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Without Dwight Howard, Lakers may struggle at rebounding

October 27, 2013|By Eric Pincus
  • Chris Kaman may start the season coming off the bench.
Chris Kaman may start the season coming off the bench. (Alex Gallardo / Associated…)

Last season, the Lakers were the fourth-best rebounding team in the league at 44.8 boards per game — but that was with Dwight Howard manning the middle at an NBA-best 12.4 rebounds a night.

The early returns after eight preseason games is cause for concern.

The Lakers collected just 41.0 a game while opponents collected 49.4 — an 8.4 disadvantage.

"It's not a big concern," said Coach Mike D'Antoni. "I'm not one of those purists that thinks you need to get all the rebounds. It'd be nice."

Chris Kaman led the team with 7.8 rebounds a night, followed by Pau Gasol's 6.3.  Both played limited minutes throughout the team's 4-4 exhibition season.

D'Antoni is considering starting Shawne Williams at power forward with Kaman coming off the bench.  Williams averaged 4.4 rebounds in 18 minutes a game throughout the preseason.

"If we play smaller, we're going to be a little weaker there. Now will those rebounds hurt you?" asked D'Antoni. "Second-chance points is what I look at. We can't give up second-chance points. If we take 10 more shots than the other team and miss 10 more, they're going to out-rebound us because they're going to get those rebounds."

Last year the Lakers rebounded well but had their share of struggles en route to a 45-win season.

D'Antoni is willing to give up some rebounding if his team can improve defensively with quicker, more athletic lineups.

And if rebounding is costing games?

"We'll have to calculate in the importance of [rebounding] and try to boost it or do something better," said D'Antoni.

Kaman may still end up the team's starting center, alongside Gasol, but Williams appears to be D'Antoni's choice heading into opening night on Tuesday against the Clippers.

Outside of acknowledging Steve Nash and Gasol will be two of the five starters on Tuesday, D'Antoni was reluctant to reveal his final three starters.


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Email Eric Pincus at and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.

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