L.A. Times: No matter how many minutes a player gets, whether it’s two minutes or 40, Lakers Coach Phil Jackson wants him to accept it without complaint.
It’s hard for some of the Lakers who aren’t playing much, and it’s equally hard on Jackson to shell out minutes on a team that is so deep and talented. He was able to play all 12 players on his active roster in the first two games because they were blowouts, but his goal is to keep his players fresh for the long haul.
So far, Pau Gasol is averaging 36 minutes a game, tops on the team. Kobe Bryant is second with 32. Luke Walton, who averaged 23.4 minutes last season, is averaging 4.7 this season, the least of any active player, though he has played in all three games.
“It’s just trying to keep everybody prepared to contribute,” Jackson said Tuesday. “Sometimes you can only play a guy a couple of minutes, or maybe five minutes.
“They just have to understand that whatever they have to do, to go in there and play is an important part of it.”
Jackson recalled how he has inserted players for the last 30 seconds of a quarter and they found a way to contribute in that limited time.
“It’s too early for guys to worry about it right now,” Jackson said. “A coach can always read disappointment on a player’s body language. But this is a team that wants to win and they know to do so they have to be willing to put ‘me’ second to team. That’s an important aspect of it.”