau Gasol came off of the bench and helped hold up the defence. He had 7 assists and 7 rebounds. Metta World Peace, who has been the only “issue free” player on the Lakers roster this season has seen his role diminish as well.
Nash struggled to get Howard, Bryant and Gasol involved when he was running D’Antoni’s offence. As a result, he’s kind of living in the BIG commercial where he sits there with Magic Johnson and watches Chris Paul play. Only Paul has been replaced with Bryant.
Nash told reporters after the Lakers win against the Oklahoma City Thunder that he is at the stage in his career where he just wants to win and will do whatever it takes.
That’s been his position since he chose the Lakers over the Toronto Raptors and the New York Knicks last summer. However, since Bryant took over, Nash has kind of been uninvolved while Bryant’s on the floor. When Bryant isn’t on the floor, Nash plays point guard. He’s the backup.
Jeff Van Gundy told ABC that Nash is the type of player who is “going to shoot if he’s open and pass if he’s covered and try to make the right play. Nash has a unique perspective. I think he’s willing to do anything it takes to try to help them win.”
However, as it stands now, Nash seems completely willing to watch his position on the Lakers become that of a shooter and a backup point guard. D’Antoni told the Los Angeles Times, “Some nights it will be Steve, some nights it will be Kobe,” D’Antoni said. “But that ball’s moving and finding people and the recipients are getting wide-open shots.”
Nash has spent most of his career as the dominant player on the teams he’s played for. He’s never had to compete for his spot before.
A spot that Bryant is more than willingly to take from him, “I was probably born a scorer, but I was made a winner, so I figure it out,” said Bryant. “Whatever works, whatever wins championships, whatever wins games, that’s what I do.”