The Los Angeles Lakers have seen more hardships than times of smooth-sailing over the first half of the 2013-14 NBA season. While there’s been a widely reported riff between the team and veteran Pau Gasol, the biggest issue that the Lakers have faced this season has been their ongoing fight with injuries.
While the most notable injury has been to Kobe Bryant who returned from a torn Achilles to play only six games before breaking a bone in his leg. However, the rest of their backcourt has also suffered from a slew of injuries as well. Steve Nash, Jordan Farmar, Steve Blake and Xavier Henry have all missed substantial periods of time due to injuries.
According to a report from Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles, though, Nash, Farmar and Blake will all be returning to the lineup on Tuesday when the Lakers take on the Minnesota Timberwolves, at least in the mind of head coach Mike D’Antoni. Considering that Kendall Marshall has been their only remaining true point guard over the past few weeks, this offers a definite respite for L.A.
While the efficacy of an aging Nash is still in question, Blake offers some stability at point guard to the Lakers and much needed depth. Also adding depth is Farmar, who was a solid performer for this team before getting hurt.
However, the biggest question with all of these returning backcourt players is what happens to Marshall. In 19 games for the Lakers, Marshall has performed quite well in his second year in the league. Playing 33.3 minutes per game, the guard has averaged 10.5 points, 9.6 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game while shooting 44.6 percent from the floor and a surprising 45.5 percent from three. His play hasn’t resulted in many wins for the Lakers, but that’s not a direct result of his performance by any means.
With Nash and Blake having deeper roots with this team, you have to expect that Marshall will be playing behind them, though he may still see solid minutes as the Lakers try and ease the returning players back into action. Down the road, though, Marshall could be buried on the bench or even waived. If his play with L.A. is any indication, though, he shouldn’t have much difficulty finding work elsewhere in the league.