Lakers’ Week 23 in review
The Lakers (25-52) lost all four contests through Week 23, gaining ground on the Utah Jazz (24-53) in the lottery standings.
Nick Young may relish the “player hater” role, but the Lakers didn’t get much spoiling done.
Currently slotted sixth for May’s NBA draft lottery, the Lakers now have a chance to at least tie the Jazz for fifth -- assuming the Lakers don’t win any of their final five games on the schedule.
The week began with a resumption of the debate -- should Pau Gasol and Chris Kaman play on the court together?
Gasol said he believes it’s something that could have worked for the team this season, although it clearly wasn’t Coach Mike D’Antoni’s preference.
The two seven-footers got their wish on Tuesday against the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday, although Gasol wasn’t quite himself as he tried to return from a bout with vertigo.
Kaman took up for D’Antoni before the game, a departure for the often frustrated center.
Gasol said he didn’t feel confident during the game, still experiencing some dizziness while playing. The duo of Gasol and Kaman didn’t have much staying power as both missed the rest of the week, Kaman suffering a calf injury.
With his fellow bigs out, Jordan Hill stepped into big minutes, but noted he was unlikely to return to the Lakers next season under similar circumstances (based on D’Antoni’s preference for small ball).
The Dallas Mavericks pulled away in the second half to beat the Lakers on Friday, 107-95.
Steve Nash was able to play on both Tuesday and Friday, but is always facing the possibility, “This could be it tonight,” with back and nerve issues. The 40-year-old point guard is just five assists away from passing Mark Jackson for third on the all-time assists list.
The Lakers also fell to the Clippers on Sunday, 120-97, and Nash sat out the afternoon game.
Injuries to Kobe Bryant and Nash have made their dollars earned per minutes played off the charts.
Bryant proved to be quite the prognosticator, picking Kentucky Wildcats to win the NCAA tournament. Lottery prospect Julius Randle helped the Wildcats advance to the final game against the Connecticut Huskies -- to be played on Monday night.
The Lakers should target Connecticut’s Kevin Ollie as their next head coach.
Meanwhile, Kansas freshman Andrew Wiggins declared for the June 26 NBA draft.
Finally, the Lakers announced a deal to build a new practice facility near their current El Segundo facility.
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