For the sixth time in nine games, Los Angeles Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni put together a new starting lineup after news broke earlier this week that Steve Nash would be sidelined for at least two weeks.
Jodie Meeks, Jordan Hill and Wesley Johnson were inserted while Steve Blake moved over to the point guard position after starting at shooting guard the entire season. Fans have been clamoring for D’Antoni to put Hill into the starting lineup and the 26-year-old power forward rewarded his head coach.
Mike D’Antoni on new Lakers starter @jordanchill43: “He’s really good–if not our best player.”
— KEVIN DING (@KevinDing) November 14, 2013
D’Antoni has been reluctant to put Hill into the starting lineup as he doesn’t like the fit with Pau Gasol since he doesn’t “fit” his system. Shawne Williams and Chris Kaman have both gotten starts ahead of Hill, but it looks like the same starting five will be out there tonight against the Denver Nuggets.
Having Hill in the starting lineup does a lot for the Lakers and most importantly he brings energy to a unit that’s been outscored by the bench in six of the first nine games of the season. On the season, Hill is averaging 7.9 points and 7.1 rebounds, including an average of six offensive rebounds per 36 minutes.
While with the New York Knicks and even last season with the Lakers, D’Antoni has been hesitant to play players that don’t fit his style and that’s made Laker fans increasingly frustrated with him.
On the second game of a back-to-back the Lakers will need his energy especially against Nuggets power forward Kenneth Faried as the Lakers look to get their record back to .500 tonight.
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