Point guards are the lifeblood of Coach Mike D'Antoni's system, the heads of the snake that drive and score or kick out to open shooters in a perfect basketball world (see: Steve Nash, 2005).
Too bad none of them can stay healthy on the Lakers.
Nash has played only 11 games because of his chronically sore back, Jordan Farmar has played only 36 games and backup point guard Xavier Henry has spent more than two months on the sidelines.
Kobe Bryant, a backup point guard for a while, lasted all of six games this season. Steve Blake was doing fine until he was traded to Golden State last month, leaving the Lakers with Kendall Marshall and…Kendall Marshall?
There just aren't enough point guards on this team.
"That's probably one of the reasons why it's hard to get traction, because they're the heart and soul of your team and they're kind of doing what you wanted to be done," D'Antoni said. "We've never really had that, from Steve Blake first getting hurt and then leaving, and then 'X' [Henry] trying to fill in, Kobe not being there, Steve Nash not being there all year.
"It also affects other players, their psyche and how they feel. It's tough without a point guard. The league is dominated by really good point guards. Got to have them."
Nash returned Friday after a long absence but reinjured the damaged nerves in his back and sat out the Lakers' 103-94 victory Sunday against Orlando. He might return Tuesday against New York, D'Antoni said.
Marshall had four points and three assists in 29 minutes against Orlando. He made two of seven shots.
Kent Bazemore had eight points and eight assists without a turnover as the backup point guard Sunday.
The Lakers like Bazemore's energy on defense. They want him to be more well-rounded on offense.
"It's what he has to do. He has to make plays," D'Antoni said. "He just can't make them for himself."
Pau Gasol hinted last month that some of his teammates, including Bazemore, needed to be less selfish with the ball.
Henry says he will be back sooner than later despite sustaining a torn ligament in his wrist Friday against Washington.
"He's saying to me he's going to play," D'Antoni said. "He said, 'I'm playing Tuesday,' but I'm sure the doctors will tell him what he's going to do."
Henry is seeing a hand specialist Monday to determine the severity of his injury. He did not play against Orlando. The Lakers' next game is Tuesday against New York.
Henry sat out 28 games because of a bone bruise and cartilage abnormality in his right knee. He returned for six games before injuring his wrist.