If Kobe’s Out, Which Lakers Five Will Start The Season? Reviewed by Momizat on . When the regular season begins, there's a strong chance Kobe Bryant won't be ready to suit up, which begs the question: "What will the Lakers' starting five loo When the regular season begins, there's a strong chance Kobe Bryant won't be ready to suit up, which begs the question: "What will the Lakers' starting five loo Rating:
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If Kobe’s Out, Which Lakers Five Will Start The Season?

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Steve Nash and Pau GasolWhen the regular season begins, there’s a strong chance Kobe Bryant won’t be ready to suit up, which begs the question: “What will the Lakers’ starting five look like?”

Well, we know two players–Steve Nash and Pau Gasol–will definitely be starting, barring any injuries.

Nash will play point guard, of course, and Gasol will start at the center position. After the debacle surrounding Gasol last season, I think there’s little doubt that his natural position is in the low-post, and head coach Mike D’Antoni certainly realizes that and has an easy decision to make now that Dwight Howard is gone.

As for the other three starters, many variables will play into that decision, and it will certainly take some experimentation on D’Antoni’s part.

Here are a few scenarios.

Possible Lineup #1: Traditional

  • PG: Steve Nash
  • SG: Nick Young
  • SF: Wesley Johnson
  • PF: Jordan Hill/Chris Kaman
  • C: Pau Gasol

D’Antoni can start Nick Young at the shooting guard slot, Wesley Johnson at the small forward position, and Jordan Hill or Chris Kaman at power forward. This would be the most traditional lineup, and provide the Lakers with one of their better possible defensive lineups in the front court. Individual defense is a weak point for the Lakers, and although Kurt Rambis will help with team defense, there are certain things he can’t fix.

Having said that, Wesley Johnson is probably the best defensive option for the Lakers at the small forward position, and Chris Kaman and Jordan Hill are players who are capable of cleaning up the glass and know how to mix it up in the paint. Defensively, this would be a feasible option for the Lakers, although the back court will have some weaknesses on that end of the floor.

On a side note, after Xavier Henry’s breakout performance on Saturday night (29 points, 7 rebounds on 9-14 shooting from the field; 2-4 from three point land), he could make the case for starting in Kobe’s absence. Of course, he’d have to make the team’s final cut first, but he certainly made a case for himself over the weekend — averaging 22 points and five rebounds in two preseason games.

Once again, this would be the more “traditional” type of lineup in the sense of having a natural shooting guard in the two-guard slot, a small forward at the three, and most importantly a traditional power forward at the four slot.

However, Mike D’Antoni and “traditional” hardly go together in the same sentence, as D’Antoni loves to play a spaced out, “small ball” style; which brings us to the next possible lineup.

We actually saw a variation of this lineup on Sunday evening, with Shawne Williams at power forward in an attempt of a faster paced style with a “stretch four.” Williams did decently well, knocking down a few outside shots and exhibiting a few nice defensive plays. For future reference, we’ll label this lineup “Contingent,” contingent upon whether D’Antoni opts for a “stretch four” in his lineup and contingent on whether Williams makes the team and can shoot consistently from long range.

Williams isn’t widely considered a “stretch four” or a consistent outside shooter, but in his best season — under Mike D’Antoni for 64 games in New York — he averaged 40 percent from behind the three-point line. Mentions of him being a “stretch four” for the Lakers would be contingent upon the fact that he can get back to that level of shooting.

Next Page: Lineup #2 – Run & Fun

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About The Author

Suki is a graduate of Cal Poly Pomona and an unsigned contributing writer for Lakers Nation. Follow Suki on Twitter @TheRealSuki and Facebook. You can check out the rest of his work here.

Number of Entries : 180
  • Malcolm Popz Coates

    Pg.Steve Nash
    SG. Nick young
    Sf. Johnson
    Pf. Gasol
    C. Kaman/Jordan hill

    • Gregory Choa

      1. Nash / Farmar / DJO
      2. Blake / Meeks
      3. Young / X. Henry / Harris
      4. Hill / Williams / Kelly
      5. Gasol / Kaman / Sacre
      …until the Kobe comes back…then just plug him into the starting 2 spot, flip-flop Young & X. Henry, and drop DJO.

      • J24

        IMO DJO > Blake or Nash, right now. Why? Because he’s younger, quicker, and hungrier to get a spot on the roster. He doesn’t have much experience because they don’t give him enough playing time. The dunk from the last game is the same highlights I’ve seen DJO on the Tube, so it wasn’t a surprise to me, it was more like ABOUT TIME DANM IT!

        • Gregory Choa

          I don’t disagree with you about DJO, I hope he makes the cut. I see him backing up Nash & Farmar. My whole point is that once Kobe returns, and because you’re already financially committed to him and you can’t trade him, let’s feature Blake as a spot-up jump shooter, behind Kobe. Meeks…and anyone else you want to throw out there…on the Lakers depth chart at the two-guard position.

  • The Rock

    The Rock Says!

    PG Steve Nash
    SG Nick Young
    SF Xavier Henry
    PF Pau Gasol
    C Chris Kaman

  • Jim213

    Another solid article, valid questions as IMO whoever fills in for KB24 will have to show consistency in knocking down jumpers not rim hitters (50/50).

    • Suki Thind

      Thanks! Definitely gonna be an interesting year!

  • Ralphizm

    I don’t think it matters who is starting considering we still have the worst coach in the history of basketball leading this team. D’Antoni is a disgrace to this franchise and doesn’t deserve to coach the Lakers.

    • cj

      he is one of the best coach’s in the nba his system is the nba today. people need to stop underrating him no hes not phil but he better then 75% of the coach’s in the nba.

      • Ralphizm

        What the are you talking about? He system will never win championships. The last three teams to win an NBA title were defensive teams. Look at the 4 teams that were in the conference championships last year. They were all defensive minded teams. Even putting aside D’Antoni’s hatred of defense and rebounding (SMH) He fails to do the two most important tasks a head coach in the NBA has, which is inspire and lead his team. None of the players last year had any confidence in him and he was making terrible rotation choices all year, never giving in to the fact that his system was not working. Even when it was working (if you consider winning regular season games working) he was killed in the playoffs with the Suns. There’s a reason the Knicks fired him and a reason why no one that understands basketball doesn’t respect him… He is the worst coach in the history of basketball and doesn’t deserve to lead the greatest sports franchise in history.

        • J24

          Someone needs a Snickers.

          • Ralphizm

            I do lol… Snickers are great anytime :)

            Im still right about my Analysis of D’Antoni though.

          • J24

            True, D’Antoni might never won championships the way he’s coached in the past, but he’s trying something different this year with a new staff and I hope we have a better season than last year. Its never too late to add something to your game. IMO I’d rather have D’Antoni, than Mike Brown, I f$%#’n hated Brown and his dumb look!

          • Ralphizm

            Sorry J24, he is garbage as a coach. Mike Brown was horrible, but I would still take him over D’Antoni. He’s not trying anything different this year. Its the same crap that scores points and never wins rings.

          • Alex Baccay

            oh man you’re just a MDA hater..if you’re really are a laker fan just support them all the way..DEFENSE?? that’s why KURT RAMBIS is here! PJAX’s DEFENSIVE COACH OF ALL TIME!!! just watch till the season ends, you ain’t jimmy neutron folk to predict everything :3

          • Ralphizm

            Dude, I support the Lakers no matter what. Even if they are winning or losing. I supported them even during the Cedrick Ceballos era when they were really bad lol. But I am also a realist. MDA is just terrible and is a horrible leader. I would prefer Rambis as the head coach instead of D’Antoni. It doesn’t matter who is coaching the defense, when the head coach publicly states that he fundamentally doesn’t believe in Defense!

            I hope I’m wrong.. I hope the Lakers win the title this year. I hope Mike D’Antoni is the greatest coach that anyone has ever seen. Unfortunately, that’s not the case and the root cause is MDA and Jim Buss.

        • cj

          he took the suns to three wcf once he should have made the finals if the nba did not suspend stat and the matrix. you are poorly educated when it comes to mike his teams have never been bad defensively. if you look at the stats the lakers last season were average. they gave up alot of points but that is because of the pace of his offence. mike is a great coach yes he has never won a title but he has coached in the kobe, duncan, shaq, dirk, garnett, wade, era if you dont have at least 1 of these guys on your team your not winning titles. his teams are allways in the top ten in rebound % just not total again get away from the total they are miss leading.

          his rotations were off because nash, pau, hill, blake, meta………… the list goes on were in and out of the line up. its hard to play players when you only have 4-5 guys worthy of pt. he did give in to not useing his system and the lakers finished 30-11 on the season. again his suns teams were almost always in the wcf vs the spurs or mavs or lakers sorry he never had the best team in the west but he lead them to the cf all most every season. the knicks fired him because he would not let melo go play hero ball and hog the ball. the knicks before melo were the second best team in the east that year. with melo they have yet to make the ecf.

          i can think of a coach just like mike just the reverse tom thibodeau. mikes offence is the current nba, toms defense is the current nba. mike has never won a title. tom has never won a title. mikes d is average to sub par. toms o is average to sub par. mike is known for small roations. tom is known for small roations but hears the best part. mike has been to more cf and has won more games in the cf the tom. so who is the better coach? the one who has been to 3 cf and was competative in all of them or the coach who has made 1 cf and got blown out.

          im sorry mike has proven to be a great coach in the nba his teams have won compeated on every stage but the biggest. that is more then 90% of other nba coach’s can say.

          • Ralphizm

            You sound like MDA’s publicist lol, making excuses for his mediocracy. He did have the back to back MVP on his team in Steve Nash along with Stat and stacked Suns team but was out coached in the WCF and that’s why he didn’t make the finals. If his offensive strategy is the cause of his opponents putting up more points than him and they lose is that not still his fault? He has stated on many occasions that he doesn’t believe fundamentally in defense or rebounds the two cornerstones that have made the Lakers the winningest franchise in sports history. MDA needs to go back to go back to Italy, the only place his style of coaching actually wins championships.

          • cj

            nash should not have been the mvp kobe was clearly the better player and ment more to his team. yes mike is not a defensive coach but his teams are all ways solid defensively and great rebounding teams. he is a great coach he is not better then phil or doc but he is better then brown and thats all that matters

  • http://www.haveslot.com/ richard

    Watching the denver-lakers game… I am of the opinion that Jodi Meeks isn’t going to see many minutes this season… all he does is catch and shoot and if a defense takes that away from him, he turns it over… we should have let him go and took Sasha.

    • cj

      i agree. if landry keeps missing i would look to sasha as well.

  • http://www.haveslot.com/ richard

    Rob Sacre defended the post well, and is very adept at positional defense.

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  • Laker4life

    I would like to see Steve Nash at the point, Jodie Meeks at your two, Nick Young at small forward, Jordan hill as the four and Pau Gasol at center. You get four great scoring options, speed, three long range shooters, two slashers, two solid rebounders, two great passers, and two great shot blockers. You also get two great vets and three young legs. Off the bench I would play Farmar at the point, Henry at the two, Johnson at the three, Williams at the Four, and Kaman at the five. You get a fast experienced champion point guard who is determined to be just that, a hungry two guard with offensive and hustle talents, a young solid small forward, a young versatile four with range, and a very solid center to keep the consistency at that position with no fall off. They all can deliver double digit scoring, great defense, and an up tempo offensive stature. Stink Blake would not come off the bench unless someone gets hurt.

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