The Los Angeles Lakers have let it be known that they will monitor the minutes Steve Nash plays during the 2013-14 season. In fact, they have all but said the 39-year-old could sit out games this season to keep him healthy.
The Lakers have 19 back-to-back sets this season and head coach Mike D’Antoni says he will treat each one individually and determine how much Nash can play in those games. Nash will be playing his 18th season this year and obviously his minutes need to be monitored if he’s going to stay healthy.
Last season Nash played in 50 games and averaged 12.7 points and 6.7 assists in 32.5 minutes per game. He struggled with nagging injuries during his first season with the Lakers and D’Antoni obviously wants to avoid that happening again. The San Antonio Spurs have rationed minutes and games for their older star players in recent years and have been able to keep them largely healthy as a result.
D’Antoni had the following to say about how he’ll manage Nash’s minutes:
“It’s hard to make a definitive answer right now because if one of my other point guards tweaks his ankle, (Nash) is playing. If one guy has the sniffles, he’s playing. So, we’ll see how the team goes and we’ll see where we are – where we are in the schedule, where we are in the standings – and see how he does. But the idea is to cut down the number of games and keep the minutes consistent for him, but the number of games come down.”
D’Antoni also said he currently thinks Nash could play through the entire early schedule just to see how he handles it.
How Nash plays will have a huge impact on whether or not the Lakers are competitive this season. The team needs him healthy for the entire season.