Found December 20, 2012 on Laker Nation:
Picimg_nba_mar_03_3660
Image Credit: Noah Graham, Jeff Gross | Getty ImagesPau 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.Positives: With Gasol back in the starting lineup, the Lakers become much deeper and bigger in the frontcourt. Moving a guy like World Peace to the bench, a starter for most of his career, brings stability to the bench and gives World Peace an added advantage at the power forward position. World Peace, one of the strongest Lakers, has the unique ability of guarding multiple positions on the floor.By making World Peace the backup power forward, D’Antoni will be able to exploit mismatches on the offensive end, as shown by his 17 points matched up against the slower defender in Byron Mullens. World Peace, when playing the 4-position, also spaces the floor with his ability to shoot from three-point range as well as his ability to draw opposing defenders away from the key. World Peace, who is not a prototypical power forward, has better foot speed and quickness than most typical power forwards.  He will thus use this advantage to penetrate and get by bigger, slower defenders who match up with him.Negatives: Moving World Peace to the bench, as sort of a “super-sub,” creates a gaping void in the starting lineup. When playing against teams like Oklahoma City, Miami, New York and Memphis, Kobe Bryant will be forced to guard those teams’ best perimeter players in the beginning of games. In the past, World Peace has taken the assignment in slowing down guys like Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Rudy Gay to begin games. With World Peace now on the bench, Bryant will have to exert more energy on the defensive end by being forced to match up with these prolific scorers. On nights where the Lakers play teams like these, D’Antoni may need to consider starting World Peace in an attempt to match up better defensively.Jodie Meeks:With World Peace moving to the bench as a full-time sixth man, D’Antoni must now find a permanent replacement in the starting lineup. It seems after their win over Charlotte, D’Antoni has settled on moving Bryant to the starting 3-position and putting Jodie Meeks as the starting 2-guard:You have Dwight, you have a 7-footer in there, so we can go small. I think it puts Jodie Meeks out there, it [gives] Kobe more area to operate. [Meeks] has a little pop to his game, both offensively and defensively,” said D’Antoni. “He spreads the floor, always a 3-point shot waiting to happen. I think he’s playing extremely well; he’s a good player.Positives: Placing Meeks in the starting lineup gives the Lakers yet another consistent three-point shooter once point guard Steve Nash returns. Meeks is averaging 8.4 points per game and shooting 39.3% from three-point range this season. With Gasol and Dwight Howard occupying the inside, having Meeks on the court with them will further stretch the floor to give the bigs good operational areas inside. His consistent three-point shooting will also keep opposing defenders honest, giving Bryant and Nash more open driving lanes to the basket.Meeks has been bringing great effort and energy off the bench, as well. This season, as is evident seemingly every season, the Lakers’ starting group comes out lethargic at times. Starting the game with Meeks on the floor will give the Lakers an instant spark plug and should give the team faster starts. Meeks seems to have a never-ending motor, which will allow him to stay on the floor for extended minutes.Negatives: Meeks is listed at a generous 6’4” and as hard as he plays, opponents may look to post him up on the block. Meeks is a stronger defender than he is given credit for, but his small stature could be an issue when guarding starting shooting guards. The same issue with Kobe having to guard bigger small forwards could also apply to Meeks and force over-rotations on the backside of the Lakers’ defense. If opponents do choose to isolate Meeks and exploit his lack of size, the Lakers may need to bring an extra defender to help.Devin Ebanks, Antawn Jamison and Jordan Hill:Ebanks: With World Peace moving to the bench, small forward Devin Ebanks got the start against Charlotte. Ebanks, who has played decently over the past few games, only played a total of 5 minutes Tuesday night. He was quickly replaced in the lineup by World Peace, and later Meeks, and seems to be out of the rotation now. Ebanks could see some minutes at the backup small forward, however, but with World Peace now on the bench, it seems his role will be reduced to an emergency player if other players get into foul trouble.Jamison: For most of the season, Antawn Jamison has served as the backup power forward behind Gasol and even moved into the starting lineup with Gasol out. Now, as World Peace assumes that role, it looks like Jamison will be out of the rotation. Jamison registered his first DNP-CD this season against Charlotte, after being a solid scoring threat off the bench for most of the season. It seems like going forward D’Antoni has resorted to a three-man frontcourt rotation of Gasol-Howard-World Peace. This rotation has also hurt Jordan Hill’s prospects of seeing the floor as well.Hill: Along with Jamison, Hill seems to be the odd man out in this new rotation. His energy and rebounding have been key to the Lakers early success, especially while Gasol was injured. D’Antoni expressed his disappointment in making Hill the odd man out in this new situation:I hate it for Jordan Hill right now, because a little bit, he’s the odd man out. He doesn’t deserve it, he’s played well and he’s a good player.Despite D’Antoni’s admiration for Hill, it seems like Hill’s role will be decreased in much the same way as Jamison. Both players are talented assets for the Lakers but with D’Antoni’s desire to spread the floor and play World Peace at the backup four-position, it seems they will only see the floor in the case of injuries or foul trouble.Both players deserve to be on the floor, as D’Antoni alluded to, but if the Lakers really want to space the floor effectively, their roles will be greatly reduced. They may see spot minutes occasionally, if the Lakers lack energy or need a scoring punch, but as consistent minutes go, they may be out of luck.The Nash effect:Going forward, D’Antoni’s slightly unorthodox rotations will either hurt the Lakers or help them. The key, as it has been since D’Antoni’s hire, will be Nash’s return and how effectively he can assimilate the Lakers into D’Antoni’s system. Nash reportedly hopes to play this Saturday against the Golden State Warriors, but the Christmas Day game against the New York Knicks looks more likely.As his return inches closer and closer, it seems that D’Antoni is prepping his rotations to get them ready for Nash’s return, and to maximize the team’s collective efficiency with Nash running the show.The post Like It or Not, D’Antoni Shakes Up the Rotation appeared first on Laker Nation.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Clearing the Air: D’Antoni, Gasol Discuss Roles Over Dinner

This is turning out to be a season for Pau Gasol to forget. His stat line is a career low, his minutes aren’t where they should be, and he’s already missed eight games with knee tendonitis. Clearly Pau isn’t in full form, and his true potential has not yet been unlocked in Mike D’Antoni’s system.So with these problems existing, D’Antoni invited Gasol out to dinner at...

Gasol returns after eight-game layoff

Pau Gasol returned Tuesday night from an eight-game absence as the Los AngelesLakers host the Charlotte Bobcats at Staples Center. Gasol, who struggled with knee tendinitis through most of the early part of the season, has been given the green light to play without restriction. "The sky is the limit, 48 (minutes), if overtime 50," joked Gasol. The Lakers have struggled...

Pau Gasol Returns in Ugly Lakers' Win

As expected Pau Gasol returned to the court last night.  The Los Angeles Lakers had their All-Star forward back in the lineup for the first time since December 2nd.  His return signified a new hope for the team, but it is going to take time.  The Lakers beat the Charlotte Bobcats last night with Gasol back, but just barely.The Lakers won 101-100 against one of the worst teams...

Pau Gasol Says He Needs To Be On The Court In Crunch Time

Gasol had an impact in a variety of ways even while struggling with his shooting touch. He finishing with 10 points on three-for-10 shooting to go with nine rebounds and five assists in 29 minutes after missing the previous eight games to let the tendinitis in his knees subside. He was not on the court at the end of the game, with D’Antoni saying his conditioning was a factor....

Mike D’Antoni Takes Out Pau Gasol To Dinner

True story. And they talked and they talked. Now, this is good for Lakers fans because it seems to have brought forth a resolution for the lack of chemistry that is on the court for LA’s bigs. Rumor has it that Coach D has vowed to no longer bench Gasol during crucial minutes at the end of games. Which was a huge problem for the Spanish post man. He has also made it clear he’s...

Pau Gasol Will Start Tonight vs. Bobcats

Earlier then expected, Pau Gasol will return to the lineup tonight against the Bobcats after missing the last nine games with tendinitis in his knees. Mike D’Antoni says @paugasol will start tonight. He responded well to practice yesterday. LAL were 3-5 w/out Gasol. — Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) December 18, 2012

Gasol, D'Antoni Meet To Clear Air

Pau Gasol and Mike D'Antoni met on Wednesday evening at a Manhattan Beach restaurant to discuss their differences.

Pau Gasol Upset Following Crunch-Timem Benching

Uh oh...

Ricky Rubio feels the Lakers are mistreating Pau Gasol

Add Ricky Rubio to the growing list of people who feel like the Los Angeles Lakers are not getting the most out of Pau Gasol this season. Since Mike D’Antoni took over in L.A. several weeks ago, there have been questions about whether or not Gasol is a fit in his offense. Rubio feels as though Gasol has given the team plenty and is not seeing any reciprocation. “Pau Gasol has...

Ricky Rubio Doesn’t Like How Lakers Are Treating Pau Gasol

“Pau Gasol has given the Lakers a lot and I don’t feel he’s getting enough in return, especially as far as confidence,” Rubio said in a conference call earlier today. “But he’s a pro. If he goes to another team, I think he would make a contender out of that team. Wherever he goes, he’s going to be fighting for the title.” via HoopsHype

Nash to return soon and Gasol will be on the court late in games

The 2012 Los Angeles Lakers are clearly the biggest disappointment so far in the NBA. They should be getting some help with point guard Steve Nash returning from injury. Nash has only played 2 games with the Lakers and that was with ex-coach Mike Brown. Nash is expected to play on Christmas day according to Mark Medina of the Daily News. There’s probably a low chance tomorrow...

Preview: Bobcats vs. Lakers

For the first time this season, the Lakers won back-to-back games on the road beating Washington and Philadelphia over the weekend. And that was also the first time in a long time Laker fans saw their team put together consistent quarters in a span of 96 minutes. While the Lakers is still far from becoming a team we can all fully assess, gathering wins is as important as progressing...

Lakers Injury News: Steve Nash Will be Ready For Christmas Day Game

The Los Angeles Lakers got Pau Gasol back this week and they were hoping to get Steve Nash back as well. Nash's return is coming, but he may not be ready this week. The Lakers point guard has been participating in full-contact practices, but he may not be ready to go Saturday. Mark Medina of the Daily News said Nash will be iffy for today's game, but he will be ready to go...

Report Card: Bobcats @ Lakers

AP Photo/Chris CarlsonThe Lakers were able to defeat the Charlotte Bobcats and extend their winning streak to 3 games. With Pau back in the lineup the team was still not able to successfully run their half-court offense when both Pau and Dwight were in the game together. They got away with doing that tonight, but if the Lakers really want to win a championship they will need to find...
NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.