This offseason the Los Angeles Lakers decided to bring back a familiar face in Jordan Farmar, who was selected by the organization in the first round of the 2006 NBA draft and spent his first four seasons in the league with the team, and the move could make a big impact on the team’s success this season.
In his second stint with the Lakers, Farmar will fill in a role similar to the one he had with the team before he left after the 2009-10 season, which is being the primary ball handler and orchestrator of the offense for the bench unit. Since leaving the Lakers, he has gained valuable and much needed experience from his three seasons with the Brooklyn (then New Jersey) Nets but most importantly the time he spent last year professionally overseas.
In July of 2012 when he signed a three-year contract with the Turkish Basketball League team Anadolu Efes, it put him in a much bigger and important role on a team than what he experienced his six years in the NBA. For the Efes, Farmar was placed with the responsibility as the team’s starting point guard and being a major contributor to the team’s success.
In his 22 games with the Efes in the Turkish Basketball League, he averaged 12.5 points, 4.1 assists and in 29 games in the Euroleague with the team he posted per game averages of 14.1 points and 3.9 assists. Although the competition level for professional basketball overseas is not nearly at the level of that in the NBA, it did provide him with the opportunity to be a primary option for a team.
“I got a chance to do a lot more. When I was here, the first time we were in the triangle, I was young I was just trying to fit in any way I could,” Farmar said in his introductory press conference in July. “Leaving, I got to play a lot more pick-and-roll basketball. Really going overseas I got to carry a whole team. The success of our team depended on how I played individually every night.”
His time playing basketball professionally overseas should help him mentally become a leader and one of the primary contributors off the bench for the Lakers this upcoming season.
His addition to team will also help spell time for the 39-year-old Steve Nash, who last season went through a variety of injuries that included a broken leg that caused him to miss 24 games, and hip and hamstrings that forced him to sit out the last eight games of the regular season and the final two games of the first-round playoff series against the San Antonio Spurs.
With this in mind and Nash still not fully healed from these injuries, the Lakers are expected to cut back on Nash minutes a bit more this season which will make way for more playing time for Farmar. Initially as the season begins there will be some jocking between he and Steve Blake for the backup point guard minutes, but Farmar should win out as he provides the team with another element with his ability to drive the lane and run fast breaks effectively with his quicker speed.
In Mike D’Antoni’s offense Farmar should strive as it calls for a more up-tempo flow and preference for shots from the outside. As the second unit’s primary ball handler, he can use his ability to use dribble penetration to create open shots for shooters such as Wesley Johnson and Jodie Meeks, run the pick and roll with Chris Kaman, and can also knock down shots himself from mid-range and beyond the arc.
As for his individual defense, Farmar stated in his introductory press conference that he has improved significantly due the fact that last year with the Efes he played for a defensive-minded head coach.
“That’s an area I really want to focus on and contribute in this time around — be a pest and be a nuisance on defense. Try to pick up full court and create problems for the other team,” Farmar said.
What he brings to the team is a player who should be able to effectively run D’Antoni’s fast-paced offense and be a capable defender. The best news for the Lakers is that Farmar knows the opportunity that lies in front of him and he appears he will try to make the most out of it.
“I’m excited to get out there. Coming in and being young, I dreamed of playing in the Mike D’Antoni system,” he said. “Somewhere you can just be free and push the ball and make a lot of plays — I think it will be a lot of fun.
Photo Credit: Lori Shepler / Los Angeles Times
Bob Garcia IV
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