Tonight’s Starting Lineup Could Be The Lakers Most Productive

Jordan Hill

The Lakers announced they would be trying a new starting lineup tonight in the wake of Steve Nash’s back injury sidelining him for the foreseeable future.

Here’s how the lineup is projected to look tonight against the New Orleans Pelicans:

  • PG: Steve Blake
  • SG: Jodie Meeks
  • SF: Nick Young
  • PF: Jordan Hill
  • C: Pau Gasol

The notable differences are the infusion of Jodie Meeks and Jordan Hill into the starting lineup, along with the shift of Steve Blake to the point guard position, which could prove to be the Lakers’ most productive lineup to date.

Steve Nash had been struggling and had a PER of just 5.5 before going down. Steve Blake, on the other hand, has been playing well and currently has a PER of 14.1 at the point guard position (compared with 11.3 at the two slot). More importantly, Blake’s opponents’ PER is currently at 10.9 when playing at the lead guard position, which is far better than Nash (15.4)  or Farmar’s (17.0).

Farmar actually has a higher PER (14.8) than Blake, but Blake has been a steady leader for the Lakers, and has been the heart and soul of the team so far. Farmar will certainly get minutes with Nash out, though, so fans who’ve been waiting to see more of Jordan will certainly get the opportunity now.

Jodie Meeks, coming in at the shooting guard slot, currently has a PER of 16.5 at the shooting guard position, which is the highest of any Laker with significant minutes at the position. Additionally, he holds the highest eFG% on the team at 63.0 percent.

Nick Young will fill the wing and Pau Gasol will remain at center, but one of the main changes Lakers fans have been clamoring for has finally come to fruition — Jordan Hill will get the start.

Hill had actually gotten most of his minutes at the center slot prior to the start, and currently holds the highest PER down low at 25.2 compared with Gasol’s 10.7, and Chris Kaman’s 16.5. He even has a higher PER than Gasol at the power forward slot (17.9 compared with 14.4). Despite those numbers, the most impressive stat for Hill has been is ORB%, which is at an astounding 19.4 percent (highest in the league among players who have played more than three games).

Those are the numbers, but even just from an eyeball analysis, this lineup looks to be more productive as well.

Steve Blake starting at the point guard position adds some defensive tenacity, and Jodie Meeks’ hot shooting will be a welcome addition to the starting lineup. Nick Young will have to work on his consistency, however, or Xavier Henry might steal his spot.

As for Jordan Hill, he should add some toughness down low to aide Pau Gasol, and if he can sustain the kind of energy and efficiency he’s displayed in limited minutes thus far, he’ll likely earn his keep at the four slot. Kaman and Gasol had some nice chemistry offensively, but defensively the two big men were a liability. Perhaps Kaman will still get some minutes alongside Gasol off the bench, or develop a different kind of chemistry with Jordan Hill and/or Wesley Johnson.

The bottom line is that the Lakers will put forth what should prove to be a higher scoring, more defensively capable lineup on the floor tonight.

With two players who have been bright spots for the Lakers — Jodie Meeks and Jordan Hill — joining the starting lineup, it could be the Lakers most productive lineup to date.

UPDATE: The Lakers just announced that Wesley Johnson will get the start ahead of Nick Young, which should be interesting. Personally, I like Nick Young providing scoring off the bench, so we’ll have to see how it all plays out.

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