Lakers Players Trending Up And Down At The Start Of 2014 Reviewed by Momizat on . The Lakers are in the midst of their worst stretch of the season having lost six straight games. While the first three losses were to some of the league's top t The Lakers are in the midst of their worst stretch of the season having lost six straight games. While the first three losses were to some of the league's top t Rating: 0
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Lakers Players Trending Up And Down At The Start Of 2014

Kendall-MarshallThe Lakers are in the midst of their worst stretch of the season having lost six straight games. While the first three losses were to some of the league’s top teams, the last three were to three of the four worst teams, record-wise, in the NBA, the last two of which were at home.

Despite the recent struggles, there continues to be some bright spots for the Lakers. With Mike D’Antoni’s ever-changing rotation, players who don’t play one game can play 30 minutes the next. This leads to different players having the opportunity to be heroes on a nightly basis.

Heading in to the start of 2014, these are the players who are looking good, and not so well:

Trending Up
Kendall Marshall

Not too long ago it seemed unlikely that Marshall would ever crack the Lakers rotation, but thanks to the inability of every Laker attempting to play point guard to stay healthy, Marshall got an unexpected opportunity and took advantage.

Marshall is averaging nine points and five assists in the Lakers last two games while hitting two three-pointers in each game. Marshall’s shooting was supposed to be his weak point, but he has proven to be a capable long range shooter, and his court vision is exceptional.

Very little is expected of Marshall, so anything good he gives the Lakers is a bonus. With so few healthy ball handlers available, Marshall is likely to continue to get decent run. The only downside is that every person plugged into the point guard slot has been hit with an injury of some sort, so Marshall better watch his back.

Shawne Williams

Williams has struggled to produce offensively this season despite getting relatively consistent minutes. While his jumper hasn’t come back to him yet, and his offense continues to be hit or miss, he has shown that he can contribute to the Lakers in a number of ways.

Williams has recorded double-digit rebounds in his last two games and flashed some defensive capabilities with his five block game against the Bucks. Williams has still not resembled the prototypical stretch four that everyone envisioned him as, but if he can show himself to be a plus defender, as well as post close to double-digit rebounds on a nightly basis, he is sure to keep himself a spot in the rotation.

Nick Young

I know Young was trending up last week, but he just continues to be the best Laker on a nightly basis.

Young is averaging 24 points per game over the last week and is showing that he can do more than just score as he has grabbed six rebounds in each of the last two games. And while his on-court contributions have been outstanding, his off-court contributions may be even greater.

Young is the glue that is holding this team together. Despite all of the losses, it is Young trying to keep everyone in positive spirits both on and off the court. His smile is infectious and he has made it his job to make sure everyone is happy when they enter the Lakers facilities. It’s teammates like Young, who will ensure these Lakers play hard every night, even if they fall short.

Trending Down
Wesley Johnson

Johnson has been abysmal offensively for the last couple of weeks now and it is really starting to hurt his role with the team. Johnson is clearly the Lakers’ best overall defender, and it really isn’t close. But his offensive game has fallen off of a cliff the past two weeks.

In the last nine games Johnson has scored in double figures only once, and failed to hit a three pointer in six of those games. Johnson failed to record a field goal in each of his last two games before missing the Bucks game with gastroenteritis.

Johnson is sure to have a role on this team as the defensive stopper, but if he can’t at least be a somewhat respectable offensive threat, he will lose a lot of minutes to those who can make a jump shot.

Chris Kaman

In the past three games, Kaman went from starting and posting double-double, to playing only 10 minutes, to getting the dreaded DNP-Coach’s Decision.

Kaman again voiced his frustration with his constantly changing role and, while he probably has some legitimate gripes with the constant changing of his spot in the rotation, his speaking on that subject in a negative is way is unlikely to bode well with the coaching staff.

Kaman played well when he got the opportunity, so it’s not out of the question that he could be on the other side of this equation next week. But he doesn’t seem to be in the good graces of Coach D’Antoni at this time and with Shawne Williams contributing and Robert Sacre always available to take minutes, Kaman could may etch himself a comfortable spot on the bench.

Xavier Henry

Unfortunately for Henry, he fell victim to the curse of the Lakers point guards in the 2013-2014 season. Henry’s knee issues are only expected to keep him out of action for 7-10 days, but with so many guard options, Henry could easily see his minutes reduced.

The play of Kendall Marshall could allow D’Antoni to use him more in the backup point guard role which Henry had been occupying. And with Nick Young playing exceptionally right now, plus the imminent returns of guys like Kobe Bryant and Steve Blake, Henry could soon find himself being the odd man out in a couple of weeks.

Henry was in the midst of one of his better stretches of play on the season before getting injured. If he is unable to continue that level of play when he returns however, he could soon see his minutes lessen.

Jordan Farmar On Hamstring Tightness, Feels Like It Did Before He Tore It

About The Author

Corey is currently a full-time staff writer for Lakers Nation. He is a passionate follower of the Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas Cowboys and can usually be seen arguing the merits of Kobe Bryant or cursing the decisions of Jerry Jones. He is also a former producer and associate producer for Sirius XM Sports Radio. Follow him on twitter @TheeCoreyH

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  • Al Haldie

    If we are tradeing PAU-see if u can send D’ANTONI ALONG with him beleive me it will get u a m uch better deal — for the LAKERS not the team that has too take him–this is two yrs of this crap and were not getting any better ….

  • Marty Susman

    OK, Kobe is out for at least another month.
    Nash is out I hope for good as a Laker.
    Farmar is out for at least 5 weeks.
    Henry will be out say another two weeks.
    Blake is out for another few weeks as well.
    (It’s not fair to Pau to keep this B.S. up)

    If we can’t send Gasol to the Net’s for Brook Lopez or send Gasol & say Blake or Meeks to the Cav’s for Waiters & we can’t send Gasol to Golden State for Harrison Barnes or send Gasol to the Pistons for Greg Monroe, then we need to do the trade for Drew & a first round & a 2nd round & forget anyone else in the deal.
    Kobe “NEED’S” to NOT come back this season, instead Kobe should spend the next 6 months or so getting into GREAT shape & becoming the “BEST” 3 point shooter in basketball history then next season he plays “ONLY” the 4th quarter as the NBA’s new “CLOSER”. Kobe becomes what has been great in baseball for years, “THE CLOSER” & playing that way can extend his playing time for another 4 years or so, maybe longer. (It will also set a president for all older players who can shoot but not keep up the pace)

    Lastly I doubt it could/would/will happen BUT if Phil decided to come in to save the franchise in 2015/16 & 2017 the “TRIANGLE” offense would also save Kobe’s leg’s as well. When the Lakers get their heads straight in the front office & hire Byron Scott as head guy along with Kurt & D.Fish as Asst. that should/will help the Lakers bring in great super studs of the future.

  • jeff

    I’d keep Kobe and the kids and get rid of everybody else including the coach.

  • LakersHeatBeef

    I am impressed with Kendall Marshall he has played very good so far.He has thrown some of the best passes of any Laker this season.Actually he will be the starter now that Jordan Farmar is injured.Lets be mature about this no need for snide remarks and name calling the team is injury riddled and nothing can cure that right now but time and healing.So let Kendall Marshall shine as a Laker in the meantime.Develop Kendall Marshall as a piece to the puzzle for the future.Also remember the player teaching him is Steve Nash and that is great news.Maturity is simple and Kendall expresses a mature attitude.

    • Reality

      It is more complicated than you think to eliminate snide remarks because that is what the USA is adored for. The fact that we can form opinions and not get arrested or killed for sedition like Jesus Christ in the zealot book by reza aslan. If anyone wants people to be nicer, why not do charity work so we can know someone’s character.. Hint hint…. Kendall Marshall is fast and really can pass phenomenally.

  • Delafontain

    Marty Susman has said it all very well in his post and I am 200% agree with him.
    Kobe needs to sit out the rest of the season and get ready and healthy for the next one.Steve Nash has to retire or to be traded any were for a couple of second round pics. Pau Gasol has to be traded immediately. If that deal for Brook Lopez is still on the table, we have to go for it. If not, there may be another interested teams, who can send several young players and draft pic for his service.There is nothing to lost for them.If all works well , they can resign him for less money next summer, if not, he can walk as a FA and they will have saved a lots of money.Even trading him for Bynum is not a bad idea, because we can waive Drew and save tons of money.
    As for the youngster in our roster, guys like J.Farmar, J.Meeks, N.Young, X.Henry, W.Johnson and J.Hill will most likely get new deals and become the Lakers second unit for the future.That is really good news, since we were struggling for years to have a solid back-up unit.As for coach D’Antoni, he won’t be around for the next training camp. There are many good and young coaches in the colleges, who can work for us. I don’t think Phill Jackson will ever coach again. His physical condition won’t allow him that. Byron Scott is a Laker for life and I respect him a lot, but he has struggled as a NBA coach, wherever he has worked. K.Rambis is not the right person for franchise like Lakers.
    Although, TWC has invested 3.5 billion for the next 25 years, we have to be very careful with our spending. No more Luxury Taxes and penalties. Look at the Pacers, the Warriors and the Blazers. For years, they been drafting the best rookies and now are at the top of the league. With minimum investment and smart management. That is the model Jim Buss and M.Kupchak has to follow. No more 4-5 year deals for aging veterans in their downhill. We need to get smart and find 23-25 y.o. talented players to build our future team. And in 2015, we have to do everything possible to bring Kevin Love back to L.A.I am still dreaming of line-up with J.Farmar, Br.Lopez and K.Love. All local guys with very bright future.Lets be patient. This season is over well before it started.Don’t need to chase the playoffs and lose the chance to land high draft pic(s).We have to put aside our pride for a year or two, if we want this team to become a championship contender again.

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