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Pau Gasol, Steve Nash to sit out Lakers’ preseason opener vs. Warriors

Oct 4, 2013, 8:01 PM EDT

Los Angeles Lakers Steve Nash of Canada and Pau Gasol of Spain, watch the Lakers play against Oklahoma City Thunder in the second half of NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City. Reuters

The Lakers had all the talent in the world last year on paper, but as was well-chronicled just about everywhere, the season ultimately was a complete disaster that saw the team barely sneak into the playoffs before being swept in the first round.

A lack of chemistry with a certain center who shall not be named was a big part of that, but really, injuries were the main issue. Steve Nash, Pau Gasol, and Kobe Bryant all missed significant time, as did key reserves like Jordan Hill and Steve Blake.

Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni is taking every precaution to ensure his players are as healthy and rested as possible to begin the regular season, and with that in mind, he’s choosing to sit two of his stars for L.A.’s preseason opener against the Warriors on Saturday.

From Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles:

The Los Angeles Lakers have three future Hall of Famers on their roster in Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and Pau Gasol, but none of them will be in the lineup in the team’s exhibition opener Saturday against the Golden State Warriors.

Bryant being a scratch, of course, is no surprise. He is in Germany for a knee procedure until early next week and also continues to rehab the Achilles in his left leg.

Nash and Gasol, on the other hand, are healthy, but Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni wants to give them a day off with Saturday’s game in Ontario, Calif., to be followed Sunday in the second night of a back-to-back against the Denver Nuggets at Staples Center. …

“He’s obviously going to err on the side of being conservative,” said Nash, who missed 32 games in 2012-13 because of a variety of injuries. “It’s early in the year and obviously, the kind of year I had last year, I was continually fighting something so he just wants to be cautious.”

D’Antoni has already said he’s planning on limiting Nash’s minutes once the season begins, and may even hold him out of games where he’s perfectly healthy simply to keep him fresh as the season progresses.

The Lakers starting lineup on Saturday will likely consist of Steve Blake and Nick Young at guard, Wesley Johnson and Jordan Hill at forward, and Chris Kaman at center.

  1. antistratfordian - Oct 4, 2013 at 8:49 PM

    “A lack of chemistry with a certain center who shall not be named was a big part of that..”

    Sure, but it didn’t help that Kobe said “I don’t want to get into the, ‘Well, we share …’ No, it’s my team” on media day. That was the very first sign of an impending chemistry crisis with the Lakers.

    That comment had Nash reply with, “For the media’s perspective, this is Kobe’s team. But anyone who’s ever played on a basketball team, it’s also our team. The team needs to share in that responsibility. Kobe can’t do everything.”

    Well little did Nash know that Kobe was going to try to do everything, while Nash, Dwight and Gasol all wondered where their touches went.

    • Anoesis - Oct 4, 2013 at 10:33 PM

      You hate Bryant, you hate the Lakers, jeez we get it already.

      Bryant averaged 6 assists per game. Only Nash had more (6.7) in 28 fewer games.

      Bryant took 1,595 field goal attempts out of a team total of 6,640.

      Lots of other guys got lots of touches.

      Nash, Howard, and Gasol combined for 1,867 attempts in a total of 175 games combined (58 games each on average).

      Bryant played in 78 games. Jodie Meeks is the only other Laker who played in as many.

      Howard and Nash were both either hurt or ineffective early in the season. Gasol was out quite a bit during the year.

      “A lack of chemistry with a certain center who shall not be named was a big part of that, but really, injuries were the main issue.” When the Lakers were all healthy they had a very nice run at the end of the year that got them into the playoffs.

      Bryant was the one starter, other than MWP, who was consistent when on the court the whole year. What, you wanted MWP to hoist the most shots? But, hey, hang with that “Kobe’s a selfish bastard” narrative since it sure seems to get you off.

      • antistratfordian - Oct 6, 2013 at 3:24 PM

        Bryant’s 1,595 shots led the league last year – on a team with Nash, Gasol and Howard. Think about that. No one in the league took more shots than Kobe Bryant – he took 60 more shots than anyone else.

        So yes, Bryant was consistent… consistently stubborn to the extreme point where he refused to stop dominating the ball thereby forcing Steve Nash (of all people!) to shooting guard. He didn’t care if that meant the Lakers were consistently playing something more like 4 on 5.

        He even called Lakers fans “stupid” for suggesting that Nash should be allowed to play more of his style of point guard. He said that because 1) it meant that Kobe would have the ball in his hands less and 2) he felt it was an attack against him, so he lashed out.

        It all boils down to a simple, basic fact: Kobe was afraid to let go because he feared that the ball would not come back to him. He wanted to be the one to decide whether he had the ball or not (sorry Nash, no PG for you). He was equally afraid to “let go” of even a little piece of the team.

        Both of these things hurt the Lakers more than anything else last season – more than coaching and more than injuries.

    • urodaddy07 - Oct 5, 2013 at 11:04 AM

      DH isn’t a leader!

    • topdawg4ever - Oct 5, 2013 at 11:38 AM

      I saw the media day interviews with James Worthy asking Kobe about “sharing the ball” and the look on Kobe’s face made it very clear that ain’t happening this season.

    • musician0785 - Oct 5, 2013 at 12:37 PM

      trolling again smh, Maybe it had something to do with the fact that Pau and Nash missed about 3 months each or the fact the d12 shot about 50% from the free throw line so all teams did was foul him….or about the fact that when he looked on the wings he saw darius morris, and jodie meeks….your hate for kobe is bordering on obsessive…every laker article you find someway to say something idiotic, but try to word it in a way that makes you sound intelligent.

  2. onlyavoice - Oct 4, 2013 at 11:59 PM

    Pau Was Injured, But When Healthy He Still Sat.
    He Was D’Antoni’s Bench Boy Until Kobe Took Over. When Kobe Took Over (Dissed D’Antoni) & Promised To Make The Playoffs, Pau Was Back In The Starting Lineup, Howard Was Playing At a High Level & Queen (Twinkie) Nash Was Moved To The 2.
    Pau, Other Than Kobe Himself, Is Hoping For A 100% Kobe To Come Back.
    On A Positive Note, Expect D’Antoni To Be Fired By The All Star Break.
    No Big Name Free Agent’s Want To Play For Him (Nor My Ball My Team Kobe Either) & The Lakers Know This.. They Know D’Antoni Doesn’t Care For Pau & They Would Like To Showcase Him To Trade Him & That’s Not D’Antoni’s Way Of Coaching.
    He Knows He’s A Goner & His Little Overrated B!@#% Nash Will Help Him Look Good So That He Can Blame The Lakers (& Knicks) In Order To Get Another Job.
    Pau Will Play Limited Minutes Until Either Kobe Comes Back Or Until D’Antoni Is Fired.

  3. johngalt1783 - Oct 5, 2013 at 6:59 AM

    Blake and Kaman starting.

    I think the Lakers have become the pre-Blake Clippers

  4. ocgunslinger - Oct 5, 2013 at 9:48 AM

    As outlined it certainly makes sense. It is only the first pre-season game with a game the next day. If they were to play both games “Fans” would be critical. A can’t win situation for criticism.

  5. rodyaugu - Oct 5, 2013 at 11:30 AM

    Lakers suck, plain and simple.

  6. topdawg4ever - Oct 5, 2013 at 11:50 AM

    It’s a match-up that the fans look forward to but this year the Lakers will suck so maybe the Dubs can sit Curry and the rest of the starters just to make it fair….

  7. davidly - Oct 5, 2013 at 1:04 PM

    When calculating talent “on paper” one should take into consideration “on paper” that your 40 year old will have to sit out a few games and consider the fact that the team’s perennial all-star scoring machine had never played with a true point guard in his career and had, indeed, up to that point handled the ball more than any of his team-mates had (and that’d be on paper, too).

  8. freddysanford - Oct 6, 2013 at 9:13 AM

    Scrub City . The Lakers roster BLOWS this year. They will be lucky to end the season at .500.

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