Lakers Nation Roundtable: Which Reserve Would Be Best Served Starting?
Ryan Ward: The popular choice for this particular question will likely be Xavier Henry after the former first round draft pick was sent back to the bench in favor of Nick Young on Thursday night. Henry has played much better than expected this season and may continue to play well in Mike D’Antoni’s system, but I believe it’s Chris Kaman that needs to maintain the starting role.
Kaman got his first start for the Lakers in the win over the Houston Rockets, and although Kaman didn’t make a huge impact offensively, scoring only six points, the veteran big man ripped down 10 boards, blocked two shots and recorded two steals.
Ironically enough, I believe Kaman will help improve the team with his offensive ability and chemistry playing with fellow big man Pau Gasol. With more time on the floor together and Steve Nash running the show in the backcourt, Kaman and Gasol could prove to be a lethal combination.
Whether D’Antoni chooses to continue starting Kaman remains to be seen, but in my opinion, he’s the one bench player that needs be a starter in order to give this team the best chance to win night in and night out.
Suki Thind: I think the lineup from last night was a good change — starting Nick Young and Chris Kaman instead of Xavier Henry and Shawne Williams, however, Jordan Hill and Jodie Meeks could also be possibilities.
Hill has certainly proven himself as a spark for the Lakers, and Jodie Meeks has significantly improved since last season, becoming the team’s most consistent shooting guard in Kobe Bryant’s absence. Those are two possibilities down the road, but since Mike D’Antoni just changed his starting lineup last night, and it was relatively successful (in terms of the team winning), I think he should give it some more time.
I’m sure the starting lineup will eventually change, and when it does, I’d expect either Jodie Meeks or Jordan Hill, or both, to get a shot in the spotlight.
Corey Hansford: Despite his subpar play in the last couple of games, I still believe that the best route for the Lakers would be to start Xavier Henry in place of Nick Young. This move has as much to do with Young as it does Henry.
The starting lineup and the bench have two completely styles of play and Henry’s controlled attacking of the rim compliments the starters much better than Young’s freewheeling shooting. The starters have struggled to get the team off to a great start more often than not this season and Henry has excelled in getting to the free throw line which is an easy way to generate points for a struggling offense.
Just as important in that move would be Young’s move to the bench, where he has excelled in his two games as a reserve this season. Young has averaged 17 points on over 61 percent shooting in his two games off the bench because he gets to run up and down the floor, which lends itself better to his game.
It was unreasonable for us to expect Henry to keep up his exceptional level of play all season, but his fit alongside the excellent passers in the starting lineup, and his play throughout the majority of the season (and preseason) should earn him a spot in the starting lineup until further notice.
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