The Lakers finished the week going .500 with wins against the Detroit Pistons and New Orleans Pelicans and losses to the Denver Nuggets and Memphis Grizzles. This brings the Lakers’ season record to 5-7. With Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash still battling injuries, a few Lakers have taken on extra responsibility and stepped their game up… Here is this week’s Top to Bottom:
1. Jordan Hill
In the last edition of Top to Bottom I said Jordan Hill deserved more playing time and I got my wish. Since being inserted into the starting lineup, Hill has been averaging 18.75 points and 12 rebounds in about 30 minutes a game and has tallied new career highs in both scoring and rebounding. Hill broke his career high in points last Monday in the win against the Pelicans but that record didn’t last long, on Sunday Hill had a career best in both scoring and rebounding when he went for 24 points and 17 rebounds.
2. Steve Blake
With Steve Nash battling injuries, Steve Blake has taken over the starting point guard spot and he has not disappointed. Steve Blake was on the opposite end of my last list, but that seems like a long time ago now. While starting at the shooting guard, Blake only averaged 6.25 points on 27% shooting and 5.25 assists a game. This week, at the point, his averages shot up to 9.5 points on 42% shooting and 11.75 assists a game. Blake’s week ended with a season high in assists on Sunday when he notched 16 of them in the Lakers’ win over Detroit.
3. Jodie Meeks
Jodie Meeks has been impressing me more and more this season. Last year, I gave Meeks a lot of flack for not being able to finish at the basket and making poor decisions with the ball. This year, Meeks has improved his game in both those areas. Getting the starting 2 spot after Nash’s injury, Meeks averaged 15.5 points a game while hitting 54% of his long range shots. His best game of the week came in the loss agaisnt the Grizzles when Meeks lead the team in scoring with 25 points.
1. Shawne Williams
Shawne Williams makes his second straight appearance on my bottom list this week. Williams, who lost his starting job, averaged only 4.25 points and 2.75 rebounds a game in just under 15 minutes a game. I still have not been too impressed by Williams this season… His numbers may be decent, but I have not seen anything from Williams that makes him stand out in any particular way.
2. Chris Kaman
Chris Kaman had a quiet week. In the last 4 games Kaman only averaged 6 points while shooting 34% and 4.25 rebounds in just over 15 minutes a game. Kaman found himself back on the bench, like Williams, after D’Antoni changed his starting lineup to include Jordan Hill instead. Although the numbers seem disappointing, I still believe Kaman serves a purpose on the team and can easily turn things back around.
3. Xavier Henry
Could the Henry hype be dying down already? Just a few games after topping my list, Henry found his way to the bottom. Henry didn’t have a terrible week, but the hype from week 1 has definitely deflated quite a bit. Henry shot a very decent 52% from the field but he only averaged 6.25 points a game while playing an average of just over 16 minutes. D’Antoni’s experiment of starting Henry has also seemed to have ended after finding a starting 5 that has produced well in the past week. I still believe Henry can be the X factor the Lakers need and don’t expect him to be on my bottom list for very long.