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Previewing Los Angeles Lakers’ Biggest Training Camp Battles

September 15th, 2013 at 8:57 PM
By Anousheh Emadi

Now that the NBA offseason is almost over, it's time to look forward to training camp.

'Steve Blake' photo (c) 2010, Keith Allison - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

While the Los Angeles Lakers lost key players like Dwight Howard and Metta World Peace, the team managed to acquire cost-efficient players such as Nick Young, Jordan Farmar, Chris Kaman and Wesley Johnson.

As a result, there will be many battles during training camp among these new additions. Though the Lakers have enough depth, there are not a lot of minutes to go around. However, by the end of training camp, coach Mike D'Antoni should have his rotation figured out in time for the regular season. 

Here are the most intriguing training camp battles to keep an eye on.

Steve Blake vs Jordan Farmar

The backup point guard spot is up for grabs, and whoever preforms better in training camp may be the one to play behind starter Steve Nash.

Blake was a nice contributor for the Lakers late last season, but he lacks the appropriate speed and athleticism a point guard nowadays must have. On the other hand, Farmar is a quick guard who should thrive under D'Antoni's fast paced offense.

Guarding the point guard spot has been an issue for the Lakers in recent past, and since Nash has never been up to par on the defensive end, both Blake and Farmar must be decent contributors on defense.  

The Lakers had several injuries last season, so having three very solid point guards will be extremely beneficial for the squad. Due to injuries, Chris Duhon and Darius Morris were starting for L.A. at one point. Yikes.  

No matter who earns the backup point guard role, both Farmar and Blake will play a major part for the storied franchise this season.

Nick Young vs Wesley Johnson  

With the departure of former defensive player of the year World Peace, the starting small forward spot hasn't been determined. While Young and Johnson aren't the defenders that World Peace is, they both provide youth and athleticism for a squad that's in need of energy.

Young is a versatile scorer that can shoot the three ball very well, whereas Johnson will be known as the team's "3 and D" guy. The California native is already an established scorer at the NBA level, while Johnson is still quite raw offensively and is only a 40 percent shooter throughout his career.

Both players can also play the shooting guard position as well, so distributing minutes among them shouldn't be a problem. Depending on Kobe Bryant's returns from his Achilles injury, both players will receive a lot of playing time early in the season.

It'll certainly be interesting as to who D'Antoni decides to start at the three, but either way both Young and Johnson will play a big role, and will be expected to provide efficient offense as well as replace World Peace's defensive intensity.

Chris Kaman vs Jordan Hill

While Jordan Hill and Kaman are not expected to replace Howard's production, they must embrace the role as the team's interior defenders while providing efficient rebounding for a team that gave up the 19th most offensive rebounds last season.

Pau Gasol will be L.A's primary big man, but he needs a front court partner that he can effectively work with. While Kaman is the more experienced veteran that can score both inside-out, Hill is arguably the team's best rebounder and interior defender.

Both players will be nice fit alongside Gasol, and they give the Lakers a variety of skills that they need in a big man.       

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Tags: Basketball, Chris Kaman, Dwight Howard, Jordan Farmar, Jordan Hill, Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA, Nick Young, Pau Gasol, Steve Blake, Steve Nash, Training Camp, Wesley Johnson

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