Jackson says Turiaf will start at power forward and Odom at small forward. What are your thoughts? Sound-off in the comments!
O.C. Register: After the productive season Luke Walton had and the big contract he signed, he had every reason to think he had settled in as the Lakers’ starting small forward.
So there was bewilderment on Walton’s face when he was told by a reporter Friday that Coach Phil Jackson plans to start Ronny Turiaf at power forward, with Lamar Odom at small forward and Walton coming off the bench.
Asked if he had informed Walton, Jackson said: “No.” Then he smiled and added: “He’s OK with it.”
Walton was — reluctantly — OK with it. His responses included “I mean, what am I going to do?” and “I would like to start. I’m not going to pout if I don’t.”
Last season, Jackson envisioned Walton, with his knack for team play, anchoring the Lakers’ second unit. But Vladimir Radmanovic never earned a starting spot and Walton emerged. When asked if Jackson wants Walton to be his reserve anchor again, Jackson replied: “Sure do. I know that we have to have starters coming off the bench to be a good team.”
So even though Radmanovic (who signed a five-year, $30 million deal in July 2006) and Walton (who signed a six-year, $30 million deal in July) are around, it is Turiaf (making $770,610 this season) about whom Jackson said, “I plan on starting him.”
Added Jackson: “He’s a guy who can bring energy to the game and the kind of start we need to have in kind of a physical front.”