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Lakers' point guards could help fill in for recovering Kobe Bryant

September 28, 2013|By Eric Pincus
  • Lakers guards Nick Young, left, and Jordan Farmar, right, share a light moment during media day at the Lakers' training facility Saturday.
Lakers guards Nick Young, left, and Jordan Farmar, right, share a light… (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles…)

The Lakers start camp with three point guards, all capable of playing major minutes.

Coach Mike D'Antoni may keep Steve Nash's minutes down to about 30 minutes per game but that still just leaves 18 minutes combined for Steve Blake and Jordan Farmar.

How will the minutes shake out this season?

"It's up to coach, whether it's playing more minutes at shooting guard or more point guard, that's something we just don't know yet," said Blake at media day Saturday at the Lakers practice facility. "We haven't even gotten in our first day of practice yet."

Initially, the Lakers could have extra minutes available at shooting guard with Kobe Bryant's return timetable still up in the air after his April Achilles' tendon surgery.

"I would expect to play quite a bit of two, especially while Kobe is hurt," Blake said.  "As the year goes on ... [I'll be] open to moving around positions."

"My job is to make sure he puts me on the floor," said Farmar, who played last season in Turkey. "That's my job, really, to contribute and be an impact player every time I step on the court."

Blake stands at 6-foot-3, an inch taller than Farmar.

PHOTOS: Lakers Media Day

"I've guarded a lot of shooting guards throughout my career. It's nothing new for me," said Blake. "I love it. I used to guard Kobe all the time when I was in Portland."

While Farmar doesn't have as much experience as Blake at the two, he did play some minutes alongside Deron Williams in New Jersey with the Nets (who have since moved to Brooklyn).

Farmar also played in the triangle offense for Phil Jackson with the Lakers, which employed a two-guard front.

"The first four years of my career I wasn't running pick-and-roll and wasn't dictating the offense," said Farmar. "I think I'll be able to adjust to whatever [D'Antoni] needs me to."

Both point guards should be capable offensively at either guard position. The bigger question is their ability to defend taller shooting guards.

"You just don't let them get the ball," Blake said. "If they post up, you front the post.  You battle and make your teammates aware of what they're trying to do -- that communication really helps."

"You've got to be scrappy. You've got to be feisty," Farmar said. "Try not to let them get the ball where height is a big advantage and foul. Use some of the fouls I've got; use them at the right times."

Of course the Lakers also have Jodie Meeks at shooting guard, along with camp hopefuls Xavier Henry and Darius Johnson-Odom. Newcomers Wesley Johnson and Nick Young can also play the position.

Assuming Bryant does return to full strength relatively quickly, the long-time All-Star will get the lion's share of the minutes -- although he may slide up to small forward throughout D'Antoni's rotation.

Regardless of how minutes play out, Farmar is happy to be back in a Lakers uniform on media day in Los Angeles.

"It feels more natural and more normal than other media days I've had elsewhere," he said.  "Those were kind of unfamiliar and weird, but this feels pretty normal."

Blake played well for the Lakers last season but struggled to stay healthy, missing 37 games with abdominal, groin and hamstring issues.  He's hoping that's in the past.

"I feel great," he said. "I've been slowly building myself strength and conditioning-wise, to where I'm ready to go right now."

The Lakers' first preseason game is Saturday, Oct. 5, in Ontario against the Golden State Warriors.

ALSO:

Lakers sign free agent center Dan Gadzuric

Pau Gasol limited at start of Lakers training camp, but he's healthy

Kobe Bryant focuses on cutting down recovery time with Achilles tendon

Email Eric Pincus at eric.pincus@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.

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