For the second straight season, Steve Nash battled nerve root irritation problems stemming from a broken leg suffered during the 2012-13 campaign and appeared in just 15 games (10 starts) overall towards averages of 6.8 points and 5.7 assists on 38.3 percent field goals and 33.3 percent on three-pointers. Despite being sidelined most of the year, Nash passed Mark Jackson for third all-time in assists in NBA history in his final game of the 2013-14 season vs. Houston.
- On his exit meeting:
“Mitch (Kupchak) has been incredibly supportive of me. Obviously it’s been disappointing for all of us, and particularly, my situation has been a nightmare. The whole organization and Mitch has been incredibly supportive and classy. They appreciated how hard I worked to get back and hopefully I’ll be back next year.”
- On if there was a time where he doubted whether he could continue to play:
“There was a period where I couldn’t get healthy. I played six or seven games to begin the season and I didn’t play well at all. I wondered if that was it. I proved I can still play, but it’s a matter of whether I can sustain it or not.”
- On whether he knows he’ll be able to sustain his play consistently over the duration of an 82-game season:
“I’m going to try and figure that out this summer. In my mind, I think I’ll be in camp. I don’t take anything for granted these days. I want to put myself in a position where I can compete.” Nash noted he was on the court a lot last summer trying to get healthy, but couldn’t sprint for five months. It wasn’t until late August or September that he could do that.
- On why he still plays/what he is playing for:
“The games I played recently I had so much fun. I would’ve loved to play some more. I just wanted to play and wanted to take advantage of every chance I got.”
- On if he’s nervous about the future:
“We’ve hit the bottom. We had championship aspirations and nothing has gone right, individually and collectively, but not from a lack of want and trying. Sometimes you have to take your shots and keep fighting. You can’t always be on top. You can’t quit when you’re done and we’re in this situation. I’m not nervous. I would love to be on the court fighting and giving the team what I can during this transition.”
Nick Young appeared in 64 games (nine starts) and averaged a team-high 17.9 points, plus 2.6 rebounds and 1.5 assists on 43.5 percent field goals and 38.6 percent from beyond the arc. In the last 15 games of the season after returning from his knee injury on Mar. 21, he was particularly efficient from the floor, shooting 47.6 percent overall and 45.3 percent on three-pointers.
- On his exit meeting:
“Hopefully I could be back but we’ll see what (the Lakers’) plans are after the draft and settle in to what they want to do. I appreciate everything they said to me and being able to do what I do here, and for coach to let me play my game was big.”
- On whether he thinks he’ll be back next year:
“I feel at home here. I feel the support from the fans. I have to look out for myself and my family at the same time.” Young believes he can be a major piece for a team, especially after what he showed this season.
- On how he would describe this season:
“I haven’t seen this with guys getting injured pretty much every day.” He elaborated and pointed to the Cleveland game where the Lakers had to bring out Steve Nash on the bench because they only had four players available. L.A. missed a league-leading 319 games due to injury/illness.
- On Mike D’Antoni getting much of the blame for the team’s struggles this year:
“It’s a shame that he’s been getting beat up all year. It might have came out a little wrong. He’s a soldier. He dealt with the boos. Anytime you come in after Phil Jackson – over Phil Jackson – it’s going to be a tough situation. He handled it well.”
- On his relationship with Kobe Bryant:
“I think it can only get better. Just seeing his work ethic, I can learn from that.”
Should Young return, he believes he can help take some of the scoring load and defensive attention away from Kobe. He’d see himself in a sixth man role, similar to this season, while adjusting to Bryant when sharing the court.
During his second stint in Los Angeles, Jordan Farmar played 41 games (five starts) and averaged 10.1 points, 4.9 assists and 2.5 rebounds on 41.5 percent field goals overall. He finished the year ranked sixth in the NBA in three-point field goal percentage (43.8) despite missing 41 games from a strained groin and hamstring tears on two separate occasions.
- Opening statement:
“Given the circumstances we’re not playing and we’re here (doing exit interviews), I had to deal with some injuries, but overall I showed some growth and I’m excited about the possibility for the future.”
- On if he thinks he’ll return next year:
“I’m pretty confident. This is a business and we need to approach it as such. I love Los Angeles, I love this organization and the fans. This is definitely where my heart is at.”
- On what he’s learned since first playing in L.A. till now this season:
“I’m starting to really understand my game. That was the biggest thing overseas. We were really going to live or die how I performed. Being able to shoot the ball is a tremendous asset and to make shots is huge in this league. My last two seasons I’ve been up over 40 percent (on three-pointers).”
- On how he viewed this season:
“Just trying to put it behind us. Not try to think about it. I view it as an asterisk season. We didn’t have a fair shot at it.”
- On playing with Steve Nash:
“It was great. He was somebody I had looked up to and envied what he had been doing for so long. I would sit next to him on the plane and talk about basketball and life in general. I can’t say enough about how great he was as a teammate.”
- On the injuries this season:
“Sometimes things just happen. It doesn’t have to do with toughness or strength. Injuries are a part of this game. It’s unfortunate it had to be this way. Mike D’Antoni has coached this way for a long time and it hasn’t happened before.” Farmar noted it was unfair for people to blame the coaching staff and his style of play for the injuries.
- On if he saw the team bought in to what the coaching staff wanted to do:
“Not much but understandably so. The lineup was different every night. It’s tough to win games. Out here we were just playing and we were trying to figure it out. Once we figured it out, someone went down with an injury. Once you know your role and once you know what’s going to happen, you can just do your part.”
- On playing with Nick Young this season:
“It was awesome. I was happy to see how his season played out. To see Nick really blossom into we knew who he could be. To see him smiling and play basketball, that infectious nature rubbed off on the fans and in the locker room. When we were on the floor, we had a lot of fun together.”
Jordan Hill appeared in 73 games (32 starts) towards career high averages of 9.7 points and 7.4 rebounds on 54.9 percent field goals in 20.8 minutes. With Pau Gasol and Chris Kaman both sidelined the final eight games of the season, Hill upped his numbers to 16.6 points and 10.1 boards in April, and also posted five double-doubles.
- Opening statement:
“I’m looking forward to the offseason. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I’m going to continue to work hard and see what my next move is. I wouldn’t mind coming back here. I had a great time with my team and the (coaching) staff. There’s been a lot of ups and downs this season. I’m going to see how this summer pans out.”
- On if his career high in minutes affected him at all on the court:
“It gets tiring sometimes but I still have that adrenaline flowing where I feel invincible out there. I compete and play hard. A lot of people missed time due to injuries. It was definitely a tiring season.”
- On where he could see himself playing:
“I think I’m a good fit for any team – a good rebounder and an energy guy that can play hard 24/7. I can also block shots. I feel I’m a great fit and I would love to play on any team that needs a guy like me.”
- On an ideal situation for him (position, minutes, etc.) in the NBA:
“I think I could be a good power forward, but I know I can play any position. You put me out there and I’ll get something done. Playing 25-27 minutes sounds good and when I get that playing time, I’ve shown I can produce.”
During his first year in Los Angeles, Chris Kaman appeared in 39 games (13 starts) towards averages of 10.4 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.0 blocks on 50.9 percent field goals in 18.9 minutes. He was sidelined the final eight contests due to a strained right calf and also missed time earlier in the year due to back issues.
- On if he has any relief that the season is over:
“I think guys were ready to be done, but I think everybody wanted to finish strong. The guys did a great job of finishing on a strong note.” Kaman did not rule out a possible return, depending on what the Lakers do in the offseason.
- On how he envisioned the season coming in and how it played out:
“I came here thinking it’d be two bigs – me and Pau (Gasol). I just don’t think it worked out how coach had anticipated either. My frustrations through the year of not having that (play out) and me coming off the bench and having little spurts (of playing time). I don’t think coach did it on purpose. I just don’t think two bigs fit in his style of offense. That’s the way he coaches. It just didn’t go the way I had hoped.” Kaman also noted that the team struggled to find a consistent three-point shooter throughout the year, a big part of Mike D’Antoni’s offense. D’Antoni also tried mixing and matching lineups with two bigs, but injuries played a big part in trying to establish some consistency/continuity.
- On if he mentored any younger players throughout the season:
“I really liked Robert (Sacre) and Ryan (Kelly). Those are guys that stand out to me as having futures in this league. They both work really hard and put their time in.” Kaman said Sacre really improved throughout the year and Kelly exceeded expectations his rookie year.
- On his calf injury:
“It’s feeling good. It’s just something that needs rest. I just chose to try and be healthy (and miss the final eight games) and not limp into the offseason.”
We broke down some of the more intriguing numbers from LAL’s 113-100 win at San Antonio:
Postseason appearances for San Antonio since its inaugural season in 1976, including this year. Only the Lakers have more playoff berths (35) during that 38-year span.
Minutes averaged from the Spurs’ normal starters that suited up. Gregg Popovich elected to sit Tim Duncan for the game and didn’t play Tony Parker the second half. Thirteen different players saw at least 12 minutes as San Antonio had already clinched the No. 1 overall seed throughout the playoffs coming into the game.
Players in double figures for the Lakers, including all five starters. As a team, L.A. was efficient from the floor, shooting 49.5 percent overall and 40.7 percent from the three-point line.
Three-point makes for Kendall Marshall without a miss. On the year, Marshall finished 11th among all point guards in three-point field goal percentage (38.5).
Turnovers for the Lakers in the first and third quarters. As such, L.A. outscored San Antonio 68-47 over those two periods that essentially turned out to be the difference in the game.
Tied at 86 heading to the fourth quarter at Utah, L.A. opened the period on a 23-3 run, spurred by Nick Young’s hot shooting from the floor.
He scored nine of the first 11 Laker points of the quarter and 17 altogether in the final frame. The USC product finished with a season-high 41 points, and shot an efficient 14 of 23 on field goals and 6 of 11 on three-pointers.
“He can get his shot off against anybody,” coach Mike D’Antoni said postgame. “And when he gets on rolls, he’s uncanny about how he can score the basketball.”
In the last five games, Young is averaging 26.0 points on 50.6 percent field goals and 43.8 percent on three-pointers. He’s hit the 40-point mark on two separate occasions and hit at least six triples three times in April. Post All-Star break, the swingman has been sharp from beyond the arc, hitting at a 46.0 percent clip.
We broke down some of the more intriguing numbers from LAL’s 119-104 win at Utah:
Percentage of field goals made by the Lakers in the fourth quarter as they outscored the Jazz 33-18. Knotted up at 86 apiece at the end of the third, L.A. reeled off a 23-3 run to open the final frame en route to snapping their seven-game skid.
Points for Nick Young off the bench (14 of 23 field goals, 6 of 11 three’s), besting his season high of 40 vs. Portland on Apr. 1. Young caught fire in the fourth quarter when he poured in 17, including nine in a row at one point. Below is a shot chart of his efficiency from the floor, courtesy of NBA.com/stats.
Turnovers forced by the Lakers that led to 29 points (five in the deciding fourth quarter that led to 11 points). “Tonight, they were turnovers that didn’t give us an opportunity to get back and make stops,” Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said. “They made us pay for them.”
Assists for Kendall Marshall, 11 of which came in the first half. It was his third double-digit assist effort in April and his sixth such game this season with at least 15 dimes.
Steals for Wesley Johnson, to go along with 12 points, six boards, four assists and three blocks. In the last five games, Johnson is averaging 11.2 points, 7.4 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 2.2 steals while shooting 50.0 percent from beyond the arc.
We broke down some of the more intriguing numbers from LAL’s 102-90 loss against Memphis:
Rebounds for Memphis, 16 of which came on the offensive end. Overall, the Grizzlies held a plus-20 edge on the glass in part due to their size advantage in the frontcourt with Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph, plus Kosta Koufos and Ed Davis off the bench.
Fastbreak points for the Lakers compared to nine for the Grizzlies. In the last five, L.A. is averaging 23.0 points in transition, which would rank first in the league (the Clippers currently top the NBA with 18.8 fastbreak points per game).
Assists for the Lakers on 35 made field goals. L.A.’s backcourt of Kendall Marshall and Jordan Farmar combined for 16 dimes, while three others added at least three apiece (Wesley Johnson, Ryan Kelly and Jordan Hill).
Plus-rating for Marc Gasol, a team high. The big man recorded 18 points, 15 rebounds, four assists and three steals, and keyed the Grizzlies third-quarter run that saw them stretch their halftime lead from a single point to 18 entering the fourth.
Rebounds for Johnson – a career high – to go along with 15 points and four assists in a team-high 40 minutes. It was his third double-double of the year and his third double-digit rebounding effort in the last six games.