If the state of Kobe Bryant is the litmus test for the overall well-being of this Lakers squad, well, you get the 2013-14 Lakers. When healthy, and that’s a big when, their roster sees a nice variety of fantasy assets. At any given time, Jordan Farmar, Steve Blake, Nick Young, Jodie Meeks, Wesley Johnson, Pau Gasol, Xavier Henry, Jordan Hill, Kendall Marshall, Ryan Kelly, and now Chris Kaman have been viable fantasy pickups. But half of them are hurt at any given time.
With the All-Star break upon us, XN Sports thought it to be a good time to plot out the injuries of each Laker, the team’s depth in the weeks to come, and who might be worth looking keeping around. Think of it as coming to grips with the Lakers injury pandemonium.
Returns On Injuries
Jodie Meeks – Is the closest high-fantasy option to be near return from injury. Though a slew of backcourt options like Bryant, Farmar, and Henry should follow suit, it’s Meeks who people should target first as he’s a nice source of treys, pilfers, free-throw percentage and points. Don’t stash him just yet but do so around Tuesday or Wednesday of next week (unless you hear otherwise).
Black Mamba Recovery In The Black – Other than word that his knee will be looked at again after the All-Star break, Lakers brass has been rather mum regarding Bryant. Not good news for a guy nearing forty and probably still dealing with lingering issues from his Achilles injury. Drop Kobe if you have him, and don’t pick him up until after he proves he can stay on the hardwood.
Pau “On The Trade Block” Gasol – Cómo se dice “trade block” in Spanish? Though, he’s still got it at times, the old age and high contract of Gasol will inevitably land him on the trade block. His recent groin injury, which has kept him out a few games only makes the transaction easier for the Lakers. One hopes he gets an adequate farewell from L.A.
Depth At Full Health
So, at full health, the Lakers roster should look something like this:
Jordan Farmar (1)
Steve Blake/Kendall Marshall (2)
Jodie Meeks (1)
Steve Blake/Xavier Henry (2)
Wesley Johnson (1)
Nick Young (2)
Xavier Henry (3)
Ryan Kelly/Jordan Hill (1)
Robert Sacre (1)
Chris Kaman (2)
XN Sports really doesn’t see Steve Nash or Kobe Bryant ending the season on the court. Sorry. And Pau Gasol should be gone by the deadline.
That makes any combination of Farmar, Blake, Marshall, Meeks, Young, Johnson, and maybe Kelly as the best options going forward. Which leaves us at:
There’s no point in rushing back Kobe, or forcing him and Nash on the floor, for the Lakers. They’re a team in rebuild mode – even if they don’t see it themselves. So, with that, the majority of the minutes, and so, the stats will most likely go to guys like Meeks, Young, Marshall, and Farmar who can factor into the team’s future. Kobe and Nash will be part of that future so it’s counter-intuitive to think that management will further risk their health for a little momentary gain (though they seem to be doing that somewhat.
Blake is at a point where his effectiveness is shot with a bothersome elbow injury and is nearing his mid-30s. He could very well be a nice trade asset sooner rather than later as well. Someone that a contending team could do with as a backup combo guard.
Farmar hasn’t had the best of luck staying on the floor so our money is going to Marshall, Meeks, and Young as your best Lakers fantasy bets. Henry is just too inconsistent to invest in just yet.