The Los Angeles Lakers are hoping to turn crisis into opportunity after the season (and possibly career) ending injury to Steve Nash.
Just days after the former NBA MVP was ruled out for the entire season with recurring back problems, the Lakers said they are looking to newcomer Jeremy Lin to fill a larger role.
After his rousing entry to NBA stardom with the New York Knicks and the “Linsanity” that followed, Jeremy Lin was mostly lost on a Houston Rockets team that filed to click. Now he once again has the opportunity to shine, with Lakers coach Byron Scott saying Lin and point guard Ronnie Price will be taking on a big role this year.
“It’s a huge chance, a huge chance,” Scott said. “It obviously increases the chances for Ronnie as well. Both those guys are going to have big-time opportunities.”
“We have two quality point guards. We’re probably going to have to look for another one as well, but right now I’m pretty happy with Ronnie. I think he’s played extremely well for us, and Jeremy is just coming back from an injury and in the last couple of games he’s getting back into it. I’m not concerned about it.”
The Lakers will need big performances out of them if they are to move beyond last season’s 27-win campaign and once again contend for a title. Kobe Bryant has limited time left, and though Steve Nash was expected to take a lighter load he was still seen as a key part of the team this year.
Nash had battled injuries for the last two years and, after he announced his season-ending injury, Nash was praised by Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak.
“We know how hard he’s worked the last two years to try to get his body right for the rigors of the NBA and how badly he wants to play, but unfortunately he simply hasn’t been able to get there up to this point in time,” Kupchak said. “Steve has been a consummate professional, and we greatly appreciate his efforts.”
Jeremy Lin and Ronnie Price could be under even more pressure for the Los Angeles Lakers this year. Scott already said he plans to rest Kobe Bryant often to save his energy for the stretch run, and without Steve Nash that means even more burden will fall to the team’s other backcourt members.
[Image via ESPN.com]