Kobe Bryant will miss the entire preseason for the Lakers, and no one knows when he will return while he recovers from a destroyed Achilles. Steve Nash and Pau Gasol are healthy, but they are older, and both dealt with injuries last season. According to my man Dave McMenamin of ESPN LA, those two will miss the first preseason game on Saturday:
Nash and Gasol, on the other hand, are healthy but Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni wants to give them a day off with Saturday’s game in Ontario, Calif., to be followed Sunday in the second night of a back-to-back against the Denver Nuggets at Staples Center.
D’Antoni told reporters after practice Friday he will likely start Steve Blake and Nick Young in the backcourt and Wesley Johnson, Jordan Hilland Chris Kaman in the frontcourt against the Warriors, the first of eight preseason games for the Lakers.
So, that starting five probably isn’t winning a championship anytime soon. This is the preseason, and ultimately this means very little in the grand scheme of things. In fact, giving minutes to role players could give them confidence, and show Mike D’Antoni what he has this season. It also shows that they are going to play it safe with their aging stars, and that’s a positive sign. The Steve Nash/Pau Gasol pick and roll could be deadly, and if they stay healthy this season, the Lakers could make some noise. Also, I’m setting the over/under for Nick Young shots at 24.5.