Pau Gasol finally made his return to the Lakers’ starting lineup Tuesday night, after missing the past eight games with knee tendinitis, but that was not the only change in the Lakers’ rotation.
Metta World Peace:
Along with Gasol returning to the starting lineup, Coach Mike D’Antoni decided to move Metta World Peace to the bench. According to D’Antoni, after the Lakers 101-100 win over the Charlotte Bobcats, he hopes to bring World Peace off the bench for the remainder of the season:
I want [World Peace] to play the four. … For us to have a different team, a different look, he has to play the four. If he starts at the three, then once I get him to the four, it’s too many minutes for him and he needs rest.
This must be the collective sentiment of the Lakers’ fan base as a whole. Since joining the Lakers this past off-season, Antawn Jamison has been nothing short of disappointing so far this season. However, last night in the Lakers’ 106-98 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, Jamison finally broke out of his slump and contributed an efficient night off the bench.
With starting power forward Pau Gasol struggling from the field (6 points on 3/8 shooting), coach Mike D’Antoni turned to Jamison off the bench. Jamison, a career 19 points per game scorer, responded for the first time this season with an efficient game on both ends of the floor. Despite fouling out towards the end of the game, Jamison finished the night with 16 points on 7/11 shooting, 7 rebounds (5 offensive) and a blocked shot. Although the 16 points were a welcomed sight, his 5 offensive rebounds were even more impressive.
Playing Jamison at the power forward position for most of the night, with Gasol on the bench, was certainly an effective call by D’Antoni. Jamison looked much more aggressive at power forward than he has in the back up small forward role. With Gasol struggling of late, don’t be surprised if you see Jamison playing more at the back up power forward position. His ability to stretch the floor (2/5 from 3-point range last night) and play at a faster tempo will be key in D’Antoni’s “run and fun” offensive scheme.
With the Lakers off to a poor start, trade rumors have begun to swirl around Kobe Bryant, leading many to speculate if he'll leave for greener pastures. Kobe puts those rumors to rest in his interview with Yahoo Sports.