Kevin Ding's take:
There is belief within the organization that Farmar, 27, can legitimately play at this sort of consistently high level in D’Antoni’s system, and there’s no doubt that the fire Farmar brings to the court is something the Lakers also are lacking.
Don’t forget that Farmar, drafted by the Lakers in 2006, has been in Kobe’s camp for even longer than Gasol. Farmar’s consistent positivity during what has been a woefully disappointing season for him with a twice-torn hamstring has been shocking for those who remember him resisting and complaining under Phil Jackson.
“We have a young group, and he’s not one of the young ones anymore,” Gasol said about Farmar.
Farmar will also be a free agent, but his desire to be in his hometown Los Angeles is plain. The onus will be on him to stay healthy the rest of the season and show he’s not just someone the Lakers might be able to re-sign for cheap, but rather someone who could be a leader for this team in the future.
D’Antoni allowed he might soon start Farmar over faltering and defensively woeful Kendall Marshall but intends to keep Farmar’s minutes to fewer than 30 per game with the hamstring history.
“Whoever’s playing better finishes the game,” D’Antoni said about Marshall and Farmar.
That’s hardly the best-case scenario for a Lakers team that has been hurt by D’Antoni’s tendency to wait for guys to earn minutes as opposed to knowing what the team needs and being able to elicit it from the better players.
D’Antoni is, however, good at freeing role players to grow, and one of the goals for the rest of season will be to develop wild horses such as Bazemore and Brooks.
That’s the Bazemore who offered this eye-opening evaluation about Brooks after his big game: “He’s like a young Kobe, and he showed it. He made big shots down the stretch.”
Brooks, meanwhile, backed that up with his words: "Since my sophomore (NBA) year, I was in and out of the rotation, and it wasn’t ever because I was playing bad. It was just luck.”
OK, then. Those two might help, but they aren’t likely to be Lakers leaders real soon. Who is? Chris Kaman, the only current player besides Bryant, Gasol and Nash with more than six years in the league? Please. With the direction D’Antoni is heading with his rotation, we’ll probably never see Kaman on the court again.
Jodie Meeks and Young have brought laudable efforts and pride to the Lakers this season, but neither fits the mold to help drive a team. They also might not be back next season.
You can see why Bryant is so sensitive about his team losing leadership voices.
WE WANT PHIL!! WE WANT PHIL!! WE WANT PHIL!!