There has been a lot of unease and uncertainty surrounding the Los Angeles Lakers thus far this season. There is confusion around the Princeton-style offense that Mike Brown is running, as the team is not comfortable with the system yet. This is leading to a massive amount of turnovers, which is spotlighting the Lakers’ continued struggle with transition defense. While the fans are reminded to practice patience with the new-look squad’s performance, one thing is for certain: missing Steve Nash in the lineup is not helping matters.
As some of you saw live last Wednesday night (a large portion of fans in the LA area could not get access due to a blackout of NBA TV), Steve Nash was inadvertently kicked in the leg by the Portland Trail Blazers’ Damian Lilliard.
We all held our breath until we heard news during halftime that Nash would return, only to get a quick breath in until we saw that Nash was struggling to put weight on that left leg. Nash sat on the sidelines on Friday against the Clippers, yet there was a feeling that it was a precautionary move to rest the 38-year-old.
Saturday came the news that an MRI revealed that Nash suffered from a small fracture of his fibula on his left leg, sidelining him for at least one week. This was not the news that fans and the team were looking for especially when his role on the offense is so crucial.
On top of that, the words “at least one week” are a bit vague, and given his importance to the team, his absence may be prolonged to ensure that he returns at 100 percent. In fact, there are reports that he could be out up to four weeks. Thinking long-term here, that is the wise choice if need be.
I know there has been much chatter around social media of Nash’s back-ups and the concern that the combination of Steve Blake, Chris Duhon and Darius Morris will fail to step up during this critical time. Certainly I too understand that argument because of the numbers they have posted are real data for us to analyze and come up with that conclusion. However, that is what we have and the best thing we can do, as fans, is support them. Now, it is their challenge to continue their improved performance from Sunday night (combined for 12 points, 11 assists and five steals).
However, I want to talk about the impact that Nash’s injury will have on his backcourt partner in crime, Kobe Bryant. One of the biggest benefits of bringing Nash to the Lakers is what is does for Bryant. With Nash as the “general” on the court, orchestrating the offense, creating plays on and off the ball and opening Kobe up with his mere presence, Nash absence will surely having an affect on Kobe’ game, or at least the type of game that he was hoping to have this season.
The good news is that Kobe has dealt with being a combo point and shooting guard for just about his whole career. Also, he has a dominant center once again in the low post that he can trust on offense. However, I think we all, including Kobe, wanted to see him do less this season. That is not because he cannot still amaze us with impossible shots or plays, since he still does that. It’s not because we don’t want him to take over games. It is because we want to see him at his best for as long as we can. That means more rest and less shots, but at a higher efficiency rate.
Next Page: A More Efficient Kobe Bryant