D’Antoni says he’s confident in Lakers bench

Steve Blake pressures Detroit Pistons guard Brandon Knight in their game at Staples Center.
(Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)

New Coach Mike D’Antoni addressed a wide array of topics at his introductory Lakers news conference Thursday.

One issue the team has had so far this season is getting bench production, especially at shooting guard from Jodie Meeks and Devin Ebanks.

D’Antoni seemed to have confidence that he’ll get the most out of the entire roster.

“Jodie Meeks, for example, I told him today the only time he needs to shoot is when he touches the ball; other than that, don’t shoot,” D’Antoni joked. “That what he does. You’re in the league not because you can drive, dish or do all that stuff. That’s not him.”


Meeks has averaged just 2.5 points per game on 27.3% shooting so far this season.

“[He] may knock down the next 10 threes, look at that he’s the Eddie House of the situation,” D’Antoni said. “As soon as we get everyone together, get our players, get Steve [Nash], get this thing rolling, then we’ll see who can help us -- and the bench will help us. We’ll play the guys who can play.”

The Lakers are in 14th place in the Western Conference but just a single game behind the seventh-seeded Golden State Warriors.

Nash is sitting out with a leg injury. His timeline to return isn’t clear, but he isn’t believed to be more than a week or two away. Reserve Chris Duhon played for D’Antoni with the Knicks and may help bridge the gap while Nash recovers.

D’Antoni admitted that there’s going to be a gap when you go from a player such as Kobe Bryant to almost anyone. That said, he’s optimistic that his reserve unit will contribute: “The bench is going to be good. I like the Morris kid; I think Darius has a good upside. Steve Blake obviously. Jordan Hill has been playing really well.”

“We look at the positives, try to accentuate it,” he said. “Again, so many players have so many positives. That’s what makes this team unique.”


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