Lakers Jodie Meeks, left, and Dwight Howard exit the court after a 116-106… (Don Ryan / Associated Press )
The Lakers will introduce a new head coach Thursday. Can Mike D'Antoni get something more out of the backup shooting guard position?
Kobe Bryant, through eight games, is averaging 36.3 minutes per game, leaving just 11.7 for reserves Jodie Meeks and Devin Ebanks.
It's only natural for coaches to want to limit their players' minutes through the regular season so they're fresh for the playoffs. The more Meeks and Ebanks can bring to the game, the less D'Antoni will be forced to rely on Bryant.
Meeks was brought in as a shooter, but he's hit just 27.3% of his shots (20% from three-point range) for 2.5 points a game.
Ebanks was recently arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, and the Lakers haven't played him since. Through four games, Ebanks also averaged 2.5 points while shooting 23.1% from the field.
Neither Meeks nor Ebanks contribute much else by way of steals, rebounds or assists.
Before his departure, Coach Mike Brown was experimenting with Metta World Peace as the primary backup to Bryant at two-guard (in addition to World Peace's starting spot at small forward).
World Peace's 11.8 points a game has come on a subpar 36.5% shooting -- lights out in comparison to the struggling reserves.
Interim head coach Bernie Bickerstaff recently turned to World Peace against the San Antonio Spurs in what was a close loss for the Lakers.
Perhaps D'Antoni, along with a healthy Steve Nash (sidelined with a leg injury), will find a way to utilize either Meeks or Ebanks. Otherwise the Lakers will be forced to rely too heavily on Bryant and World Peace.
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You can email Eric Pincus at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.