For the third straight game, the Los Angeles Lakers starting unit struggled and were outscored by the bench unit. At practice yesterday, the starting lineup used for the first three games looked to remain intact for tonight’s game.
However, with the Lakers struggling offensively, especially amongst the starters, Coach Mike D’Antoni has made the decision to insert Xavier Henry into the starting lineup in place of Nick Young as first reported by Mike Bresnahan of the LA Times:
Xavier Henry will start for Lakers in place of Nick Young.
— Mike Bresnahan (@Mike_Bresnahan) November 3, 2013
This move could prove to be a great one for the Lakers. Henry is third on the team in scoring, averaging 13 points per game. He’s been excellent in creating his own shot and has been far and away the Lakers most aggressive player in going to the basket, as evidenced by his nearly eight free throw attempts per game.
Young has struggled in his starting role, averaging only eight points on 27 percent shooting from the field. Young has almost exclusively been a player who brings instant offense off the bench and this move may be the thing to get him back in his groove as he’ll be in a more comfortable role.
While it’s a risk to switch around the bench unit that has thrived together, D’Antoni clearly needed to figure out something to get his starters going. Henry’s aggressiveness has been key in getting the Lakers energized and his injury against the Spurs really sucked the air out of the team.
Pairing Henry with Nash and Blake and putting Young with the free wheeling, more athletic bench squad should be beneficial to all parties and the Lakers could really improve as a result of the move.
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