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Pro Basketball | LAKER REPORT

Jackson Rethinking Frontcourt

November 19, 2001|Tim Brown

Phil Jackson said Sunday night he is considering a change at power forward, where he could start Slava Medvedenko or, when he comes off the injured list, Mark Madsen in the near future.

While they are willing to wait for free-agent acquisition Samaki Walker to familiarize himself with the triangle offense, the Lakers have averaged less than 10 points from starting forwards Rick Fox and Walker in their first nine games.

Madsen, recovering from a strain in his left side, was examined Sunday night by team physician Steve Lombardo. He is expected to be activated any day.

In limited minutes, Medvedenko has shown a knack for scoring in the mid-range area.

Walker scored a season-high 14 points Thursday in Houston and made two of four shots in Phoenix Saturday, suggesting he's starting to find his way--although he was scoreless and missed all six of his shots in Sunday's 93-85 win over Sacramento.

"We're thinking he's going to find his minutes and comfort on the floor," Jackson said. "He's doing a good job of getting better on the floor, reading his teammates and reading what we're running."

The Lakers went into that trip through Houston and Phoenix averaging more than 106 points a game, then scored 98 points in overtime on the first night and 83 on the second.

Jackson said he wouldn't yet consider taking minutes from Fox, though it helped Fox get through an early slump last season. The meek offensive games on the road did appear, however, to get Jackson thinking about his power forwards. He prefers to bring Robert Horry off the bench, which saves Horry's body the wear and tear of excessive early minutes.

That leaves Madsen or Medvedenko to start, with Walker in a reserve role at center and power forward, at least for the time being.

Derek Fisher is scheduled for a bone scan this morning. He could be cleared to play immediately.

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