Although the major stories surrounding the Lakers as of late have been how Mike D’Antoni’s system is working out, the Pau Gasol trade rumors, and most recently, the horrible losses to the Orlando Magic and Houston Rockets, there has been one low-profile bright spot: Chris Duhon.
Over the course of the past three games–in which Duhon has seen an uptick in minutes (an average of 32.9 per game)–the 30-year-old point guard has averaged 4.7 points and 6.0 assists on 41.6 percent shooting from the field and 40.0 percent shooting from behind the arc.
No, those numbers don’t jump out at anyone and aren’t really impressive at all, but beyond the stats, Duhon has provided a steady hand at the helm of the Lakers.
Obviously, the Lakers are going through some tough times right now, but Duhon’s play has been solid and steady; and reminiscent–to me at least–of Derek Fisher.
I’m not comparing the two by any means, but the style of play Duhon has put on display appears to be very much within himself and an intelligent one. He doesn’t try to do too much like other point guards might have, given the chance to start for the Lakers as he did on Tuesday, but seems to make the correct, simple plays.
Again, it may seem very minor to most, and probably is, but when these harsh times for the Lakers are over, I think Duhon will and should get some acknowledgement. The numbers won’t show it, but perhaps the decision making will eventually be seen.
Steve Blake, unfortunately, will be sidelined for at least six weeks, and Darius Morris, although he’s showed much improvement and promise this season, just might not be ready to close out games. Those factors allow a spot for Chris Duhon to continue to acclimate himself with this team and prove his value.
He was the talk of trade rumors early on, and honestly if the Lakers could trade him, they probably would to save some cash. However, he may just end up proving to be a valuable asset to this team down the line.
As far as I’m concerned, he already has. The team looks to be struggling right now, but with their first two options at point guard sidelined due to injury, Duhon’s provided a veteran presence at the position and the ability to play significant minutes.
Let’s put it this way: Has anyone been complaining of the lack of ability at the point guard position and attributing it to the Lakers’ woes like years past? Nope. Most people have been talking of the coaching change, Pau Gasol’s inconsistent play, Dwight Howard’s free throws, and Kobe Bryant’s shot selection.
Maybe all of those things are simply overshadowing the point guard play, but in Los Angeles, if you can manage to stay out of the discussion of being “the problem,” then you’re doing your job in my book.