Los Angeles Lakers head coach Mike D'Antoni has a tough task. With a roster made up of aging stars and an abundance of interchangeable role players, he has to determine how to juggle the playing time. Before Sunday's game against the Atlanta Hawks, he shuffled his starting lineup, inserting Xavier Henry at shooting guard in place of Nick Young.
According to the L.A. Times' Eric Pincus, D'Antoni has used 34 different lineups in four games and the players are trying to figure out where they fit in:
"We're not a well-oiled machine," guard Steve Nash said after practice Monday. "We don't even know what lineups suit us best yet, let alone what each other are going to do."
"I'd like Jordan [Hill] to see more minutes," [Pau] Gasol said. "I'd like Chris [Kaman] to get more minutes.
And Gasol, who is averaging 26 minutes a game, would like more time on the court too.
"At some point in the future . . . I would like my minutes also to increase," Gasol said.
It's just a week into the season, so D'Antoni doesn't have to have sorted everything out yet. It's not his style to roll on with an 11-man rotation and he said it would be more urgent if the 2-2 Lakers were losing.
This will get more complicated when Steve Nash, currently averaging 24 minutes per game, is able to handle more minutes. He said Monday he's still suffering the effects of nerve problems stemming from a leg fracture suffered early last season. There's also the matter of Kobe Bryant eventually coming back from injury. For now, everyone involved will need to be patient.