Unfortunately, Steve Blake suffered a foot injury in which he stepped barefoot on a spike strip, Monday, and will be sidelined for about three weeks.
However, fortunately for the Lakers, they have a lot of depth this upcoming season–as I detailed in an earlier article.
Also, as Lakers Nation’s own Josh Sexton explained in his article, Chris Duhon could end up being a surprise this upcoming season, but would have to outshine Blake for playing time–in which Blake had the upper hand.
However, with Blake being out now, although he could be healthy in time for the season-opener, he will have still missed the entirety of training camp. This will, at the very least, allow Duhon the opportunity to prove himself during the pre-season. Duhon recently expressed his desire to show he can have an impact on the team.
Darius Morris or even Andrew Goudelock–who has practiced altering his game to be more of a point guard this summer–could see some minutes, but that’s doubtful unless the Lakers sustain another injury.
The main thing here is making sure Nash–who’s a prehistoric 38 years-old–doesn’t have to play a single extra minute due to an injury at the backup point guard position. Nash kept his minutes low last season (averaging just under 32 minutes per game), and would ideally play the same range of minutes this season as well. Fortunately, the Lakers had an incredible off-season in which they managed to provide solid depth at every position.
With Blake out, you certainly miss certain aspects of his game, but in Duhon, you can expect similar production.
Over their respective careers, they’ve averaged similar numbers: Blake averages 6.9 points, 3.9 assists, and 2.1 rebounds on 40.4 percent shooting from the field and 38.7 percent shooting from three-point land while Duhon averages 6.8 points, 4.6 assists, 2.3 rebounds on 39.4 percent shooting from the field and 36.3 shooting from three.
Additionally, as noted in Sexton’s article, Duhon is arguably the better, more athletic defender. Defense will win over Mike Brown above all else, so that could even buy him some minutes during the regular season.
At the very least, Duhon will get some solid time in early on and will hopefully get into a rhythm. Often times I’ve seen players play very well at the start of a season due to an injury to another player, become benched for the majority of the season, and then come in and produce just as they did early on in a big game or even a playoff game. I always attribute this to the success the player had early on, and just knowing that they were only benched because the other player returned and not because they were in the “dog house;” therefore their confidence remained high throughout the season.
If Duhon can get himself going and feel comfortable in the new system while Blake’s out, who knows when he’ll be called upon down the line.
And if he performs extremely well? He could even take Blake’s position on the depth chart, permanently.
Most importantly, Duhon is a capable guard who has even been a starter in his career, so Steve Nash shouldn’t have to take on any additional playing time in lieu of Steve Blake’s injury. Get well soon, Steve!
In case you missed it – We caught up with Steve Blake to ask him about life with the Lakers.