Prior to Andrew Bynum's injury on January 31, the Lakers had the strongest bench in basketball, anchored by supersub Lamar Odom. Once Bynum went down, Odom moved into the starting lineup, leaving the Lakers' "Bench Mob" -- a collection of speedsters and athletes that includes point guard Jordan Farmar, wings Trevor Ariza and Sasha Vujacic, as well as big man Josh Powell. This group relies on quickness, rather than the Lakers' offensive system, to score points. When the Bench Mob can work in transition, they're effective. If they can't get out on the break, things bog down.
Last week, Phil Jackson swapped his small forwards, moving Trevor Ariza into the starting lineup and bringing Luke Walton off the bench. As a more system-oriented player, Walton can work with the other starter who remains on the floor (usually Gasol or Odom) to stabilize the offense, as demonstrated in the Lakers' victory against Houston last Wednesday.
Come the playoffs, expect Phil Jackson to continue this trend of restraining the Mob with more order.
Edited by BeeZee, March 17, 2009 - 12:15 PM.