The Los Angeles Lakers successfully returned one of their former point guards, Jordan Farmar. A crucial piece off the bench in the 2009 and 2010 championship runs, Farmar will come back to being someone the Lakers rely on in the backcourt for 18 to 20 minutes per game.
After walking away from Los Angeles and signing with the New Jersey Nets in the summer of 2010, its safe to say that Farmar fell under the radar. He then found his way to Turkey to try his luck in the Turkish Basketball League, but admitted that he didn’t feel that he was quite the type of player to enjoy playing overseas. Attempting to cure his homesickness and help a franchise that needs it, he opted out of his contract with Turkish team Anadolu Efes and inked a deal with the Lakers for the 2013-14 season.
Looking at the backcourt depth of the Lakers this season makes it clear why general manager Mitch Kupchak reached out to the 26-year-old point guard.
Two-time MVP Steve Nash will certainly have a better season than last year, as it would be surprising if he missed 32 games again due to another broken bone. However, Nash will be turning 40 years old in February and, unfortunately for the Lakers, his current backup is 33-year-old Steve Blake. The amount of young legs this team occupies at the guard positions is limited to just ONE and his name is Jodie Meeks. Yes, Kobe Bryant will still be among the deadliest scorers in the league and demand excellence every single night. But in reality, even the Black Mamba knows its important to get some youth on the team and take some of the pressure off Nash and himself.
Jodie Meeks can get hot and be one of the streakiest shooters in the league, but Mike D’Antoni‘s love for perimeter shooting demands consistency from beyond the arc. Shooting 38.7 percent from the field and hoisting 4.4 3-pointers last season, it’s sometimes hard to have Meeks sub in for Bryant and expect to find reliable offense.
With Jordan Farmar, he’s going to enter training camp with an already established connection with Bryant and Pau Gasol, as the trio spent three years together under coach Phil Jackson. Not only do they know what it takes to win games and championships, but bringing in Farmar means that the second unit can actually resemble some youth with Farmar being the leading voice. Farmar, Meeks, Wesley Johnson and Jordan Hill are all 26 years old or younger and can provide enough scoring to give the veterans a bit of a rest. It’s unclear as to who will get the higher backup minutes between Steve Blake and Farmar at the point guard position, but having both certainly sends a bit of relief to Steve Nash and his health.
In the games that we did see Nash compete in, he played 32.5 minutes per game. This upcoming season, due to having Farmar and Blake in their rotation, we may see Nash’s minutes limited to 27 or 28 per game. Actually, that is exactly what the Lakers should want. Keeping Nash healthy and allowing him to have the energy at the end of the season is crucial, especially considering the final six games on the schedule (against the Clippers, Rockets, Warriors, Grizzlies, Jazz and Spurs) may make them or break them.
While I do predict Kobe Bryant will be ready to go early on in the season, it’s almost guaranteed that he won’t be playing 38 minutes per game right off the bat. The more you think about it, Mitch Kupchak absolutely needed to do something to give Bryant the time to get back into game shape with his Achilles. Since not making the $1.2 million qualifying offer to prospect Darius Morris, the Lakers have allowed him to become an unrestricted free agent and appear to have no plans of re-signing him.
The other new additions of Chris Kaman, Nick Young and Wesley Johnson will definitely be more entertaining for fans, considering these talents are new to the team and have never played alongside Bryant. However, Jordan Farmar’s presence could be what helps the Lakers maintain the stamina of their two veteran guards in the backcourt.