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Lakers Trending Up And Down: Three Preseason Games Down, Five To Go Reviewed by Momizat on . The Lakers have played three preseason games since last week and surprisingly, they've looked considerably better than I or most people believed they would. Two The Lakers have played three preseason games since last week and surprisingly, they've looked considerably better than I or most people believed they would. Two Rating:
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Lakers Trending Up And Down: Three Preseason Games Down, Five To Go

Xavier HenryThe Lakers have played three preseason games since last week and surprisingly, they’ve looked considerably better than I or most people believed they would.

Two wins in Ontario against the Warriors and Nuggets was sprinkled in with a loss to the Nuggets at Staples Center on Sunday night. Steve Nash and Pau Gasol both returned to the starting lineup as Kobe Bryant remains sidelined with an Achilles injury as an opening night return seems unlikely at this point.

Regardless, there were plenty of players that have showcased themselves to the Lakers coaching staff in another edition of Lakers’ who are trending up and down.

Trending Up: 

Xavier Henry

In last weeks edition, Henry was the last player I listed on trending down as he was on the bubble to make the team and showed nothing to suggest he’d break out. Well, three preseason games in and Henry has shown the most of any Laker player as he’s averaging 17 points on 50 percent  shooting from the field.

While it’s the preseason and it’s hard to truly evaluate players, Henry has worked his way off the roster bubble, but a wrist injury could impact how much time he sees moving forward.

Chris Kaman/Pau Gasol Frontcourt combo

Head coach Mike D’Antoni started Jordan Hill and Shawne Williams at the power forward spot in the first two preseason games, but last night he experimented with a Gasol and Kaman frontcourt.

Gasol scored 14 points to go along with eight rebounds and two assists and Kaman chipped in 12 points, seven rebounds and three assists. The chemistry between the two veterans was evident from tip-off as both displayed a deft passing touch from in low and in the high post.

Nash said the duo exceeded his expectations and it’ll be interesting to see how D’Antoni uses his two-best frontcourt players moving forward.

Nick Young

The LA product has definitely been one of the nice stories in camp as he averaged 12 points, but did show that he can play good defense on the wing.

With Kobe unlikely to start on opening night, Young is the likely candidate to fill-in for him at the starting shooting guard position as he looks to be another player that will benefit from a switch into D’Antoni’s system.

Trending Down:

Wesley Johnson

Johnson played 20 unimpressive minutes in the Lakers first preseason game and in game number two, he left with a strained foot. With Henry playing so well, Johnson now has competition for the starting small forward position and is behind the eight ball with his injury.

A candidate to break out in D’Antoni’s system, Johnson didn’t show much in his first two preseason games so hopefully he’ll be better for the Lakers trip to China.

Marcus Landry

The Lakers cut their roster down to 17 this morning and Landry could be in the next round of cuts. While Landry scored 13 points on Sunday, he’s not likely to make the team out of training camp.

While D’Antoni said that he believes Landry is an NBA player and probably the Lakers best shooter, there doesn’t seem to be a place for him on the roster for this season.

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Head Coach Mike D’Antoni Was Impressed With Pau Gasol And Chris Kaman In Win


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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
  • jeremy

    that be funny to see henry start over guys like wes and meeks but so far he out played both

  • jeremy

    if landry lakers best shooter where has that been i havent seen it all i seen is henry out play everyone

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

      Landry is the best shooter on the lakers roster… but his game has not translated well on the court with opposing teams. It might be a mental thing he is in or a lack of a warrior spirit and heart. If he can break that monkey off his back, he can be very very good. His stroke is one of the best I have seen in the league, it just hasn’t translated well into actual competition.

      • Eddie Lazaro

        Sometimes that cockiness is a trait edge that makes it in the league. It brings a lot of confidence and intensity to a persons game, and with these too young players, even the good ones are easily gets bullied/intimidated by trash talks, or by just mere presence of other stars in the game. Sometimes, being in the bright lights and overwhelming fans shouting take their confidence and rhythm away, that’s where a good coach and experienced teamate comes in to help mentally groom them.

        We have seen to many of them, breaking out abroad, coming back as better players. Earning experience in another country playing confidently where no one bully/intimidate them and can concentrate on just playing their game.
        I am hoping they keep the right ones in the mix since some payers adapt faster than the others, but there are slow starters that are unpolished gems in the bunch. All the way Lakers!

        • cj

          that is the only thing i dislike about the nba teams are to quick to pull bust cards. solid but not great players should dread being drafted high because there’s expectations that go with being drafted high. for example kwame brown. he was taken first over all and has been a bust but if he was taken tenth he would have lived up to his hype. hes a solid backup center. landry could be a solid back up three he just needs a team willing to let him grow.

          • Eddie Lazaro

            Yes, Like taking Iverson, Ray Allen, and 10 more ahead of Kobe, Nash? That’s the media and Reps creating the Hype before they get into the league or “some players just don’t have the heart and confidence” to be in the major league (ex, Morrison, Obannon Bros, Diop, livingston, Bradley, Thabeet, Olwakandi, etc) esp. given at higher picks.

            These are all good players as some have shown during their NCAA years, but needs a great motivating coach to groom their weaknesses. It is hard in the big league because there are so many good players ready to be acquired thru FA or trades.

            The slow starters often gets bounced around from team to team, not getting trained consistently and not given reasonable confidence boosting minutes on the floor. It is hard not being with a patience enough coach willing to spend time with them. That’s part of the micro manage business in the world we evolved in.

    • cj

      the speed of the nba as well as the better defenders has killed him. hes rushing his shot and is not on balance when he jumps to shoot. landry needs to take his time because hes a great shooter. but sasha is out there and i would look at him if i was the lakers

  • Average Joe

    Xavier Henry has by far been the best player for the wing players.Nick Young is a scorer and he hasn’t played that great.Wesley Johnson injured and struggled shooting.Marcus Landry has looked D-League out there.Elias Harris nothing special so far limited minutes though.Xavier Henry is the biggest surprise in the NBA right now according to some people.Xavier Henry has made me a true believer of his talents and potential.The Lakers front office and coach Mike D’Antoni look like geniuses because of Xavier Henry.

    I hope the coach keeps rotating him in the lineup.He has been better than Jodie Meeks by a landslide.Xavier Henry was a lottery pick and he is playing like a true lottery pick,he has reached his full potential as a NBA player,the best part about it is it as a Laker.I hope these stats translate into the regular season for Xavier Henry.Good job fella!

    • Jim213

      Agree, solid post. E Harris is getting lesser minutes but given today’s cuts he should get more playing time tomorrow. Currently the advantage with E Harris is on the defensive side as he’ll need more time to learn his role aside of understanding the coach’s system.

      • cj

        the cuts wont really help they did not really play anyways lol

        • Jim213

          They were only camp invites but it’ll give others a few more minutes of play.

          • cj

            again it kinda wont. they never played last game. the rotation used last game is what we will see tonight. the only thing it did was give them more practice time

          • Jim213

            Did play in the first game but given that W Johnson and Farmar will be sidelined for today’s game they’ll likely go with a similar rotation.

            However, the coach should give the FA’s more play time during the 2nd half given that he’s already aware of what some of his players bring to the table. Next cuts are will come from unproductive players. However, still waiting for R Kelly to show up and play some minutes.

          • cj

            i wish the lakers would cut kelly and send him to the dfenders. imo kelly has great talent but he should paly as a dfender for a season. this would leave a spot for either landry-sasha-odom and if they dont work out kelly could be called up latter this year.

          • Jim213

            If the team keeps R Kelly they can send him to the D League. The Lakers would just be paying him the minimum NBA rookie salary in the D league which just adds to the cap (per CBA).

            Per “amnesty clause” or a team’s get out of jail card the team can null and void one of the newest contracts. WJ better play some more given he wasn’t impressive in the first game.

            Otherwise, if he doesn’t return due to his injury I’d doubt the team would keep him.

          • cj

            the lakers cant amnesty wesly for two reasons.

            1. they have used it on mwp
            2. he was not on their team during the last cba.

            i know they can send kelly to the dleague. i dont want he on the dleague and on the team. i would give his spot to a landry, sasha or odom and if they dont work out cutthem and bring in kelly.

            i like kelly but imo he should nt make the team right now let landry make it or go get sasha or odom. they can allways cut them latter and bring in kelly mid season

          • Jim213

            Duh, forgot about MWP he was only one of the best players to play defense. SMH

            I believe the non guaranteed players will get more play time tomorrow given that another player may likely get cut before the team heads to China to play GSW,

          • cj

            idk they might not cut anyone because kobe, and kelly wont play and farmar and wes might not play. if all four dont play the lakers only have 13 playable players going to china so it would not surprise me if they keep djo around untill the right after china.

          • Jim213

            If Landry continues to miss open shots it’ll look bad for his prospects of making the team. If DJO has a better game today IMO it may come down to R Kelly and DJO for the last spot being (15) down the line.

          • cj

            i hope landry makes the team he has talent. he just needs time to grow in an nba system. i dont see djo making this team we have to many guards. i still say sasha would be a better fit as the 15 man insted of landry or kelly but if its between them i would take landry because i believe he helps more this season then kelly would.

          • Jim213

            Just checked out Serena’s tweet, the team’s heading towards Vegas. R Kelly was also on the pic, let’s see if he get’s some playtime today given he’s on the on board the bus..

          • cj

            if they plane on keeping him i hope we get to see him play at least once lol

          • Jim213

            S Williams and X Henry will make the cut as well as E Harris who has to show more during the last 5 remaining games.

            If they go with a 15 man roster this season it’s a toss up for the final spot given that the 3 remaining players bring something different to the table.

          • cj

            i dont see djo making this team unless kobe has a major set back. it is in between kelly and landry for the last spot

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

            give the spot to Lamar Odom…

          • Jim213

            The train is way gone for that but they should’ve given Sasha a shot.

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

            Yeah, i know it has… but it is still possible.. have the 15th spot open… get LO to clean his drug act, get in shape and sign him to a minimum contract and include a clause to it. Believe me, he will be big comes playoff time.

          • cj

            agreed if lo is right and happy he is by far the best player on the market right now.

          • Jim213

            I don’t doubt that but given that he has too many off the court issues aside of him being out of shape I’d wait until next season. Especially since he’d also need to learn the system.

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

            It will not be hard for LO to learn the system… as a lot of players has been saying… MDA system is a lot like the triangle.. it’s a read and react system, only that it is a spread out offense while the triangle uses the post entry pass to initiate it. He will thrive in it considering his skill set and the ability to get into the hole and snipe from the outside. His biggest hurdle is his off court issues.

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

            cj, i like your line of thinking here… I think, it wouldn’t hurt to go get Odom… not to play him right away but to get him on the roster, and have him workout slowly along, then comes the playoffs we will be much stronger…

          • cj

            which odom do u think i mean?

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

            I am talking of Lamar… not DJO…

          • cj

            ok lol just were on the same page

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

            I believe we are still a little weak on the PF position… Lamar Odom will answer that question… if he is still up to it. I still have hope that he will be back with lakers.

          • cj

            agreed i would call up lamar offer him a vets min none guaranteed deal to come play. if after 3-4 months he does not work out ok cut him and there is kelly in the dleague fully healthy and ready.

  • Gregory Choa

    Landry is trending down…and right into the next round of cuts, along with DJO. Assuming the Lakers go with 15 to start the season, that means our depth chart should look something like this;
    1. Nash / Farmar
    2. Blake / N. Johnson / Meeks
    3. Kobe / X. Henry / W. Johnson / E. Harris
    4. Pau / S. Williams / R. Kelly
    5. Kaman / J. Hill / Sacre
    …with Nick Johnson starting so long as Kobe is out.

    • Jim213

      ? N. Johnson… or Nick Young… however the coach has brought up in the past that he intends to play NY at the 3. If I’m correct 17 player on the roster.

      If Landry doesn’t improve his shooting which is mostly in his head (confidence) I’m not certain that he’ll stick around after the team returns from China.

      • Gregory Choa

        Ha!…Meant Nick Young! I wonder about Nick’s ability to effective start and play the 3 position – just doesn’t seem big enough to me…as I said on another thread, I think the rebounding suffers as a result…among other things.
        I continue to maintain that Kobe Bryant, in almost every respect, represents this roster’s best option at SF. I suppose that could mean that NY could start at the shooting guard position, but I like the scoring punch he potentially brings to the mix off the bench with the 2nd unit.

        • Jim213

          The coach has mentioned that he intends on giving KB24 plenty of minutes at the 3. However, he’ll need a solid backup given that Kobe will play lesser minutes.

          It may take a few wks/month or two for him to return to his normal level of play as long as he can overcome his AT injury which has taken players awhile to recoup from too.

      • cj

        at this point i wish the lakers would look into sasha. he is a great shooter and defender. he could replace meeks and landry. make meeks a bench rider.

        • Jim213

          They should’ve given him a camp invite which would’ve negated bringing in Boateng.

          • cj

            agreed still dont get why they picked up meeks option. he could have been resinged for vets min if needed latter.

          • Jim213

            I wouldn’t count out a possible trade before the trade deadline. (players)

          • cj

            i still say a blake meeks and filler for ariza should be looked into. i like blake but with farmar there is less of a need

  • ra

    Can’t judge players just by a few games, and even the pre-preseason games. X did not perform as well in pre-preseason, but is doing well now. And, can’t count Meeks just because he isn’t quite playing to snuff at the current time. Players take time to develop against many opponents, during the year.

    Have to look at a variety of parameters, not just a few games, and then cut / slash people, and keep people. Some they ‘keep’ might ‘tank’ during the year, and some they drop could have been good for the team. It’s a tough call.

    • Jim213

      Agree, I look at it from the possible player acquisitions (depth) and not the overall picture which will be a work in progress during the first half of the season but finding the right pieces will help in the long term.

  • http://www.haveslot.com/ richard

    I know this is old story and FO must have moved on… but bringing LO to fill the last roster spot wouldn’t hurt. He will be a big asset come playoff time… he will have plenty of time to get his body to playing shape… just like Boston did with Rasheed in 2010.

    • cj

      agreed but i would not guarantee his deal. if in 3-4 months he has proven to be right ok he can stay but if he is still doing drugs and not performing well kelly or sasha would fit better. imo sasha might be able to play the 4 in this system

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

        negative on Sasha playing the 4… too skinny.. and only 6-7.. kelly is a rookie… playoffs is a different animal… I agree though that there should be a clause in getting LO… but FO should give him a shot… too good of a player to pass.

        • cj

          sasha is no skinnyer then wes or wil but he could fit as that 2/3/4 combo. this could push meeks out and make him trade bait

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

            I argued with someone about the merits of having Sasha over Meeks way back in August … but no way, Sasha can play the 4… Sasha is a 1-2-3 player… we have a rotation of Gasol, Williams, Harris at the 4… if we can get LO … that 4 position will be solid.

          • cj

            i agree sasha is not a true 4 lol but imo because meeks has to make the roster and lo looks like a long shot i would try to get sasha because imo hes better then landry and i want kelly to play in the d league this season

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

            I understand where you are coming from, bro… I just don’t think, anyone would consider Sasha at the 4… the body is too thin.. the weight is too light, and he is way too small…

          • cj

            agreed im bending the truth to try to get a sasha sighting lol i miss him and lo. if we did not have meeks i would sign sasha and odom and make a run with that team.

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

            that would be something… I think LO still has plenty to offer, specially during the playoffs. And I would take Sasha over Meeks anytime…

    • Jim213

      I’d wait until he rehabs just get it out of the way and shut naysayers up then give him a shot in the D League for next season buying more time to get all the bs out the way which includes the Kartrashians.

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