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Lakers Trending Up And Down: New Guys Looking To Make Impact Reviewed by Momizat on . Incredibly enough, we're just three days away from Lakers basketball as they'll play their first preseason game of the season on Saturday against the Warriors. Incredibly enough, we're just three days away from Lakers basketball as they'll play their first preseason game of the season on Saturday against the Warriors. Rating:
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Lakers Trending Up And Down: New Guys Looking To Make Impact

farmarIncredibly enough, we’re just three days away from Lakers basketball as they’ll play their first preseason game of the season on Saturday against the Warriors.

While Pau Gasol and Steve Nash will be limited, game one of the preseason should allow players like Shawne Williams, Elias Harris, Chris Kaman and Wesley Johnson a chance to prove themselves.

Every Wednesday this preseason, regular season and hopefully in the playoffs, I’ll be rolling out a trending up and down article about which Lakers are heading in the right direction and those heading the other way.

Here’s who’s trending up and down after a few days of practice ahead of the first playoff game.

Trending Up:

Shawne Williams

Williams was signed to a non-guaranteed deal after not playing a single game last season as his ties to head coach Mike D’Antoni played a role in him signing on with the Lakers.

In his one season under D’Antoni in New York, Williams averaged seven points and 21 minutes and through four days of training camp, he’s turning heads. Williams has been seen knocking down shot after shot and as we all know, if you can make shots in D’Antoni’s system, you’ll usually play.

Williams will have to fend Harris, Xavier Henry and Marcus Landry for a shot on the Lakers opening night roster, but it sounds like he has a slight edge at the moment.

Jordan Farmar

Farmar is in his second tour of duty with the Lakers after playing for the Nets and overseas for a couple seasons. Now 26 years old, Farmar will compete with Steve Blake for the primary backup point guard duties.

However, D’Antoni and trainer Gary Vitti have maintained all offseason long that they want to limited Nash’s minutes and with Kobe Bryant no guarantee for the start of the season, expect Farmar and Blake to be in the backcourt together.

Farmar also said that he’s going to be in Nash’s ear trying to learn all season long as he seems extra motivated to prove he belongs in the NBA.

Jordan Hill

There hasn’t been much said about Hill, but it sounds like he’s the likely candidate to start alongside Pau Gasol at power forward. Hill missed 54 games last year, but showed in the games he was healthy that he was a player that didn’t need the ball to make a play.

It’ll be interesting to see how D’Antoni configures the starting lineup for opening night, but starting Kaman and Pau doesn’t seem like something he’d do if he wants to push the pace.

Trending Down: 

Steve Blake

This isn’t so much about what Blake has done, but the Lakers having so many guards due to the uncertainty surrounding Kobe’s availability to start the season.

Blake is in a crowded backcourt that has Nick Young, Farmar and Jodie Meeks, but should still see the lion share of the backup minutes behind Nash. Where Blake can separate himself is the fact that he can play both the one and the two, but there’s definitely a lot of mouths to feed in the Lakers backcourt.

Ryan Kelly

When the Lakers selected Kelly out of Duke, it was a bit of a head scratcher for the simple fact that he was injured at the time. Kelly projects to be a stretch four in the NBA and D’Antoni definitely salivated at how he shot the ball behind the arc at Duke, but he’s been behind since the start.

Kelly is running at 90 percent and the fact that he’s a second-round pick without a guaranteed contract, makes it much harder for him to stay with the Lakers. While the Lakers could keep him around due to intrigue alone, Kelly has a lot of catching up to do once the preseason begins.

Xavier Henry

Henry should never have left Kansas after just one season and the former lottery pick is now onto his third team in his young NBA career.

Henry faces stiff competition from Williams, Landry, Kelly and possibly Harris for one of the last roster spots. Without Metta World Peace, the Lakers are looking for starting small forward and at this point, D’Antoni hasn’t tipped his hand who is going to start.

In his young career, Henry hasn’t shown he’s capable of sticking on an NBA roster as he’ll have plenty to prove to the Lakers coaching staff.

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Make sure you check out our interview with Marcus Landry


Lakers Nation Roundtable: The Effect Of Gasol Returning To Center
Count On Kobe Bryant Return For The Lakers Season Opener?

About The Author

Ross is a staff writer with LakersNation. He is a graduate of the University of Arizona. He is a huge sports fan and will keep you up to date with the latest sports news. Follow Ross on Twitter at @Ross_Gasmer12.

Number of Entries : 256
  • http://www.haveslot.com/ richard

    if Henry doesn’t make it … he should consider playing overseas for 2-3 years, then come back to the NBA… he’s too good of a talent to be wasted.

    • vdogg

      i agree, but i would love to see the lakers keep him. his strengths are getting to the hole and playing defense, and that can be very helpful coming off the bench.

      • Daryl Peek

        Listening to D’Antoni talk the other day, it almost sounded like Landry could be the odd man out. I love the open competition this year.

        • http://www.haveslot.com/ richard

          yeah, I did get that feeling too, i kind of brush it off though… and I think Williams is going to make it to #12 spot first.

        • Paytc

          Me too. But I do hope we make the right player selections and don’t let any gems slip through the cracks.

          Go Lakers!

          • Daryl Peek

            We have a really good group in camp IMO. 1-16 are all very solid. Gadzuric, Boateng and DJO are just camp bodies. I like DJO but he’s not gonna crack the roster with all the PG’s and SG’s in front of him.

            It’s very likely we carry 15 this season, especially given the uncertainty of when Kobe will return. Kelly will likely land the 14th spot and be a end of the bench off and on d-league assignee like Sacre was last season. Harris will likely be that also, in the 13th spot.

            Competing for that 15th spot is where we will lose that possible gem. It sucks but it’s something that can’t be avoided. Again, either Henry or Landry will be that causality the way it sounds.

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      • Jocelyn

        Wow! Really Rebecca? And what is the “top of the range Toyota” you are so proud about? Is that the used ’04 Corolla you picked up Monday from your drug dealer uncle? That $7485 check is your sister’s tax refund! Please stop posting this crap on Lakers Nation.

      • nlruizjr

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  • Gregory Choa

    Well, one thing is for sure – we know that D’Antoni’s “go-to” rotation of 10 will consist of; Kobe, Pau, Nash, J. Hill, N. Young, W. Johnson, S. Blake, Meeks, Farmar & Kaman. Which basically leaves 2 roster spots left to fill…while having to choose from seven legitimate candidates; Shawne Williams, Sacre, Marcus Landry, Ryan Kelly, DJO, Xavier Henry, and Dan Gadzuric…of those, I’m not sure who, if anybody, has a guaranteed contract…

    • Eddie Lazaro

      I thought Sacre & Harris are guaranteed, but can still go to D-league if not on the roster

      • Gregory Choa

        Right, forgot about the rookie Elias Harris…gotta think he and Sacre spend most of the season off the active 12 man roster in the D-league…

        • nlruizjr

          greg, I think that XH is pulling ahead of the others for a shot at a roster spot (scored 29 1st P-game and 15 in 2nd P-game, while Landry has sputtered in the first 2 games), I hope that somehow the Lakers can keep both Landry and XH, Kelly hasn’t proven anything other than he may be an injury prone player.

  • Tanking For Wiggins

    There is no comparing this year’s Lakers camp to last year. “It’s different,” Nash said. “It’s 180 degrees from last year. But you have got to embrace every year for what it is, the challenge. Maybe we will surprise everybody and turn into a completely different team than everyone expects.”

    Hoping to surprise everybody is usually the province of, say, the Sacramento Kings, not the Lakers. But that’s just the reality of the roster right now. If outside expectations for the Lakers are low, it is because the team disappointed last year and took a major hit in terms of talent and injury. Bryant might be thinking championship, but Nash doesn’t think that word should even be uttered.

    “I think it is really important for us at this point to just embrace these low expectations and try to find a real chemistry and build ourselves into a team that has some confidence,” Nash said. “We have so many new players, we have so many question marks with myself, Pau and Kobe’s health. Let’s not get to talking about championships right now. Let’s try to have a good camp and try to build a team and a chemistry that has the opportunity to go out there and beat people and win some games and get on a roll.”

    Embracing low expectations. It surely will be a strange year here in LA.

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